Fall 2020 Offerings

  • This course examines cinema as a technology, mass medium, business, entertainment, art form, and cultural product. First we will explore the origins of the motion picture, then narrative and narration, performance, mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound. Next, we’ll look at a specific Hollywood genre, how it has changed over time, and why. Finally, we will examine documentary and avant-garde cinema. This course is about the analysis of cinema in its many forms, and an exploration of culture through an audiovisual medium.

    FLAG: Writing

    Meetings: Friday 12:40pm - 4:00pm

    Separate discussion required, see PROWL for times



  • A historical and aesthetic introduction to how television, video games and content developed for the web use and transform the elements of film language to shape and reflect cultural values and attitudes, especially as they have to do with representations of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, faith and religion, and disabilities.

    Meetings: Monday 1:00pm - 4:00pm

  • This course examines some of the most important industrial and artistic developments, and some of the most pressing and relevant thematic issues, in cinema worldwide from 1895 to 1955. Although we consider cinema culture today to be “global” in its various dimensions, the notion of a global cinema culture is fairly recent, having been preceded, first, by the codification of cinematic practices and conventions in the early 20th century. This course will consider world cinema in the “national” context of the World War era. As film industries in Europe and Asia respond to, and are threatened by, the outbreaks of war in their home countries, filmmakers struggle to maintain their positions, even as they innovate cinematic styles. At the same time, American studios establish their dominance in the domestic and global marketplace through powerful distribution networks and the popularization of “Hollywood style” narrative and audiovisual design. The films, filmmakers, and topics covered here will reflect on this broad period as a national, pre-global era of world cinema.

    Meetings: Monday 9:00am - 12:20pm


  • A critical and historical survey of the major developments, trends, movements, personalities, and aesthetic innovations in World Cinema from 1955 to 1990.

    Meetings: Monday 12:40pm - 4:00pm OR Thursday 9:00am - 12:20pm

  • At a time when movies seem to have lost their artistic and narrative vision, television has become the place to find innovative stories told in ways that not only push the medium but also influence other media. Television is one of the strongest forces in culture, reshaping our values, helping to construct our identities (personal, familial, cultural) and our place in the world. Visual texts include pioneering narrative shows as I Love Lucy, All in the Family, Friends and Game of Thrones. We also include news shows (60 Minutes), pioneering documentaries (49 Up) and game/reality (American Idol, Price is Right). Finally, we explore some of the challenges to television in the YouTube era.

    FLAG: Writing

    Meeting: Monday 7:20pm - 10:10pm

  • This class traces the history and development of documentary film, video and digital media. Focus will be on the evolution of non-fiction forms with special regard to issues of subject matter and style, truth vs. reality, politics and justice, identity and ethics.

    The form has been shaped (and continues to be re-shaped) by technological advances, cultural shifts and upheavals as well as the vagaries of the ever-changing marketplace. Over the years it has influenced fiction filmmaking while simultaneously adapting fictive story-telling techniques for its own purposes.

    As students gain an overview of the history and ongoing re-invention of the genre they will hone their own critical and analytic skills through screenings, discussion and essay writing.

    Meetings: Wednesday 7:20pm - 10:10pm

  • Engages critical perspectives and discussions of current movies joined, whenever possible, by class encounters with the filmmakers themselves.

    Meetings: Tuesday 7:20pm - 10:10pm

  • In-depth analysis of a wide variety of film and/or television texts with an eye toward deconstructing the storytelling and visual techniques that any particular text employs in order to create story structure and thematic meaning.

    Meetings: Tuesdays, 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • How have digital media technologies integrated scientific methodologies into our everyday lives? How have the unique capacities of digital media, capable of quantifying and recording a range of information not limited to location and vital signs, influenced emerging medical and scientific research? This course examines how the rise of digital technologies are reshaping our understanding of health and science today. Science, Medicine and Digital Media explores popular digital media, including smartphones, apps, websites, wearables, and digital documentaries to explore how the language, visual culture, and methodologies of science and medicine are framed through our digital world. Specifically, the course will focus on the relationship between bodies and digital technologies to examine how emerging media are shaping the way we understand scientific and medical authority and its impact on our perception of health and wellness. In other words, this class explores “feeling healthy” through digital media. Over the course of the semester, students will have the opportunity to engage with various health, science, and fitness related digital devices and systems, including a multi-week project using Fitbits. Topics include: digital documentaries, wearables, mHealth apps, WebMD, crowdsourced medicine, the digital wellness industry, VR and fitness, and online self-help and positive psychology.

    Meetings: Tuesdays, 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • Women in Film (FTVS  3300) explores a fascinating and timely subject in a variety of contexts:  how women are portrayed and represented in film in a larger historical and cultural context. We can learn a great deal about a particular society through the ways in which its women are represented.  In this course, we will study a range of groundbreaking, compelling and intelligently made films that encourage you to look at and think about cinematic women in new and challenging ways.  The following dynamics will be explored:  women and patriarchy,  mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, female friendships, wives and husbands, women and work.   Selected films from Europe, Australia, Africa, Latin America and Hollywood will be studied.

    Meetings: Tuesdays, 4:10pm - 7:00pm

  • Meetings: Thursdays, 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • This course is a study of the uses of Greco-Roman myth and history cinema. Students will be introduced in the comparative study of literature and film across different cultures, languages and genres. Student will carry out an in-depth critical study of selected films on Greco-Roman topics; examine the emergence of various movements and genres in the cinematic adaptation of stories from Greek and Roman myth, history, and culture; and explore the social and cultural context of the cinematic adaptation and the impact it had on the translation of the original sources to film.

    INT: Interdisciplinary Connect and FLAG: Writing

    Meetings: Tuesdays, 4:10pm - 7:00pm

  • Foundations of the Sound Era.
    This course explores the foundational years of the Hollywood sound era when an exciting and engaging diversity of genres matured under the guidance of the studio system.  An array of comedies, suspense thrillers,     melodramas, musicals, as well as war films and westerns (and other genres) were screened in theaters, reflecting filmmakers’ unique visions of American culture and history.  Throughout the semester, we will explore the special qualities of genres, the dynamics of emerging visual and sound technologies, as well as the mythology of stars.  Included in the course will be selected works of Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Ernest Lubitsch, Dorothy Arzner, Billy Wilder, William Wyler, and other major filmmakers from these two decades.

    Meetings: Thursdays: 9:00am - 12:20pm

  • Students will examine in depth the films and film-making style of many of cinemas most important international auteurs. Particular emphasis will be placed on innovations in film style and story-telling that represented a radical stylistic break from Hollywood models. Students will study the French New Wave and innovations in style: use of natural sound, light-weight cameras, non-professional and real locations (particularly the streets of Paris).  We will also examine film movements in Britain, Spain, Italy, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.  Students will also analyze and define the visual style of each director.  

    Screenings may include: Contempt, Cleo from Five to Seven, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Day for Night, Cries and Whispers, Loves of a Blonde, Spirit of the Beehive, and 8 ½.

    Meetings: Mondays, 4:10pm - 7:00pm

  • This class provides a thorough introduction to Indian cinema. We will focus in particular on the history and transformation of post-independence Bombay cinema—produced out of Bombay, India’s film capital. The goal will be to develop a solid understanding of Bombay Cinema’s key features: its aesthetics, styles of production and systems of address—including songs and this cinema’s unique idioms of realism (emotional, technological & artistic).
    The first half of the course glances at the 1950s as the era of an aesthetic and social peak, often termed the “golden” era of Bombay cinema. In turn, we will consider the formation of art cinema and its impact on the history of film in India, from the 1960s through the early 80s.
    The second half of the semester turns to the rise of Bombay cinema as a commercial form of entertainment that offers characteristic, terrific audience pleasures, and how such enjoyment can work in tandem with, or against larger economic and political forces. The semester ends with a consideration of Bombay Cinema’s transformation into a mass medium and its recent cultural makeover into Bollywood as a global brand.

    Meetings: Thursdays, 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • This genre is a rich, complex, critically acclaimed and popular genre that has a long tradition in film history throughout the world.  Surprise, intrigue and mystery are the “tools” used by filmmakers to engage viewers, generating curiosity, anxiety, fear and dread.  Suspense thrillers often incorporate elements of other genres, including the horror film, film noir, science fiction and melodrama.  In this class we will study a range of groundbreaking and highly imaginative suspense thrillers, classic and contemporary, including works by Alfred Hitchcock, M. Night Shyamalan, Ridley Scott, Tobe Hooper, Steven Spielberg, Jordan Peele and other pioneering directors. 

    Meetings: Mondays, 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • Students will examine in depth two genres, the musical and melodrama, which combine music and drama in creating worlds of heightened emotion and also subliminal feelings or subconscious states of their protagonists.  The course will examine the work of individual directors who have stretched the boundaries of these two genres and created highly stylized, expressionistic, and personal works.  Students will be able to distinguish between Realism and Expressionism. Particular emphasis will be placed on innovations in film style and story-telling.  Students will also analyze and define visual style.  The course will examine the influence of significant directors and genres of the fifties and sixties on the work of subsequent film-makers, particularly Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Steve Kloves, Bernardo Bertolucci, Fatih Akin, and David O. Russell. Emphasis will be placed on the ambiguous, often happy, ending and the price of success.

    Meetings: Wednesday, 4:10pm - 7:00pm

  • Early discussions of film, television, and the internet have all employed the language of horror. From the “ghost in the machine,” to the specters in the static of early tube TV, new technology often presents experiences and images that feel unfamiliar, unsettling, and uncanny. And every new platform affords a new way to scare, haunt, or shock viewers. As media become more personal, entering private spaces and mediating intimate encounters, the horror genre has adapted to these changing social and technological configurations. This course explores how media is framed as subject and tool for the tropes, affects, and narratives of the horror genre. How does television use horror narratives and long-form storytelling to scare viewers? How do desktop horror films consider changing reception formats with the rise of online streaming? How do horror video games and VR position spectators in their haunted fictional worlds? Topics include: found footage and desktop horror films, VR and video game horror, horror sub-genres and long form television narrative, Creepypasta and YouTube scare videos.

    Meetings: Thursdays, 1:00pm - 4:00pm

  • This course investigates the ways that time-based media (movies, TV shows, and video games) use time to think about time. We examine a variety of media texts through a variety of lenses (philosophical, theological, ethical, and scientific) as well as media and disabilities studies in order to think through the question of what it means to be time beings.

    Meetings: Thursdays, 4:10pm - 7:00pm

  • Hollywood’s cyclical relationship with Black film and television production has been one of centering blackness during times of racial conflict, and ceased production once the ‘novelty’ of blackness waned. We will see how in five distinct moments of technological, corporate, and/or political crises, Hollywood used Black talent and themes to ameliorate American domestic racial issues, increase geo-political standing, and calm economic instability within the industry. Films included will span from the introduction of sound, to Cold War and Civil Rights conflicts, to the global impact of hip-hop, to the election of President Barack Obama, and look comparatively at Black representation abroad within their corresponding periods.

    Meetings: Thursdays, 4:10pm - 7:00pm

  • This seminar traces the history of television from the last days of radio, through the Golden Age of TV, to today's cable and Internet.

    Graduate SFTV majors only.


  • This course maps the evolution of the concept of American independent cinema from the 1990s to our contemporary moment. Once considered a type of American filmmaking produced independently of the dominant established film industry and outside mainstream cinema practices, these films tended to be more avant-garde and even if not overtly experimental, often gave an alternative voice to dominant ideology.

    SFTV Grads Only

    Meetings: Wednesdays, 9:00am - 11:50am

  • An examination of the history and development of international film from the silent era to the present. Screenings, lectures, and discussions.

    Meetings: Tuesdays, 12:40pm - 4:00pm

  • Meetings: Tuesdays 12:40pm - 4:00pm