Spring 2024 Offerings
This course maps the transformations of American independent cinema from the watershed year of 1989 to our contemporary moment. Once considered a type of American filmmaking produced independently of the dominant established U.S. 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.
But since the 1990s the industrial culture of American independent cinema has changed and has been subsumed by Hollywood as it has become a reliable revenue stream for the mainstream film industry as an expanding apparatus of institutional and financial support from major studios allowed the indie to move within and outside the traditional art-house circuit to ensure that it too can be a $100 million blockbuster film.
Examining many of its more commercially successful iterations this course will explore the shifting parameters of formal innovation, auteurship, subversion, postmodernism and taste that gird modern American independent cinema as the cultural formation around these films continues to adapt and change to meet industrial standards and audience expectations.
Instructor: Gloria Shin
Monday 11:30am - 2:20pm
Objectives: Students will examine in depth American Film from 1960 to 1977, a period of great change and experimentation. With the decline of the old studio system this was arguably the period of greatest innovation and experimentation in American Film. The class will examine the way in which the social upheaval of the times influenced the groundbreaking films of this period. The course will examine in detail the key film movements of this period: the waning of the studio system and the classical style, the influence of European film, the rise of the live television directors, the new film school generation, the rise of realism and location shooting, and the loosening of restrictions on language and adult content The class will also explore the way that political and social movements (civil rights, the cold war, Vietnam, the sexual revolution, rock music, the new frontier of space, black power, the women’s movement, Watergate) influenced the content, mood, and style of these films. Finally, the course will explore the waning of this period of experimentation and the rise of the blockbuster that culminated in Star Wars (1977).
Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate the complex styles and themes of American auteurs of this period who helped to reshape American and World Cinema. Students will be able to analyze their impact on contemporary American Cinema.
Grading: The final grade will be based on a mid-term paper/exam (30%), a paper (30%, and a final paper/exam (30%). Students will be required to see four films outside of class and write one- page papers on each (10%). Class participation will also be considered. Attendance at all classes for both the screening and discussion is mandatory. Missing more than two classes will severely affect the grade (One full grade for each additional absence/ Two lates equals one absence). Students are expected to have a thorough understanding of all films screened and all books required for the class.
A History Of Narrative Film, David Cook
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Peter Biskin
All assigned readings from the text must be read before you come to class. This course may require an additional fee for duplicated materials.
Screenings may include: Wild River, Advise and Consent, Shock Corridor, Bonnie and Clyde, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Godfather, Five Easy Pieces, Woodstock, All the President’s Men, The French Connection, and Taxi Driver.
Instructor: Richard Hadley
Monday 3:05pm - 5:55pm
This course will offer a critical overview of science fiction television from the 1950s to the present. Students will consider the science fiction genre as an aesthetic framework for audiences to engage with media, as well as a mode of production in an industry structured by categorization and segmentation. We will analyze how sci-fi series at different moments in TV history employed the possibilities of speculative fiction to comment on various sociopolitical questions (e.g. gender, race, government transparency, and military conflict). Further, shows studied will interrogate the implications of scientific and technological advancements including virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and time travel. Through this class, students will have the space to reflect on the far-ranging possibilities of a genre fundamentally interested in possible futures.
Instructor: Todd Kushiemachi
Monday 11:30am - 2:20pm
"Many "African" programs in the United States and Europe consist of films made by Europeans who tend to focus on the dysfunction of Africa. What you'll see in this series, curated by Elvis Mitchell, is a perspective on West Africa as seen by West Africans. Throwing off the vestiges of colonialism the filmmakers take full ownership of their image, and create a very different picture, one brimming with all the rich cultures of West Africa. We believe that these films are revelatory of a dynamic film tradition which will soon take its rightful place in the pantheon of world cinema."
The above statement introduced the festival in 2013. This course will draw upon the films shown during the Caméras d'Afrique festival and will add important titles from the last 9 years. In all, we will be showcasing the work of West African directors over the last 60 years.
Students will be writing two 5-8 page papers which offer reflection and analysis of several of the films shown in the course. The subjects of the papers will be chosen in conjunction with the professor. Students will also be expected to do a 5-8 research paper on a filmmaker of their choice.
Instructor: Stephen Ujlaki
Monday 3:05pm - 5:55pm
From Georges Melies’ Trip to the Moon to Victor Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz to the construction of the Marvel Universe, cinema has been building worlds that shape our collective imagination. New media offer even more diverse platforms for story worlds; the timing could not be better since audiences are diversifying and demanding stories that reflect their experience in a time of rapid change on our planet, not all of which has been for the better. Through a variety of academic readings on the topic, as well as close analysis of story worlds in film and TV, this class will consider the role of modelling situations in allowing divergent story experiences to emerge. Students will gain insight into conceptualizing innovative stories through analysis and study of world-building fundamentals, design principles, and advanced screen narrative forms as they have been modelled in film and TV. By analyzing theories of genre, global story forms, and the contraction and expansion of time and place in constructing story worlds, students will elasticize their sense of what is possible in story design, potentially inspiring the development of an original world that is essential to the portrayal of the transformational arc of a character, as well as providing applications to transmedia storytelling across media platforms. Given that the planet we all inhabit is undergoing a climate emergency, we will consider our worlds through the lens of the Anthropocene Age, which is viewed by scientists as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Assignments for the course range from analytical essays of story worlds in various media to composing the opening scene of a story world woven from the fabric of your main protagonist.
"Documentary Authors" examines the careers and works of 6 directors who have had a lasting impact on the field of documentary and non-fiction filmmaking. They include Frederick Wiseman, the Maysles Bros., Agnes Varda, Leni Riefenstahl, Werner Herzog, and Christopher Guest. Each author serves as a gateway into such film topics as Cinema Verite vs. Direct Cinema; social activist filmmaking, political propaganda and disinformation; reenactment and mockumentary. The course investigates the creative challenges, aesthetic concerns, and the social and ethical questions posed by each.
While historically, U.S. and European filmmakers were considered the undisputed masters of commercial and art cinema filmmaking, it is clear that Asia has risen as the current site of groundbreaking cinema, claiming directors capable of producing brilliant commercial and artistic films for devoted audiences and impressed critics.
This course will examine why the great Asian directors Ang Lee and Bong Joon-ho are two of contemporary cinema’s exemplary global auteurs who are setting new standards for film form, style and technical innovation through their manipulation of genre, art cinema and great entertainment fare. More importantly, their direct address of audiences both in the U.S. and beyond it pointedly acknowledges that there is a world outside Hollywood; while their work illuminates the ways in which cinema is both a global language and multinational industry it still imbricates Hollywood as part of a global formation that is an essential participant in the circulation of cinema and cinema culture across borders. As the singular national cinema model continues to fall away, Ang Lee and Bong Joon-ho demonstrate how films must be transnational to thrive in today’s global marketplace.
In this course, you will attain a working knowledge of the larger ideological underpinnings of film style, genre, and narrative. You will also come to understand the social-cultural values of film as both art and commodity through the cinema of Ang Lee and Bong Joon-ho as they work within and against the grain of the traditional notions of auteurism. While their discernible styles and themes have helped build their artistic legacies, secure their commercial success and even allowed them to make persuasive political interventions, you will learn the ways and reasons why “auteur” is a practical categorical designation as well as a mythology that still looms over cinema itself.
This course explores how animals have been used as characters, actors, and metaphors in film and television, with a specific focus on the use of real animals in fiction and documentary films, including animal actors and stars, animal welfare in productions, and the ethics of wildlife filmmaking.
The course examines the history of The Walt Disney Company from its arrival in Hollywood as a small animation company, through its evolution into a 21st century media juggernaut. We will trace its early innovations and successes, its dramatic role in unionizing animation, its transition into television production and theme park operation, its post-Walt slump and renaissance, and its contemporary era of aggressive acquisition and diversification. From this historic “backbone,” we will look into specific topics using different media studies methodologies: film aesthetics, cultural studies, feminist film theory, race and representation studies, and more.
Meetings: See PROWL for meeting days/times
In Art of Cinema, we explore the following: how does a film communicate information and meaning to its audience? What are the expressive components of cinema?
Cinema is a key component of our cultural landscape and how we understand ourselves and the world. This course is aimed at developing a deeper appreciation for film by developing critical thinking and reading skills. We will explore how audiences make meaning from artistic and thematic cinematic strategies by examining its core communication elements. Moreover, we will examine how cinematic developments have been influenced by technology, cultural trends, and time.
During the first half of the course, we will break down the aesthetic components of cinema. (Cinema refers broadly to film, video, and digital time-based works intended for screening before a mass audience.) We will examine each element’s function in the production of meaning in a text, and in doing so, generate a shared vocabulary through which we can all speak and write with intelligence, confidence, and specificity about the ways in which a work affects us.
In the second half, we will discuss film history and genre by examining movie genre classifications. We then move into specific film topics that concern broader possibilities for cinematic expression. These topics include avant-garde and animation films that explore the medium’s relationship to reality and deviations from traditional storytelling. Therefore, during the second half of the course, we will use the language and grammar of cinema developed in the course’s first half, linking our aesthetic and technical understanding of film codes and language to generic and other formats -- in the larger cultural context.
Course modality – In-person lecture and screenings. Separate 50-minute discussion section also required.
Learning Outcomes – At the end of course, students will:
- Know the aesthetic components of cinema, including their historical development and the ways the function in the production of meaning, and be able demonstrate this knowledge in their exams and writing assignments.
- Know a shared vocabulary that enables scholarly and critical film discourse and demonstrate this knowledge in their discussion and writing.
- Understand the relationship between cinema’s aesthetic language and the cultural, technological, and economic conditions that determine it and demonstrate this knowledge in their discussion, exams, and written assignments.
- Value the diverse perspectives we bring to our understanding, interpretation and emotional response to cinema.
- Value the diverse approaches that filmmakers have taken to their art form as well as the stories they tell.
Separate discussion required, see PROWL for times
Stories matter. They help us find our way through a confusing and complicated world while providing us with positive and powerful images of ourselves. They can help us understand and empathize with others, especially those whose experiences are different from ours. They can reinforce our cultural attitudes and values or they can challenge us to think about difference differently. Through stories, we can better understand the ways that power and privilege impact different communities; compare the experiences of people from varied racial, ethnic, gendered, neurodiverse, class, and faith/religious groups; and gain an appreciation for the ways that race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disabilities intersect to form complicated personal and collective identities. This course investigates the ways that television, video games and content created for the web use and transform the elements of film language to create worlds and populate them with compelling characters in order to tell stories that shape and reflect cultural values and attitudes, especially those circulating in and around diverse and varied identities, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, faith and religion, and disabilities.
By the end of the semester, you will…
- Know the history and development of television, the internet, and study of video games
- Understand and be able to analyze the aesthetic aspects of an array of televisual, internet-based, and game texts with a specific focus on the ways that gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, faith and religion, and disabilities can be constructed through them
- Understand the ways that media scholars analyze and discuss texts and be able to apply scholarly discourse in their own writing and discussion
By the end of the semester you will be able to...
- Expand, deepen, and apply your critical thinking and reading skills
- Develop a shared vocabulary for analyzing media texts
- Do a close reading of a media text--Refine your ability to construct and support an effective analytical and argumentative essay--Be able to reflect on your own learning and use these reflections to deepen learning
By the end of the semester you will value...
- The contributions that marginalized groups have made and respect the continuing challenges they face to tell their stories in complicated and diverse ways
- Multiple perspectives and ways of expressing ideas creatively, analytically, and in scholarship
- The importance of informed discussion and debate to challenge, expand and clarify thinking
- Scholarly discourse and participation in a community of learning
This course will have a blend of in-class and out-of-class elements. Every week there will be work you do on your own and we will convene on Wednesdays to go over it together, have screenings and discussions. We’ll start in a lecture/discussion mode, then shift to a student-led mode in which you will present materials and I will guide discussions. There will be a midterm and final exam as well.
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.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, students will…
- know some of the most important aesthetic developments in world cinema during, between, and immediately after the First and Second World Wars, which will be traced to specific countries and filmmakers responding to these major conflicts.
- gain an understanding of cinema in a national context, where barriers of foreign language, culture, and government restrictions determine much of the content as new production and distribution methods are established.
- learn and make effective use of important terms and concepts derived from cinema practices of the wartime period (e.g. Russian formalism, German Expressionism, etc.) that are still in use today.
- embrace the varied approaches that filmmakers use in cinema, the wide array of stories they tell with it, and the way they inspire, and are inspired by, filmmakers of other nations and cultures.
- value the diverse perspectives we bring to understanding, interpreting, and responding to cinema.
- be able to demonstrate the above through discussions, exams, and written assignments.
Class Format – In-person lecture and screenings.
Midterm and Final Exams
Two analysis papers
This course is a critical and historical survey of some major developments, trends, movements, filmmakers, and industries in world cinema from 1955 to 1990 and beyond. Because it is impossible to exhaustively cover over thirty-five years of global filmmaking in a semester, we’ll focus our attention on some central themes and countries that demonstrate the differences between foreign and U.S. film by exploring the concepts of first, second, and third cinema, tracking the influence of World War II on global filmmaking, and examining particular national and auteurs’ styles.
This course will enable students to:
● Identify major trends in global filmmaking after World War II
● Appreciate the political and social contexts influencing these films’ production
● Track different artistic and political goals for and theorizations of filmmaking across the globe
● Develop critical thinking and writing skills about media and culture
Without a doubt, television is a powerful medium. It reflects and shapes values, helps construct identities (personal, familial, cultural and national), teaches us about the world and our place in it, and brings people together. Our attitudes about family, school, romance, gender roles, marriage, work, class, and ethnicity are shaped and informed by what we watch on television. This is not a domestic issue, it is one that is global and has taken greater prominence as the ubiquity of streaming not only is fulfilling the process of bringing countries together (such as successful series like Call My Agent from France, Shtisel from Israel, and the large number of Korean dramas such as Destined with You), but creating other areas that are not so comfortable open for discussion. We examine the context of how television’s past intersects with its present and future, focusing on milestones not only with the Anglosphere, but other cultures. What are the similarities and differences between Downtown Abby (UK), Scenes from a Marriage (Scandinavia), Roots (USA), Shogun, G-Men 75 (Japan), and how comedy differs from country to country. How has the medium changed over time, from its beginnings to the internet age? What are the differences in development between the United States, Europe, and Asia? How are technological advances incorporated, and what impact does this have on programming? What are the different methods of viewing? How do we talk and write about it critically and thoughtfully as consumers and as scholars? Further, the explosion of social media and independent content created social media, culture has created new challenges to traditional television – both for the good and bad. Understanding what is going on in the context of what happened in the past is the best way to plan.
Student learning outcomes:
By the end of the semester, student will:
- Debate the aesthetic and narrative components of television, including their historical development and function in the production of meaning and demonstrate this knowledge in your participation in class discussions as well as your written work.
- Demonstrate proficiency with a shared vocabulary that enables scholarly and critical film discourse and demonstrate this knowledge in your discussion and writing.
- Compare how different societies explore the relationship between television’s aesthetic language and the cultural and economic conditions that determine it and demonstrate this knowledge in their discussion, exams, and quizzes.
- Develop through presentations the skills to speak and write with intelligence, critical awareness, confidence, specificity and originality about television and demonstrate this through your written work.
- Explore in discussions the diverse perspectives we bring to our understanding, interpretation and emotional response to media texts.
- Present one’s own expectations, desires, cultural and personal values that shape the way you consume and discuss television shows.
- Contrast the differences between the rise of streaming media with other shifts, including cable, the VCR, and explosion of On Demand.
- Utilize this knowledge to strategize how the lessons of the past may contribute to career planning and strategies.
Work expectations: for example, weekly essays, seminar papers, exams, quizzes, group projects, etc.
During the semester, student will:
- Keep up with specific readings in the text book.
- Write weekly reflections – 300-to-500-word essays on specific topics based on weekly lectures and screenings.
- Complete a mid-term and final exam.
- Write an 8–10-page term paper on an aspect of television business, technology, creativity, intersectionality, or some combination of the above.
The validity of truth in media traditionally has been evaluated from two perspectives: via an objective assessment of evidence and through the filter of one’s experience. Through a series of screenings including works in mainstream documentary, mockumentary, avant garde film, interactive video, and experimental installations, we will examine, challenge, and redefine what constitutes non-fiction media.
Meetings: See PROWL for meeting days/times
Engages critical perspectives and discussions of current movies and media, joined frequently by classroom encounters with media creators as well as actors, writers, producers and others engaged in contemporary media creation. Practical discussions of the creative process plus examinations of current professional trends are a focus; aesthetic analysis is a regular weekly feature. Professor Greene is a working TV producer and documentary filmmaker, and will draw on his own professional experience to delve deeply and specifically into the projects presented and the topics raised.
It is the intention of this course to demystify the contemporary media landscape by close conversations with working professionals as well as a free-ranging discussion of the themes and stylistic approaches represented by a wide-ranging slate of works. The course can serve to educate aspiring filmmakers about both professional realities and different creative approaches. For the casual filmgoer, the course is designed to challenge pre-existing viewing assumptions and open up different perspectives on media and how it talks to and about the wider world. There is also a strong writing component intended to focus and intensify our weekly classroom experiences through related prompts, and it is the intention of this course to help every student improve their writing.
Participation in class discussion and other class activities; weekly writing exercises; two analytical papers examining any film of the student's choice; and a multipart and
essay-based take-home final exam. A weekly asynchronous writing assignment based on a relevant prompt posted to Brightspace is also a core feature of this course.
Meetings: See PROWL for meeting days/times
Since their inception, video games have grown from a casual experiment designed to introduce computers to the wider public to a billion-dollar industry with its own culture and place in the larger global culture. The past nineteen months has seen the gaming industry grow as people have turned to games for consolation during the Covid crisis. This course takes as a given that games are worthy of serious scholarly interest even as we play, analyze, share, and talk about games and game culture.
Collaborative terms: We will work collaboratively to create our own glossary of terms. Once we have created our list of terms to define, you will sign up for two terms: one for which you will write the first draft of a definition and the second for which you will an addendum, in which you will build on a first draft definition created by one of your classmates. More specific guidelines will be distributed and posted on BrightSpace.
Weekly reflection exercises: These are designed to encourage you to take time each week to step back, take a breath, hit pause, and reflect on the week, following a set of guided reflections. The guidelines will be distributed and posted on BrightSpace. You’ll upload your responses to BrightSpace each week.
Group projects: Throughout the semester you will have the opportunity to work with some of your classmates on a variety of group projects, the last of which will be to design a video game (on paper) that deals with a social justice issue and pitch it to the class at the end of the semester. Specific guidelines will be distributed and posted on BrightSpace. You will also have the opportunity to write a short reflection essay, reflecting on the experience of working in a group.
Short essays: You will have the opportunity to write several short (2-4 pages) essays throughout the semester. These essays will be designed to encourage you to think about games from a variety of perspectives. Prompts for each one will be distributed and posted on BrightSpace. You will upload your essays to BrightSpace.
Gameplay journals: Since this is a video game class, you should be playing and/or observing games throughout the semester. In fact, playing games is part of our expectations for how you use your class preparation time each week. 7 Writing in a journal will help you step back from your gameplay to reflect and analyze your experience. Specific guidelines will be distributed, and you will post your journals on the BrightSpace page
Meetings: See PROWL for meeting days/times
Course description: Although sometimes understood in the past as a medium of “pure entertainment,” film has also had an essential relationship to evolving social conditions in the United States and various struggles for change. This course will focus on moments where film and media have commented upon, documented, and even informed social change.
We will analyze and contextualize media reflecting a wide variety of identity categories and social issues, looking both at and beyond media to understand its complicated intersections with power, economics, personhood, and representation. By familiarizing ourselves with basic theoretical concepts fundamental to cultural and social analysis, we’ll equip ourselves to think with nuance about the varied ways media has related to society.
Weekly readings (on history, theory, and media analysis)
Attendance to weekly lectures and screenings
Engaged discussions during our class meetings
Written responses to the topics and readings covered in class
Midterm and final demonstrating mastery of class materials
Research paper doing comparative analysis of media focused on social issues
An introduction to the theoretical paradigms that underpin film and/or media studies. The course may be offered as a historical survey or focus on a minimum of two distinct theoretical traditions and the historical developments within them (e.g., psychoanalysis/theories of representation and ontological/realist film theory). Alternately, it may focus on introducing the work of a minimum of four dominant film theorists from different decades. Refer to the specific semester description.
At its very roots, cinema has been intertwined with dance: Eadweard Muybridge’s proto-cinematic experiments called on the body of the dancer to put the image in motion and Edison’s most popular initial film offering famously featured the dancer Annabelle (first among the major movie stars) performing Loïe Fuller’s Serpentine dance. Our course will investigate dance on screen to see what it can teach us about the medium of film and, likewise, what is specific to dance for film. We’ll consider dance’s co-presence with technological innovation in film from sound to color to camera and address the spectacle of dance from Busby Berkeley to Bollywood. With works from Maya Deren, Yvonne Rainer and Ana Pi we’ll consider how the physicality and form of the dancing body animates experimental feminist film. We’ll ask how and whether dance operates as a privileged conduit for cinephilia, while also serving as a critically non-linguistic technique to work through problems related to gender, race, class, and sexuality. Possible features to be screened include: Picadilly, Gold Diggers of 1933, Singing in the Rain, Black Orpheus, Suspiria, Breakin’, Dirty Dancing, Shall we Dance?, Dil Se, Rize, Pina, Step Up Revolution, and Magic Mike XXL
An in-depth examination of film censorship in American cinema from its origins to the present day. We will explore the foundation of the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors of America, the so-called Pre-Code period, the Production Code Administration, and the origins of the MPA's film ratings system.
Objectives: Students will examine the work of four directors who have stretched the boundaries of the musical genre and created highly personal and expressionistic films. Particular emphasis will be placed on innovations in film style and story-telling that carry over to these directors’ work in melodrama and in the case of Varda, the anti-musical. Students will also analyze and define visual style. Emphasis will be placed on the ambiguous, often happy, ending and the price of success. Several contemporary musicals, such as La La Land, A Star is Born, and West Side Story will be examined for comparison.
Required Texts: Hollywood Genres, Thomas Schatz
A History of Narrative Film, David Cook, 5th Edition
Fosse, Sam Wasson
Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate in detail the complex themes of both the musical and the melodrama and the way that these individual directors have used these genres to express their personal visions and examine America, France and their myths.
Grading: The final grade will be based on the mid-term (30%), a paper (6 to 10 pages/30%), and a final exam (30%). Four one page reactions to outside films and class participation will count (10%). More than two missed classes will severely affect a student’s grade (a full grade for each additional class missed).
Screenings may include: The Band Wagon, Gigi, The Bad and the Beautiful, Pajama Game, Cabaret, Lenny, Bay of Angels, Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Young Girls of Rochefort, Cleo From 5 to 7, One Sings, the Other Doesn’t, Verdon/Fosse.
Faculty: Professor Richard Hadley
Thursdays 3:05pm - 6:20pm
This course examinesthe intersection of the horror genre and reproductive health. Since the 1970s and 80s, feminist film scholars have drawn upon the tools of psychoanalysis and ideology critique to examine the representation of women’s bodies in mainstream cinema, particularly the increasingly graphic depictions of sex and violence found in the horror genre. Out of this body of work, Barbara Creed developed the concept of the “monstrous feminine” to describe how the genre figures the sexual and reproductive body as monstrous. Since then, the term has been taken up by feminist health scholars to describe both medical and popular understandings of the reproductive body. This course will explore the intersection of these two bodies of work by focusing on how the central affects of the horror genre—disgust, abjection, the fantastic, and uncanny—become attached to critical stages of sexual and reproductive development. Moving through puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and motherhood, the course will pair films with works of feminist health studies to examine how the genre reinforces gendered understandings of the body, health, and sexuality. Films include: The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, Halloween, Carrie, The Hunger, Raw, It Follows, and The Babadook.
Content Warning: Horroris a genre that seeks to terrify, disgust, shock, and alarm its viewers. As such, it often features graphic displays of violence, sex, and gore. Throughout the quarter we will be interrogating our responses to these film, using the viewing experience as acentral entry point into our discussion of gender and sexuality. Many of the films featured on the syllabus are controversial and include content that is too difficult to watch in some cases.You will always be able to opt out of a screening and if you’d like a full list of films noting controversial content, please feel free to email me (email@example.com).
Faculty: Dr. Mikki Kressbach
Meeting: Wednesdays 3:05pm - 6:25pm
This course surveys the film noir genre and its relationship to the major upheavals in Hollywood’s industrial underpinnings from 1941-1960. During this period Hollywood weathered World War II, dramatic labor unrest, corruption scandals, HUAC hearings and blacklisting, the consent decrees, the encroachment of television, and a barrage of new theatrical technologies. Both on and behind the screen, the cynical film noir genre reflected and responded this tumultuous period in Hollywood’s history.
This course provides a comprehensive examination of anime, or Japanese animation, today as a popular mass medium that has captured a worldwide audience. The first part of the course will cover the history of anime, from the earliest works of individual artists in the silent period, to the development of the studio system, television anime, and the globalizing industry of today. We will then explore major themes of important works that reflect upon Japan and its connection to a broader transnational cinema culture. Such topics include: tradition vs. modernity, family and gender roles, apocalyptic visions, technology, fan cultures, and the power of myth.
Faculty Ken Provencher
Meetings: Wednesdays, 11:30am - 2:50pm
Course description coming soon.
This course explores the art and history of the music video. Over the course of the semester, we’ll watch music videos spanning a wide variety of music genres (from pop, to rap, to punk, to “Mexican Regional,” and so many more), from early examples of the pre-MTV era up to the present day. We’ll approach and analyze music videos with the same critical rigor often reserved for films, by considering their formalist qualities (cinematography, editing, mise-en-scene, and sound), along with their narrative and ideological dimensions. Drawing from a wide variety of disciplines and theoretical approaches (such as film studies, television studies, sound studies, industry studies, and cultural studies), the course will investigate a number of key questions about the format, including: What can music videos tell us about society and culture? How have music videos influenced the art of filmmaking, and vice versa? What is the relationship between music videos, the music industry, and developments in television broadcasting? And what is the place of music videos in the post-MTV digital age?
Meetings: See PROWL for meeting days/times
Course Description: What will this course cover? What is this thing called “Queer TV”? What do we mean by “queer”? Why do we use “queer” instead of “LGBTQIA+”? What is TV? What do we mean when we say, “let’s watch TV together”? Is TV queer in and of itself? We will use readings from queer theory and TV studies to inform our TV viewing as we attempt to answer these questions. If we all stay engaged with the readings, screenings, and discussion, we will raise even more interesting and thought-provoking questions as the semester progresses.
Assignments: Besides regular attendance and active engagement with the class, you will complete several assignments during the semester. The following is a brief description of each assignment. More specific guidelines will be distributed via email and posted on our Brightspace page.
Weekly observation assignments: Each week you will submit a weekly observation in which you will note a) things of interest from the assigned readings; b) things of interest in the assigned TV screenings; c) a set of questions and/or observations you want to bring to the class; and d) a short response to a weekly discussion question (posted on our Brightspace page each week).
Collaborative key terms: We will collectively produce a set of “key terms”, gleaned from our readings and class discussions. Each of you will contribute something to our collective document by the end of the semester.
Group creative project: You will work with a group of students to design a “queer” TV series and will pitch it to the class at the end of the semester
Final grade self-assessment: a paragraph or two, describing the grade you think you earned in the class, with your rationale, based on the course grading standards. Final grades are determined using a rubric created by the class and instructor in collaboration.
Faculty Sue Scheibler
Tuesday, 8:00am - 11:20am
The “video essay” has emerged in recent years as a new form of digital communication and entertainment. Media scholars, non-professional critics, and YouTube personalities are using the videographic form to express ideas about media of the past and present. This course will blend analysis and practice. We will closely examine the various types of video essays on film, TV, video games, and other online media. We will also make our own video essays, developing our skills with editing software while enhancing our knowledge and perception of audiovisual techniques. No previous editing experience required.
Meetings: See PROWL for meeting days/times
This course examines the auteurship of Park Chan-wook and David Fincher, contemporary masters of the psychological thriller who secure genre transformations through their use of gorgeous film style, intricate and disciplined narration, and stunning subject matter. Through a historically situated and theoretically rigorous survey of their selected works, this course will map the road to their auteurship while unpacking the practical mythology of the auteur as a film genius.
Some topics we will explore in the course include theories of gender, genre, formalism, films as national allegories and cinematic pleasure.
Entertainment Industry Careers was created to serve as the bridge between the world of academia and the business of entertainment.
Along with exploring the wide variety of roles available in entertainment, this class provides the practical, hands-on tools needed to successfully navigate this highly competitive field.
In addition to presentations given by the instructor to assist students in procuring a job/career in entertainment, working industry professionals are featured as guest speakers to share their experience and insights.
Student learning outcomes
By taking this course, students will:
- Find out what jobs in entertainment are out there (and what it takes to get them);
- Craft the necessary tools to make them more attractive to hiring managers/decision makers;
- Hone their time management and public speaking skills;
- Engage in classroom discussions with their peers to expand their perspectives;
- Make connections with others who can assist their careers;
- Discover more about themselves along the way.
As Entertainment Industry Careers is an elective, it was created to conflict as little as possible with other courses—as a result, there is no midterm, and no final exam. Instead, there are two quizzes designed to ensure students are staying current with the reading material, and a “Semester Takeaways” paper, due at the end of the semester.
The workload also includes:
- Preparation of three questions for each week’s guest speaker;
- A one-page paper with accompanying oral presentation to the class;
- The creation of a cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile;
- Conducting an informational interview with an important industry professional, with a resulting 3-page paper and oral presentation.
Faculty: Stephen Domier
Meetings: Monday, 6:40pm - 10:00pm