First Year Program - Film and Media Studies Skip Navigation

Film and Media Studies (FMST)

Director: M. Simonson

The film and media studies program introduces students to the critical study of film and other media. Through the study of history and theory, formal analysis, and production experiences, the program examines how film and media serve as powerful determinants of ideology, identity, and historical consciousness. Courses offered in a range of departments and programs constitute the major and minor, reflecting the fact that cinema and media-based research cuts across disciplines.

It has been said that the mass media collectively represent the most important and widely shared context for the receipt of information and ideas in our contemporary experience. Courses in Film and Media Studies question the consequences of our passive consumption of mass media as both entertainment and information. Students learn the history and theory of film and media, analytical approaches and strategies; they also come to understand the various ways in which film and media are produced, circulated, and consumed.

The film and media studies curriculum encompasses history, theory, and practice, with the goal of developing in students the critical skills necessary to analyze representation and experience as they are constructed by new and emerging visual technologies, and to put theoretical and historical knowledge into practice through media production courses and exercises.

The film and media studies major consists of nine courses: FMST 200, a media practice course, six electives, and a capstone seminar. The film and media studies minor consists of five courses: FMST 200 and four electives. Although students may take courses in any order, taking FMST early in the program is highly recommended.


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ALST 250, Representations of Africa
Critique the ways in which "Africa" has been constructed as an object of Western knowledge. The course interrogates how Africa and Africans have been portrayed to outside audiences historically and contemporarily, as well as the socio-political ramifications of such portrayals. Drawing on key texts from the social sciences, the humanities as well as the creative arts, the course explores specific depictions of Africa and Africans. It examines African self-representations alongside representations that focus on Africa as a site of difference or 'othering'.

ARTS 201, Digit Stud:Creat/Code/Cookbook
An introduction to digital art that covers select topics from a variety of digital art practices tied to the avant-garde, and rooted indeterminacy, concept, recipe, instruction, structure, algorithm, and procedure. Students make individual and collaborative artworks using instructions, recipes, code, and more. As a result of iteration, remixing, and collaboration, students reconsider the nature of authorship and artistry, and come to see art more as a process than a thing, more dynamic than static. Students are encouraged to explore concepts and programs beyond the basics; group and individual projects will require both rigorous concept development and proficiency in technology. The Little Hall Digital Studio is equipped with Macintosh computers and relevant software.

FMST 200, Intro to Film & Media Studies
From the films we watch to the personal profiles we maintain online, media saturates our lives. Film and mass media can be powerful determinants of ideology, identity, and historical consciousness. This course is a historical survey of media technologies and environments, combining course readings with a required weekly film screening. The theoretical concepts introduced in this course enable students to critically approach the visual culture around them: just how immersed are we in the virtual, and what are the strategies for engaging with or disengaging from virtual worlds? Students learn to respond to film and media as proactive, critical, and articulate viewers. Students also acquire the vocabulary, conceptual strategies, and interpretive skills necessary to closely analyze the form and content of film and media, as well as the ability to set their own relation to the ideologies all representations convey.

FMST 200L, Required Film Screening
Required corequisite to FMST 200.

FSEM 163, LGBTQ Cinema/Transnational
Faculty Profile for Professor Maitra

How is cinema queer? Cinema’s fascination with same-sex desire is as old as cinema itself. The 1930 Hollywood film _Morocco_, for instance, shocked audiences because its “straight” female lead—a glamorous cabaret singer—finishes her opening number by kissing another female character. But alongside the emergence of a global LGBTQ movement over the last three decades, cinema has traveled far beyond innuendos, becoming a powerful and popular medium for queer visibility and self-expression. In fact, cinema has played a crucial role in making queer politics and identities transnational and global. In this class, we will explore these cinematic (and other) attributes of queerness through a rich variety of films from Asia, Europe, and North America, paying close attention to their social and political contexts. This course will introduce students to the basics of film analysis and a global archive of queer cinema. We will also learn to critically examine Euro-American LGBTQ politics through the transnational representations of race, ethnicity, class, and religion in many of these films. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive course credit for a 200-level FMST class, the Global Engagements CORE requirement, and for one half of the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive credit for FMST 230 and satisfy the Global Engagements requirements.

Professor Maitra's research interests include transnational film and media, queer politics, and Marxist aesthetics. He is currently watching and eager to chat about _Sense8_. He is also finishing a book on identity as a "media effect" in a capitalist economy.

FSEM 163L, LGBTQ Cinema/Film Screening
Required co-requisite to FSEM 163, LGBT Cinema in a Transnational Frame. See FSEM 163 description for details.

THEA 246, Intro to Performance Studies
What is performance? The verb "to perform" can be variously defined as "to carry out an action," "to discharge a duty," "to accomplish a task," and "to present to an audience." Interdisciplinary in nature, students explores performance in the context of the performing and media arts, as well as in the context of ritual, politics, and everyday life. Emphasizes the relationship between performance and race, gender, sexuality, and other vectors of identity: how are various types of difference enacted, articulated, and represented through performative acts?