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Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.

Film and Media Studies


1. Introduction to Film: From Script to Screen

09F: 10A

This course examines all the processes, which go into the creation of a film, from its inception as a treatment and screenplay to its distribution as a film. Experts (writers, directors, actors, cinematographers, and distributors) may talk on various areas of expertise. The course will offer an in-depth analysis of classic films and different kinds of films, including an explanation and use of the key technical and critical concepts used in understanding them.

Open to all classes. Limited to 75 students. Dist: ART; WCult: W. Ruoff.

2. Introduction to Television

10F: 10A

This course will provide an introduction to television as a form of communication grounded in earlier electronic media such as telephone and radio and looking forward to the internet, its representative stylistic conventions and genres (daytime drama, news, sports, “reality” shows, sitcoms, etc), and the way the medium constructs audiences(e.g., as age, race and gender consumer demographics). Through an exploration of concepts such as “liveness,” segmentation and “flow”, and broadcasting, the class will also examine how television structures time and space. Dist: ART, WCult: W. Desjardins.

7. First-Year Seminars in Film and Media Studies

Consult special listings

10. Special Studies in Film Studies

Not offered in the period from 09F through 10S

20. Film History I (Silent to Sound)

09F: 2A 10F: 3A

Detailed history of film from its origins to early sound films. Among the major topics to be addressed are: Pre-cinematic devices and early cinema; the rise of the feature film; the tradition of silent comedy; the rise of the studio and star systems; European movements and their influence; the coming of sound.

Prerequisite to the major in Film Studies. Open to all classes. Dist: ART; WCult: W. Lawrence, Williams.

21. Film History II (1930-60)

10W: 3A 11W: 10A

A detailed history of film beginning with the golden age of the U.S. studio system and its major genres. Among the topics and films considered will be the rise of sound film; Holly wood in the 30s; the impact of World War II; neo-realism; film noir; the blacklist; the impact of television and the decline of the studio system; Japanese cinema; the emergence of European auteurs; beginnings of the French New Wave.

Open to all classes. Dist: ART; WCult: W. Williams, Ruoff.

22. Film History III (1960 to 1990)

10S: 3A

This class surveys a history of film beginning with the French New Wave and its impact on international cinema. Among the topics and films to be considered will be the interrogation of genres in this period; the rise of alternative models of production; independent and radical film in the United States, Europe, and the Third World; new national cinemas (e.g., Eastern Europe in the 60’s, Australian and New German film in the 70’s, and Soviet, Chinese, and British film in the 80’s).

Open to all classes. Dist: ART; WCult: W. Desjardins, Sundar

23. Film History 1990-present

Not offered in the period from 09F through 11S

This class surveys a variety of national cinemas and their artistic, social, political, and industrial contexts from the period of 1990 to the present. Focus will be on the mutual influences among cinemas during this period, international co-productions, and the ways in which specific national cinema contexts interface with globalized economies and distribution in post-colonial political environments. Some attention will be given to post- French New Wave art film movements, such as Denmark’s Dogme group; to the cross-over of east Asian cinemas, such as Hong Kong cinema, to the west; to East European and German cinema since the break-up of the Soviet Union; and to the appeal of Indian cinema to diasporic communities in North America. Dist: ART; WCult: W.

30. Documentary Videomaking

10W: 10A 10X: 2

This documentary workshop will explore in depth the rich world of nonfiction film and video production. Working in groups, students will tackle a variety of technological, as thetic and ethical issues intrinsic to the medium. Each group will produce one 10-minute non-fiction narrative. The class will utilize standard professional production models, which require intense collaborative teamwork and the distribution of tasks and responsibilities.

Open to all classes; enrollment limit of 15. Permission granted by the instructor after the first day of class, on the basis of an application submitted before the end of the previous term. Supplemental course fee required. Dist: ART; WCult: W. Brown (10W), Ruoff (10X).

31. Filmmaking I: Basic Elements of Film

10S, 11S: 2A

An introduction to the theory and technique of filmmaking combining comprehensive analysis of significant works in various film styles with practical exercises in production. The course aims to provide a basic understanding of the filmmaking process—from script to screen. Students will work in 16mm and portable video for experience in scriptwriting, directing, cinematography, acting, and editing. Readings will include introductory film history, film theory and criticism, screenplays, and essays on new aesthetics in film and video.

Permission required with preference given to students who have taken Film Studies 1. Permission is granted by the instructor after the first day of class. Supplemental course fee required. Dist: ART. Brown.

32. Filmmaking II

10W, 10F: 3A

A workshop course in film production, with students, working alone or in collaboration, required to complete a project for showing at the end of the term. Weekly class meetings will include analysis of film classics and work in progress, as well as critical discussions with visiting professionals.

Prerequisite: Permission granted by instructor after the first day of class and if you have taken Film Studies 31. Supplemental course fee required. Dist: ART. Brown.

33. Writing for the Screen I

10W, 11W: 10A

An analysis of the creative writing process as related to film and other media. A variety of styles will be explored and the potential of specific content for a visual medium will be examined. Each student will be expected to complete a script for a work of at least twenty minutes as a term project.

Permission will be granted by the instructor, on the basis of material submitted before the end of fall term. Dist: ART. Phillips.

34. Writing for the Screen II

10S: 10A

A continuation of Film Studies 33 in which the student is expected to complete a full-length screenplay begun in that course. Continued work on the methods of writing, particularly on character development and plot rhythms.

Permission is granted by the instructor and if you have taken Film Studies 33. Dist: ART. Phillips.

35. Animation: Principles and Practice

09F: 2A

A workshop course in a variety of animation techniques including drawing, object, process and 3-D computer animation. Working individually, students will complete four short exercises as well as one extended final project that will be shown at the Dartmouth Animation Festival in late May. Weekly classes will include thorough critiques of completed work, as well as screenings of professional animation and meetings with visiting animators from around the world. Students will be expected to work an average of 20 hours a week on independent projects outside of class. Permission of the instructor is required and given after the first day of class. Supplemental course fee required. Dist: ART. Ehrlich.

36. Experimental Videomaking

09F, 11W: 2A

The basic techniques and theories of portable and studio video production. The course covers the basics of developing a video project from idea through realization on the screen. Students are expected to produce several projects, which emphasize ideas outside the traditional narrative and documentary forms, and are encouraged to develop their own form of aesthetic expression. Students show and critique their work in class weekly in preparation for a final project and public screening.

Permission is granted by the instructor after the first day of class, on the basis of an application submitted before the end of previous term. Supplemental course fee required. Limited to 15 students. Dist: ART. Ruoff.

37. Directing for the Camera

Not offered in the period from 09F through 11S

Offered in conjunction with Theater 34 (Acting for the Camera), Directing for the Camera investigates the directorial process of translating the written script to the screen. Working with actors from Theatre 34, students analyze, rehearse, shoot and edit narrative scenes from existing or original screenplays. The exercises are critiqued and comparisons are then made between the existing works and the exercises. Students work in crews rotating between the roles of director, camera, and sound. Special attention is also given to lighting, cinematography, and audio recording. Texts will include works on directing, e.g., Truffaut /Hitchcock, as well as on cinematography and writing.

Permission required. Limit 10 students. Dist: ART. Brown.

38. Advanced Animation

Not offered in the period from 09F through 10S

A workshop course in two-dimensional film animation, with the individual student required to complete an animated short with synchronized sound for showing at the Animation Festival at the end of the term. Weekly class meetings will focus on conceptualizing, storyboarding and scheduling the various stages of production, frame-by-frame analysis of sound, advanced animation techniques, and critiques of ongoing work.

Prerequisite: Film Animation I or previous animation experience. Permission of the instructor required. Supplemental course fee required. Dist: ART. Ehrlich.

39. Advanced Videomaking (Documentary and Experimental)

10S : 2

A workshop course in advanced digital videomaking, with students, working in pairs or groups, required to complete a short (10-minute or less) broadcast-quality documentary or experimental video for screening at the end of the term. Class meetings will focus on conceptualizing, preparing, and completing the various stages of pre-production, production, and post-production, with extensive in–class critiques.

Prerequisite: Film Studies 30, 31, 36, or significant experience shooting and editing digital video. Permission granted by the instructor after the first day of class, on the basis of an application submitted before the end of previous term. Supplemental course fee required. Dist: ART. Ruoff.

40. Theories and Methodologies of Film and Media Studies

10W: 2A 11W: 3A

This course is designed to introduce the film and television studies major to some of the field’s major scholarly methodologies and their theoretical value in explaining how texts, industries, creative artists, and audiences participate in meaning-making processes. Students will read scholarship and participate in projects that illuminate how meaning is created and negotiated at the levels of industrial production, artistic creation of texts, and audience knowledge and engagement. The screenings, readings, and assignments will ask the student to think about the relations among his/her own position as a scholar, as an audience member, and as a creative artist. This knowledge provides a foundation for critical thinking skills necessary for the student’s success in the major. The course is designed for students who have had some introductory exposure to the principles of film and/or television aesthetics and production techniques, but before they have completed their upper division major requirements. Dist: ART. Williams, Desjardins.

41. Genre

10W: 2A 10S: 10, 10A

An examination of the concept and use of genre with focus on a particular genre. How are the genres determined and how useful structurally and historically is genre as a concept of classification? What constitutes a genre? What is the relationship between periods and genres? Between genre and the Hollywood film? This course will consider genre as both an aesthetic concept and an economic one, producing stabilization and variation in product. The roles of repetition and variation, stability and change. Genres may include the western, the crime movie, the women’s film, the musical, family melodrama, the film noir or other genre-related topics such as film and literature. May be repeated for credit with a different topic. Dist: ART; WCult: Varies.

In 10W, Bond and Beyond. This course will focus on the importance of the espionage genre to the changing definition of Britishness as seen in British film (James Bond, The Spy who Came in From the Cold) and Television (The Avengers, The Prisoner) in the 1960’s. Topics to be discussed include the evolution of 1960’s British film from the “kitchen sink” dramas of the early 60’s to the Pop-stylishness of Swing London; the relationship between films, novels, and television; the impact of Hollywood on British production and the lure of the American market. Lawrence.

In 10S at 10, Ethnographic Film (Identical to Anthropology 12.1). Ethnographic film crosses the boundaries of academic anthropology and popular media. This course will address the construction of meaning in ethnographic films in relation to the parallel concerns of anthropology. We will consider approaches to film style, the relation of visual media to ethnographic representation, and the challenges visual forms pose to written ethnographies. The class will appeal to anthropology and film students as well as students interested in the politics of cross-cultural representation. Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Ruoff.

In 10S at 10A, Shades of Noir: Film, Fiction, Politics (Identical to Comparative Literature 62). ‘Film Noir’ evokes memories of stylish, cynical, black-and-white movies from the 1940s and 1950s—melodramas about private eyes, femmes fatales, criminal gangs, and lovers on the run. Noir narratives revolve around questions of racial and national identity; the postwar crisis of masculinity and gender relations; and the experience of alienation and dislocation. The course will also trace the pervasive presence of noir and its continuing appeal for artists and audiences throughout the world. Dist: ART or INT; WCult: W. Gemünden.

42. National Cinemas

09F: 3A 10X: 10 10F: 3A 11S: 2A

Focus on a specific national cinema or a particular period of a national cinema. May be repeated for credit with a different topic. Dist: ART (unless indicated otherwise); WCult: Varies. Sundar, Gemünden, Ruoff

In 09F at 3A (Section 1) Indian “Parallel” Cinema. This course is an introduction to Indian film traditions that are markedly different than mainstream “Bollywood” cinema. We will explore art cinema as well as films that straddle the art and popular domains.

In 09F at 3A, (Section 2) Continental Strangers: European Exiles and Emigrés in Hollywood, 1933-1950 (Identical to, and described under, German 43). Gemünden.

In 09F at 3A (Section 3) and 10F, Korean Film (Identical to, and described under, Korean 63).

In 09F at 3A (Section 4), Faces of Totalitarianism: A History of a Nation through a History of a Medium (Identical to, and described under, Russian 14).

In 10X, French New Wave. An exploration of selected films by French new wave directors Jean Rouch, Alain Resnais, Agnès Varda, François Truffaut, Chris Marker, and Jean-Luc Godard, with emphasis on relationships between fiction, documentary, and reality. We will consider these works in relation to aesthetic, cultural, and political developments in postwar France.  We will also explore the role of French film criticism and the importance of such alternative exhibition circuits as the Cinémathèque française.  Dist: ART; WCult: W.

In 11S “The Berlin School” (Identical to, and described under German 43, pending faculty approval).

In 11S African Cinema (Identical to, and described under AAAS 55).

43. The Film Creator: Directors, Producers, Actors, Writers

Not offered in the period from 09F through 11S

This course will focus on a single figure or group of related figures, examining their roles and creative authority in the filmmaking process, investigating the major films with which they are associated, and determining the central thematics of their works. Resources in addition to films will include biographies, film-scripts, critical writing, and some examples of theory. Dist: ART; WCult: Varies.

44. Television: A Critical Approach

Not offered in the period from 09F through 11S

Using the student’s exposure to television as a starting point, this course will examine prominent critical issues regarding television as an industry, as a narrative form, and as a cultural institution. Analytic viewing of past and present programs, assigned readings in books and periodicals, and lectures from scholars and industry veterans will be among the materials used as the basis for discussion and critical writing. A historical understanding of the medium will be emphasized. Dist: ART; WCult: W.

45. U. S. Television History

10W: 10

This course will examine the history of television as an emerging technology; its dynamic interaction with government, private industry, and audiences; and its impact on society and culture. It will include a consideration of both pre-television media (especially radio) and new media (cyber-culture) as they inform a historical understanding of TV. The norms and practices of the network era (1955-1985) will be positioned as a functional middle-ground, much in the way that classical Hollywood Cinema (1920-1960) serves as middle-ground in motion picture history. Students will be encouraged to develop their capacity for a critical distance from contemporary media via this historicized approach. Open to all classes. Limited to 50 students. Dist: ART; WCult: W. Desjardins

46. Topics in Television

11W: 2A

This course presents a range of approaches to television studies with varying emphases on historical, theoretical, or new methodological approaches including the impact of the new technologies. Dist: Varies.

In 11W, Television and Histories of Gender (Identical to, and described under, Women’s and Gender Studies 56). Dist: ART; WCult: CI. Desjardins.

47. Topics in Film and Media Studies

09F, 10S : 10A 11W: 3A

This course presents a range of approaches to film studies outside traditional categories such as genre or national cinemas. Each course will emphasize a different combination of historical, theoretical, and new methodological approaches to one area of film studies.

Dist: ART. Bronski, Desjardins, Brown

In 09F, Jews In Hollywood (Identical to, and described under, Jewish Studies 22) Bronski.

In 10S, The Hollywood Star. This course will examine the formation and circulation of media star figures. The Hollywood film star, as it was constructed through promotion, publicity, and films during the “golden age” of the studio system of film production, will serve as our template for stardom in the 20th century, as well as a point of departure for understanding how stardom has been sustained or changed in the proliferation of media formats and niche audience demographics in the late 20th-early 21st century. Desjardins.

In 11W, Independent American Film.

48. Topics in Digital Culture and New Media Technologies

10X, 11S: 2A

This course presents a range of approaches to the study of new and emerging technologies outside, or in addition to, the critical paradigms used to study prior media arts and industries, such as film and broadcast television. Dist: ART

In 10X, Games and Playculture. This course explores the historical considerations and anthropological importance of play and games. Ranging from the most ancient game examples to current computer games, students will read, discuss, and play games to explore the presence and possibilities of gaming elements within media arts, artistic practice, research, and performance. This course offers a wide range of games for investigation, from common children’s games to absurd artists’ games. Students will examine historical and contemporary artist’s projects, including those using new media technologies, as well as look at the game as a humanistic tool for abstraction, storytelling, and activism.

49. Practicum in Digital Culture and New Media Technologies

10S, 11S: 10A

This course offers students the opportunity to combine critical study with the practice of new media design. This course explores how innovative games are created and what elements go into the design of a good play experience. Games, be they PC games, cell phone games, or locative games, provide to be a versatile platform for media designers. During the course, students will explore the range of options open to the game designer in theory-practice sessions. Students study the process of making games while developing actual game ideas, prototyping, play-testing, and documenting original, innovative game plans within a master design document. Dist: ART.

In 10S at 10A, Values at Play. Digital games are rapidly evolving as a medium, and designers are increasingly becoming interested in creating games that engage players in deeper and more meaningful ways. How can we design games that comment on social, moral, and political values? Can games create or contribute to discourses in which particular values are reconsidered, critiqued, or affirmed. This course provides students with concrete experience in designing games in which values such as liberty, tolerance, and justice are “at play.” Students will also explore the rich philosophical literature dealing with how values are embedded in a variety of technical artifacts, including but not limited to games. Flanagan

50. Topics in Film Theory

10S: 3A

Introduction to basic issues of film and television theory as seen by classical and contemporary film theorists. Issues include the problem of realism and representation, signification, narrative, and the impact of semiotic, psychoanalytic, feminist, and structuralist theories on classical theory.

Prerequisite: Film Studies 20 or 21. Dist: ART; WCult: Varies.

In 10S, Topics in Theory: Cyber-Disciplinary. This course will survey the relationship between the rise of digital culture and changing dynamics of “discipline” within and outside academia. We will consider historical and theoretical literature regarding this dynamic, in relation to a wide range of media texts and new media formats that offer reflection about it. In addition, we will invite speakers from a variety of fields to discuss the impact of cyber-culture and digital tools on their research and creative work. One principal thread to be interrogated will be the capacities within digital culture to afford new capacities for academic work and unexpected knowledge (i.e., Web 2.0 and 3.0), but also new or revised modes of surveillance and information gathering (i.e., what may be seen as an enhanced regime of “discipline” in the Foucauldian sense). Students will be expected to produce a significant final project (digital projects encouraged), in addition to shorter analytical papers and exams. Williams.

80. Independent Study

All terms: Arrange

This course is designed to enable qualified upperclass students to engage in independent study in film under the direction of a member of the Department. A student should consult with the faculty member with whom he or she wishes to work as far in advance as possible. A proposal for any independent project must be submitted by the appropriate deadline in the term immediately preceding the term in which the independent study is to be pursued. Permission of instructor required. The staff.

93. Major Project

All terms: Arrange

This course, limited to Film and Media Studies majors or as part of a modified major, involves an individual project in some aspect of film and television history, theory or practice. The subject of the project, the term, and the hours are to be arranged. Each project must be directed by a faculty member of the Department. The approval of the faculty member and the Chair must be secured in advance, not later than the term immediately preceding the term in which the project is to be undertaken. This is a two term project.

95. Honors Project

All terms: Arrange

A thesis, screenplay, or film production written under the supervision of a member of the Film and Media Studies Department. This course must be elected by all honors candidates. Permission of the Film and Media Studies Faculty required. Honors Projects are considered to be two-term projects. Students must register for each of the two terms to receive the Honors designation.