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Film and Television Studies

Chair: Mark J. Williams

Professor A. Lawrence; Associate Professors M. Desjardins, M. J. Williams; Assistant Professor J. K. Ruoff; Senior Lecturer J. E. Brown; Visiting Professors D. G. Ehrlich, J. E. Rapf; Visiting Associate Professor W. F. Phillips; Adjunct Instructor M. S. Hanitchak.


The Film and Television Studies department at Dartmouth College offers a wide range of courses in the theory, history, and criticism of film and television as well as a limited number of courses in film and video production and screenwriting. The major provides a common basis for all students in the theory, history, and criticism of film and television, while at the same time asking that students take at least one course with a production component. Beyond this, the major allows students to shape their own emphasis within it (for instance, history and criticism or screenwriting).


Film Studies 1 (Introduction to Film: From Script to Screen)

Film Studies 20 (History of Film I)


Ten major courses, exclusive of the prerequisites, as enumerated below:

1) Film Studies 21 (History of Film II)

2) Film Studies 22 (History of Film III)

3) Film Studies 40: (Theories and Methodologies). Film Studies 40 should be taken in the Sophomore year. It may be approved for the Junior year, if absolutely necessary, in consultation with the chair.

4) Film Studies 41: A Genre Course or 43 or 47

5) A National Cinema Course: Film Studies 42 (National Cinemas). Courses on film offered in language departments can be used to meet this requirement. If an outside course is not cross-listed with Film Studies, request permission from the Film Studies’ Chair.

6) A Television Course: Film Studies 44 (Television: A Critical Approach); Film Studies 45 (US Television History); Film Studies 46 (Topics in Television).

7) One course in Production: Film Studies 30 (Documentary Videomaking); Film Studies 31 (Filmmaking I); Film Studies 33 (Screenwriting I); Film Studies 35 (Animation: Principles and Practice); Film Studies 36 (Experimental Videomaking); Film Studies 37 (Directing for the Camera).

8 and 9) Two Courses at an Advanced level. Advanced courses include Film Studies 32 (Filmmaking II); Film Studies 34 (Writing for the Screen II), Film Culminating Experience requirement is designed to offer each student an opportunity to fulfill an enhanced and focused project related directly to her/his emphasis within the major. It is required of both Majors and Modified Majors. This course will be selected and declared by each individual student, but must meet department requirements and schedules.

The faculty will work with each student to determine the optimal design for the Culminating Experience course. This course may be one of the following:

1) An advanced class already being offered by the department, for which the student will do extra work for the culminating experience;

2) A pre-arranged independent study (Film Studies 80: Independent Study, Film Studies 93: Major Project, or Film Studies 95: Honors Project). All independent studies must be approved in the preceding term. Production independent studies require department approval of a formal proposal in the spring before senior year. Non-production independent studies require approval by the advising faculty member.

Students considering how and when to fulfill the Culminating Experience requirement. should keep in mind the following:

A) All Majors and Modified Majors must submit a general Culminating Experience proposal by May 1 of their Junior Year. The cover sheet for this proposal is available in the Department office. Each proposal must be worked out in consultation with a faculty advisor and the cover sheet must be signed by the advisor.

B) All Majors and Modified Majors are required to take Film Studies 40 before they propose or enroll in a culminating experience course. (Film Studies 40 should be taken in the Sophomore year. It may be approved for the Junior year, if absolutely necessary, in consultation with the chair.)

C) Production projects will be assessed in relation to the rest of the production curriculum. Regularly scheduled courses will have priority regarding equipment demands.

D) Students may not be enrolled in more than one production course per term, including independent study courses.

E) Each faculty member is only available during select terms of each academic year. Projects related to a specific faculty member must be arranged in conjunction with her/his teaching schedule.

F) Students enrolled in Culminating Experience courses will complete this requirement at a celebratory dinner, to be held at least once per academic year, typically in the Spring term. Each student will make a brief presentation of her/his culminating project.


The minor in Film Studies consists of seven courses: Film Studies 1 (prerequisite) and six other courses. These six courses must be distributed as follows:

Film Studies 42 (National Cinemas); Topic dealing with a non-United States cinema. It can be satisfied also by courses in film offered by the language departments (e.g., Russian Film).

A Film History Course (Film Studies 20, 21, or 22).

A Film Genre Course (Film Studies 41).

A Television Course (Film Studies 44 or 45 or 46).

A Production Course (Film Studies 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, and occasional topics under Film Studies 10), or Film Studies 40: Theories and Methodologies of Film and Television Studies, or Film Studies 50: Topics in Film Theory.

Another production, screenwriting, or theory course in line with the area of major interest.


Students who have completed at least five major courses and who have an average in the major of 3.4 or higher (and a college average of 3.0 or higher) are eligible to apply for the Honors Program.

Students wishing to do a production project must submit a proposal to the Department in the term before the project is to begin. Honors projects that do not include production must be approved by the advisor and the Chair. Students with modified as well as standard majors may apply. The member(s) of the Department who will supervise the project will be confirmed at the time the proposal is approved. An Honors project usually extends through two terms and receives two major credits. For additional information, students should consult the Department Chair.


Permission of the Chair and a detailed description of the course will obtain provisional approval for transfer credit. Final approval will be granted on the basis of the Chair’s review of the syllabus and evidence of the student’s work in the course for which transfer credit has been requested. Three courses taken at other institutions may be substituted in fulfillment of the major requirements, provided that the program as a whole is consistent with the intent of the major. Of the three transferred courses, no more than two may be in film theory, history, and criticism, and no more than two may be in production.


1. Introduction to Film: From Script to Screen

05F:10A06X, 06F: 2A

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. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W.

7. First-Year Seminars in Film and Television Studies

Consult special listings

10. Special Studies in Film Studies

Not offered in the period from 05F through 07S

20. Film History I (Silent to Sound)

05F, 06F: 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. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA or EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Desjardins, J. Rapf.

21. Film History II (1930-60)

06W, 07W: 3A

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; Hollywood 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. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA or EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W.

22. Film History III (1960 to present)

06S, 07S: 3A

A detailed history of film beginning with the French New Wave and its impact on American and 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 (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. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W.

30. Documentary Videomaking

06X: 10A

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, aesthetic 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. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Ruoff.

31. Filmmaking I: Basic Elements of Film

06S, 07S: 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

05F, 06F: 2A

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

05F, 06W, 06F, 07W: 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

06S, 07S: 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

06W, 06X: 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

06W: 10A07S: 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

06W, 07S: 3A

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

06F: 2A

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.

40. Theories and Methodologies of Film and Television Studies

06S: 11

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. Lawrence.

41. Genre

05F, 06W, 07S: 2A

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 05F, Film as Poetry (Identical to Comparative Literature 62, pending faculty approval). The cinematic avant garde is to film what poetry is to prose, an attempt to bring a density and weight to images and sounds conventionally used to convey narrative information. The course will focus on twentieth century poetry and avant garde films and will include topics such as family, personal identity, sexuality, and the relationship of poetry and film to history. Lawrence.

42. National Cinemas

05F, 06S: 2A 06X: 3A

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.

In 05F, African American Representation In Film.This course surveys black images and issues in film and seeks a thorough analysis of the construction of “blackness” in contemporary commercial film by asking the following questions: Are the stereotypes still in play? To what extent is the audience culpable? Is there a national Black cinema? What constitutes “blackness”? What is commercial and who defines it? Nottage.

In 06S, Asian Animation. Because animated films have traditionally been targeted at children, animators in Asia have often been able to side-step much of the political control exercised by some of their more centralized governments to create sophisticated artistic works that speak as much to educated adults as they do to children. The course will feature the most interesting of these works from China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, India and Iran, and students will analyze them within a socio-political and cultural context. Faculty from the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies will provide guest lectures on Asian history and literature. Ehrlich.

In 06X, French New Wave. Ruoff.

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

Not offered in the period from 05F through 07S

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 05F through 07S

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. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W.

45. U. S. Television History

06S: 2A

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. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Desjardins.

46. Topics in Television

06W: 2A 07W: 10A

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 06W, U.S. Broadcast and Electronic Journalism History (Identical to Public Policy 81.4, pending faculty approval). This course will survey the history of broadcast and electronic journalism in the United States, with a special attention to the development of and the changes to its fundamental relation to the public sphere. This will entail a historicized and contextualized understanding of the formats, aesthetics, economics, and industrial organization of these media, as well as a concentration on specific debates, events, and individuals that made a particular impact on this history. We intend to invite speakers who have worked in these industries or on these histories. The course is designed as a seminar, so students will be expected to contribute to and as necessary lead the discussion of the readings. Students will be required to write analytical papers, including a research paper.

In 07W, Television and Histories of Gender (Identical to Women’s and Gender Studies 45). Representative network and local television programing from the 1940’s to the present will be screened and discussed in terms of American television’s changing contribution to the constructions of femininity and masculinity. Feminist historiography will inform how the class examines television’s assumptions about such constructions as the family, the “housewife”, the “patriarch,” feminism, and “postfeminist”/”post-modern” constructions of gender and sexuality.

Open to all classes. Limit 35. Dist: ART. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Desjardins.

47. Topics in Film Studies

06S: 10A

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.

Open to all classes. Dist: Varies.

In 06S, History of the Hollywood Studio System. This class will look at the history of the Hollywood studio film production system, concentrating on its formation in the late teens and twenties through its greatest crises in the 1950s, and concluding with its survival as a system for television production and distribution for independent film companies from the 1950s to the present. The emergence of specific studio “styles,” the importance of the star system, the place of other creative talent in studio hierarchies and division of labor, and studios’ relations with other businesses (e.g., manufacturers of ancillary products) will be examined in the context of the film and social histories of twentieth-century American culture. The course will also include a focus on the methodologies of researching the history of the studio system. Desjardins.

50. Topics in Film Theory

06S: 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. Dist: ART; WCult: Varies.

Prerequisite: Film Studies 20 or 21.

In 06S, Cyber-Theory. This course will survey historical and theoretical literature related to understanding critical issues attendant to the development of cyber-culture, especially from the perspective of the field of Film and Television Studies. Theorists to be considered include Vannevar Bush, Jean Baudrillard, Paul Virilio, Sandy Stone, Lev Manovich, Margaret Morse, John Caldwell, Friedrich Kittler, and Gilles Deleuze. Students will be required to write analytical and research papers, but also will be encouraged to produce media projects related to the course material.

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 Television 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 Television Studies Department. This course must be elected by all honors candidates. Permission of the Film Studies Faculty required.

Some other classes that may be taken for credit for film and television studies are:

Comparative Literature 62 Fall 05 (same as Film Studies 41) Lawrence

Public Policy 81.4 Winter 06 (same as Film Studies 42, pending faculty approval) U.S. Broadcast and Electronic Journalism History

Women’s and Gender Studies 45 Winter 07 Desjardins