College Catalogue

Cinema and Media Studies

Program Committee
Martine Guyot-Bender (French; F 14;S15 Off Campus)
Steve Humphries-Brooks (Religious Studies)
Scott MacDonald (Art History)
Angel Nieves (Africana Studies; F 14 Off Campus; S 15 Director)
Kyoko Omori (East Asian Languages & Literatures)
Patricia O'Neill (English; F 14 Director; S 15 Off Campus))

Cinema and Media Studies is an interdisciplinary concentration that brings together courses involving historical and theoretical study and/or hands-on experience of photochemical, electronic and digital media. The focus of the concentration is to develop critical perspectives on visual representations and new technologies in terms of their aesthetic and cultural forms and expression of individual and collective visions.
A concentration in Cinema and Media Studies (CNMS) consists of nine courses: five core courses and four electives. These core courses include CNMS 120; one course on media or cinema theory or genre: CNMS 125, 201, 290, 301 or 330; one course in production: ART 113, ART 116, ART 213, MUSIC 277, THETR 130 or THETR 213, or alternative courses in production; World Cinemas (see list below); CNMS 500: senior seminar. Additionally, students take four electives in at least two of the three elective categories below; two of the electives must be at the 300 level or higher and only one can be at the 100 level. All interdisciplinary majors require careful planning since course offerings depend of the needs of individual departments. Honors in CNMS is awarded to concentrators with at least a 3.3 average in the concentration and who complete 550 with a grade of at least A-.

Beginning with the class of 2017 and forward, a minor in Cinema and Media Studies comprises five courses: CNMS 120; two core courses from two of the three categories: theory, production or world cinema; one elective in "Cinema and Arts and the Humanities" and one elective "Social Science and Modern Media."


I. CNMS 120: Introduction to the History and Theory of Film – 1cr.
A general introduction to the wide world of cinema and cinema studies, focusing on crucial films from many cinematic traditions. Topics include the evolution of film from earlier forms of motion picture, the articulation and exploitation of a narrative language for cinema, the development of typical commercial genres, and the appearance of a variety of forms of critical cinema. Focuses on basic film terminology, with the cinematic apparatus and ongoing theoretical conversation about cinema and its audience (Same as Comparative Literature 120 and Art History 120).

CNMS 125: Introduction to History and Theory of New Media.
ART/CPLIT/CNMS 201W: Introduction to Digital Humanities
ARTH/CPLIT/CNMS 290: Facing Reality: An Introduction to Documentary
ARTH/CPLIT/CNMS 301: Cinema as Theory and Critique
AFRST/CNMS 330: Digital History and New Media: Theories and Praxis.


ART 116: Introduction to Photography
ART 213: Introduction to Video
MUSIC 277: Music for Contemporary media
THETR 130: Visual Story Telling
THETR 213: Lighting Design
Or other courses specifically involving production approved by the director of the concentration.


Taught in English:
CHNSE 205/CPLIT 205: Modern China Through Film
CPLIT/CNMS 202: African-Americans and Cinema
RSNST 169: Dreams, Visions and Nightmares: Introduction to Russian Film.
JAPN 356/CPLIT 356: Introduction to Japanese Film
And other courses dealing with the history of world cinemas.

Taught in the language of origin:
CHNSE 450: Chinese Revolution through Film (in Chinese)
FRNCH 350: Francophone Cinema (in French)
FRNCH 428: Cinematographic Memory (in French)                
HSPST 223: Introduction to Hispanic Cinema (in Spanish)
HSPST 362: Literature on Film (in Spanish)
HSPST 371: Latin American History through Cinema (in Spanish)


CMNS 500: Senior Seminar in Cinema and Media Studies
This course will be offered in the Fall Semester only. Students will explore and discuss topics that relate to both cinema studies and media studies. They will also develop individually-designed research projects through peer reviews and workshops. This seminar will be taught by the director of the Cinema and Media Studies program with collaboration from other faculty in Cinema and Media Studies. Students who achieve an average grade of 3.3 or better in all courses for the concentration and in the Senior Seminar will be encouraged to pursue an honors project in the Spring semester.


CNMS 550: Senior Honors Project
The Senior Honors project in Cinema and Media studies allows students the opportunity to demonstrate independence, maturity, and mastery as emerging scholars and/or media producers. Honors projects require a written proposal or abstract with an annotated bibliography signed by the student’s proposed advisor. The director in consultation with the Cinema and Media Studies faculty will approve proposals and assign a second faculty member to the student’s advisory committee.

The honors project must be completed no later than April 30. Written theses should be 35-50 pages. Curatorial projects must result in a series of carefully contextualized events open to the college community and a 4-5 page reflection paper on the projects’ challenges and achievements. Video projects must include 2-3 short (5-10 minute) works or one longer work (40 minutes maximum) and a 4-5 page reflection paper on the context and concepts that inform the project. Digital scholarship (hybrid works of textual/visual/ technical production) will be evaluated based on the quality of the research and presentation of the project and a 4-5 page reflection paper on the context, process, and results of the project. A public presentation of honors projects will be scheduled the last week of classes. A final grade of A- or better on the honor’s project is necessary to receive honors in Cinema and Media Studies.

ELECTIVES (4 credits)

Students must complete four electives chosen from at least two categories out of the three categories below. At least two of these courses must be at the 300 level or above. No more than one course can be at the 100 level. An additional course chosen in the core courses (Genre, Production, or Regional Cinema) can be substituted for one of the electives below.

Cinema and Media Studies students should understand the influence of literary and theatrical histories and forms on cinema, television, and other media.

CLASC 135: Film and the Classics
CPLIT 211: Readings in World Literature I
CPLIT 212: Readings in World Literature II
CPLIT/JAPN 239/339: Japanese Culture and Society From A(-Bomb) to (Dragon Ball)Z
CPLIT 258: Opera
CPLIT 285: Detective Story, Tradition and Experiment
CPLIT 297: Literary Theory
CPLIT 346: Comedy of Terror
ENCRW 215: Introductory Poetry and Fiction Workshop
ENGL 203: The Short Story
ENGL 204: Poetry and Poetics
ENGL: 205: The Study of the Novel
ENGL 256: American Literature of the 19th Century
ENGL 266: Modernisms
ENGL 315: Literary Theory and Literary Studies
ENGL 353: Anglo-American Modernism
ENGL 375: Contemporary American Fiction
ENGL 380: The Graphic Novel
ENGL 474: Major African American Narratives
THETR 212: Scene Design
THETR 214: Sound Design
THETR: 216: Costume Design
THETR 224: Playwriting
THETR 236: Outrageous Acts: Avant-Garde Theatre and Performance Art
THETR /CPLIT 244: Tragedy: Then and Now
THETR 245: Modern Drama
Cinema and Media Studies students should have experience seeing cinema and media within the contexts of the other arts and humanities.
ARTH 293: Modernism into Contemporary Art        
CLASC 320: The Romans on Film

CPLIT/ARTH 319: Text and Image in Cinema
CPLIT 349: The Garden in the Machine: Place in Modern American Cinema
ENGL/CNMS 300: Women Filmmakers
ENGL 374W: The Hollywood Novel
ENGL 435: Seminar: Jane Austen—Text and Film
FRNCH 432: Picturing War (in French)
HSPST 224: Women in Spanish Film and Literature (in Spanish)
HSPST 323: The Power of Looking (in Spanish)
MUSIC 245: Music in American Film
RELST 215: Religion in Film
RELST 407: The Celluloid Savior
RSNST 295: Bloodsucking as Metaphor: Vampires, Werewolves
RELST 421: Raging Gods; Scorsese and Coppola’s Religious Films
THETR 261: Performing Life

Cinema and Media Studies students should have an understanding of the social contexts for cinema including the practical, historical, ideological, and aesthetic challenges posed by recent developments in electronic and digital media.

AMST 304/AFRST 304: Seminar in e-Black Studies: Race and Cyberspace
ANTHR 264: Ethnography of Literacy and Visual Language
ANTHR 270: Ethnography of Communication
ANTHR 319: Freaks, Cyborgs, Monsters, and Aliens
ART 302: Advanced Photography
ART 313: Advanced Video
CPSCI 105: Explorations in Computer Science
CPSCI 110: Introduction to Computer Science
COMM 308: Transnational Cultural Citizenship
COMM 310: Media: Forms and Theory
COMM 380: Social History of Advertising
COMM 451: Seminar: Communication, Technology and Society
ENGL 317: The Laws of the Cool
RELST 304: Religion and Media
SOC 213: Culture and Society
WMNST 211: Women, Gender and Popular Culture

120F Introduction to the History and Theory of Film.
A general introduction to the wide world of cinema and cinema studies, focusing on crucial films from many cinematic traditions. Topics include the evolution of film from earlier forms of motion picture, the articulation and exploitation of a narrative language for cinema, the development of typical commercial genres, and the appearance of a variety of forms of critical cinema. Focuses on basic film terminology, with the cinematic apparatus and ongoing theoretical conversation about cinema and its audience. (Same as Comparative Literature 120 and Art History 120.) MacDonald.

[125] Introduction to History and Theory of New Media.
What makes new media “new”? How do new media compare with, transform or incorporate earlier media? Examines the production, circulation, and reception of visual and sonic media, with emphasis on how consumers and artists shape the uses and values of media. Covers key issues raised by new media through close study of critical essays and creative texts. Examples of old and new media include the phonograph, radio, film, turntable, social networks, fantasy sports and gaming, podcast, MP3, AutoTune, hypertext literature and digital poetry. Open to first-year students and sophomores only. (Same as American Studies 125.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

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135S The Classics on Film.
A study of films reflecting ancient Greek and Roman themes, including westerns (such as Unforgiven and The Searchers), works of science fiction (such as Star Wars and Blade Runner), detective stories (such as The Maltese Falcon), and films explicitly based on Greek and Roman sources (such as Spartacus and O Brother, Where Art Thou). Classical texts will be juxtaposed with their film representations, there will be readings from modern writers on film and the classics, and attention will be given to the way in which films about the ancient world reflect the times in which they were made. (Same as Classics 135.) Rubino.

201S Introduction to Digital Humanities.
Introduction to the concepts, tools and methods of digital humanities through readings and various projects. Examines the impact of computing and technology on society in the U.S. and abroad: social and cultural implications of computing; social networking; thinking with/about computers; gaming; virtual/3D worlds; strategies for online research; building websites and evaluating electronic resources. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Nieves.

[205] Video Game Nation.
Investigates how to critically interpret and analyze video games and the roles they play in visual and popular culture, and how to test the application of these approaches to various issues in gaming and digital media culture more generally. Topics and themes include genre and aesthetics, the game industry, spectatorship, play, narrative, immersion, gender, race, militarism, violence and labor. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as American Studies 205.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

290F Facing Reality: A History of Documentary Cinema.
The history of cinema as representation and interpretation of "reality," focusing on nonfiction film and video from a variety of periods and geographic locales. Emphasis on the ways in which nonfiction films can subvert viewers' conventional expectations and their personal security. Forms to be discussed include the city symphony, ethnographic documentary, propaganda, nature film, direct cinema, cinéma vérité, the compilation film and personal documentary. (Same as Art History 290 and Comparative Literature 290.) MacDonald.

[301F] Cinema as Theory and Critique.
A history of alternatives to commercial movies, focusing on surrealist and dadaist film, visual music, psychodrama, direct cinema, the film society movement, personal cinema, the New American Cinema, structuralism, Queer cinema, feminist cinema, minor cinema, recycled cinema and devotional cinema. While conventional entertainment films use the novel, the short story and the stage drama as their primary instigations, experimental and avant-garde films are analogous to music, poetry, painting, sculpture and collage. Not open to first-year students. (Same as Art History 301 and Comparative Literature 301.)

317F The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and Literary Futures.
Based on the ideas of contemporary scholars in digital humanities, this course introduces students to new modes of reading, interpreting and thinking about literature. As a group we will apply new media and text analysis tools to two works of contemporary literature: Kamila Shamsie's novel Kartography and Agha Shahid Ali's volume of poetry, A Nostalgist's Map of America. Each student will also work on an author or text of their choice. Prerequisite, One 200-level course in literature. (Same as English and Creative Writing 317.) P O'Neill.

[325S] Media Theory and Visual Culture.
We are bombarded with images, in myriad forms, on a daily basis. How do we interpret and analyze them? What is the relationship between an online advertisement for a movie and the movie itself, between a television program and a video game? An overview of contemporary media theory as it relates to visual culture in the 21st century. Readings will include seminal works in psychoanalytic theory, cultural studies, semiotics, postmodern theory, new media studies and visual studies. (Same as American Studies 325.) Maximum enrollment, 12.

335S Media and Production.
Students in this course will produce digital media projects that explore the aesthetic, educational, and technological issues of using media to communicate human experience. They will learn how to make choices that reflect the history of audiovisual media production in combination with convergent digital culture and their own creative ideas. Students will engage the language of film, the functions of scripts and storyboards, and production management. They will understand the conceptual underpinnings of multimedia technologies and use of digital technologies and equipment. Prerequisite, ARTH/CNMS/CPLIT 120, Art 213, or permission of instructor. This class has a humanities working lab session requirement. Maximum enrollment, 20. Janet Simons.

[350] Gender and Cyberculture.
Explores critical approaches to media through the intersection of gender and the technological imaginary. Investigates how the production, use and circulation of digital media affect notions of representation, identity, the body and consciousness. Close visual and textual analysis of the ways writers, artists and theorists have conceived these issues. (Same as American Studies 350.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

365S Major Figures in Cinema.
Focus on crucial contributors to the wide world of cinema. The work of one, two, or three particular filmmakers, each from a different sector of the geography of cinema, will be examined in detail. Possible filmmakers include Alfred Hitchcock, James Benning, Ross McElwee, Stan Brakhage, Fritz Lang, the Coen brothers. Prerequisite, ARTH/CNMS/CPLIT 120; or ARTH/CNMS/CPLIT 290; or ARTH/CNMS/CPLIT 301; or permission of the instructor. (Same as Art History 365 and Comparative Literature 365.) MacDonald.