Cinema and Media Studies

Hamilton’s Cinema and Media Studies Program offers opportunities to explore cinema and media history and theory through in-depth, broadly ranging exposure to pivotal contributions and accomplishments in media-making, as well as through hands-on creative experiences. The focus of the concentration is to develop critical perspectives on the aesthetics, structures, and impacts of audio-visual representations and the evolution of media technologies.

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 Literature and Creative Writing 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, Auto-Tune, hypertext literature and digital poetry. Open to first-year students and sophomores only. (Same as American Studies 125.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

[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.)

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.

228F Philosophy and Film.
Explores film through the lens of philosophy and conversely. Most philosophers agree that films can at least stir up interest in philosophical problems, raise philosophical questions, or record philosophical arguments. But there is no such agreement on the more interesting question -- the main one the course examines -- of whether films can also philosophize, or advance philosophical positions. Students will be required to watch one full length movie a week outside of class time. One course in philosophy required. Prerequisite, one prior course in Philosophy. (Same as Philosophy 228.) Doran.

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 Literature and Creative Writing 290.) MacDonald.

291S American Film Comedy: Classic and Modern.
An exploration and analysis of major contributions to the history of American film comedy, from its origins in slapstick to the flowering of silent physical comedy in the 1910s and 20s (performer/directors Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd); to the sophisticated comedy that dominated the early decades of sound (directors Ernst Lubitsch, George Cukor, Howard Hawks, Billy Wilder); to attempts in the 1960s and 70s to rethink comedy by commercial directors and independent filmmakers working "underground" (George Kuchar, John Waters); to recent work that has built on this tradition. (Same as Art History 291.) 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 Literature and Creative Writing 301.)

[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.

[330] Digital History and New Media: Theories and Praxis.
Focuses on the process of creating digital history and the impact of digital media technologies on the theory and practice of U.S. history and critical race theory, broadly defined. Readings, labs/workshops and discussions address the philosophy and practice of digital history, questioning how digital tools and resources are enabling and transforming analysis both in traditional print scholarship, and in emerging digital scholarship across the humanities. (Same as American Studies 330 and Africana Studies 330.) 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 Literature and Creative Writing 365.)

500F Senior Seminar in Cinema and Media Studies.
Exploration and discussion of topics that relate to both cinema studies and media studies. Students will deepen their understanding through individually-designed research projects, 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 CMS. Students who achieve a grade of 88 or better will be encouraged to pursue an honors project. Prerequisite, Consent of Instructor. (required for Senior Concentrators in the Fall Semester) Maximum enrollment, 12. Nieves.

550F,S 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 CMS faculty will approve proposals and assign a second faculty member to the student’s advisory committee. Prerequisite, Consent of Instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12. Nieves.