Course Descriptions

COMM 360 Theories of Mass Media (3)

Theories, research methods, and empirical research findings related to the production and effects of mass communication on individuals and society. Involves a survey of electronic and print media; an overview of the historical formation of various media channels; analyses of the impact of mass communication upon popular culture.


COMM 400 Discourse Analysis (3)

The study of monological or interactive oral texts in light of various approaches to the study of discourse; speech act theory; conversational analysis; ethnography of communication; ethnomethodology; culturally focused and communicative strategy approaches. Students are expected to acquire competency in analyzing texts within various social settings (e.g., courtroom; labor negotiation session; conflict mediation) and in developing effective interventionist stratagems.


COMM 460 Political Economy of Mass Media (3)

Theories and problems concerning systems of support and control of the mass media, with special reference to the role of special interest groups and the political state. Emphasis on allocations of spectrum, time, money, energy, materials and human resources among agencies of mass communication systems. Consideration is given to questions of access to media institutions and the operations of such institutions in light of governmental regulations and policies. Some focus on the significance of mass communication in conducting foreign affairs, as well as the role of mass communication in developing nations.


COMM 480 Topics in Mass Media (3)

Topics may vary according to instructor. Possible topics: the history of mass media in the United States; ethical issues in the area of mass media; the treatment of gender, race and ethnicity in the modern mass media; popular culture. May be repeated for credit as topics change for a total of six (6) units.


FMST 100 Introduction to Cinema (3)

An introduction to four elements of cinema: (1) defining films by categories such as "genre," "foreign," "silent," "mainstream," and "abstract'; (2) organizing structures of film such as narration, composition, sound, editing, dramatization; (3) theories used to "read" films such as psychoanalysis, semiotics, and cultural studies; (4) production issues such as storyboarding, shooting, lighting, editing, and sound mixing. Production of a small video required.


FMST 300 Elements of Cinema (3)

This survey analyzes the elements of cinema including photography, mise-en-scene, editing, sound, acting and ideology. Students examine the ways in which cinema must synthesize all of these elements to function as a singular work of art.


FMST 398 Independent Study (3)

Directed readings of films and of film scholarship under the guidance of an instructor.


FMST 495 Internship in Film Studies (3)

Combines readings with work experience in an appropriate film studies organization.


FMST 499 Independent Research in Film Studies (3)

Students develop an extended research project (either film or paper) using sources in consultation with a faculty adviser. Prerequisites: Consent of supervising faculty member and Film Studies working group.


HIST 300 Thematic Topics: History of US Cinema (3)

Thematic topics in History. Topics may come from any world area or be comparative. May be repeated for credit as topics change for a total of six (6) units.


HIST 460C Special Topics: Film and History of China (3)


LTWR 334A-C Forms and Genres Studies, Film (3)

Studies various genres of discourse separately or in combination. Examines the various forms generated within the genre and forms of film.

  1. Western Film
  2. Women Before and Behind the Camera
  3. Asian Film

LTWR 335A-D Forms and Genres Studies, Film and Other Genres (3)

Studies various genres of discourse separately or in combination. Examines the various forms generated within film and other genres.

  1. Japanese Literature and Film
  2. E.M. Forster into Film
  3. Shakespeare into Film
  4. Postmodern Film and Fiction

SOC310 Sociology of Mass Communication (3)

Multidisciplinary examination of the complex interplay between mass communication and social life. Explores the diverse ways that flows of information shape and are shaped by various levels of social organization‹encompassing individuals, families, communities, corporations, nations, and world systems. Students will critically engage all forms of mass media, ranging from traditional print, radio, and television media to the new information technologies.


SOC312 Film and Society (3)

Addresses several aspects of the relation of film to modern society. These include how the major concepts of sociology (such as alienation, individualism vs. community, social class) are represented and reflected in film; in what ways the commercial film impacts modern society (for example, the structure of the cinema industry, its role in "mythmaking" as a component in the process of socialization); and how the documentary film serves as an information and investigative medium.


TA 323 Power and Popular Culture (3)

Explores the fields of advertising, popular film, theatre, and television in regards to the way women, gays, ethnic minorities, and individuals of different classes are portrayed, allowed access, and share power within these fields. In this context, the management of power refers to who is doing what to whom and under what circumstances. This course explores the bearing of Gender, Race, and Class politics on mainstream culture. Most of the work analyzed will be taken directly from popular, mainstream cultural sources.


VSAR 222 Survey of World Cinema (3)

Introduces the student to a diverse selection of international film, video and digital media from around the world, emphasizing national cinemas that relate to the demographics of Southern California as well as trends in culture and events, i.e. cinemas of Mexico, Venezuela, Iran and more. Course endeavors to bring in as many guest artists as possible either live or via live video.

This class  covers topics such as indigenous aesthetics, cinema and revolutions, and diverse approaches to narrative structures within particular cultures. We will examine the ethics of a dominant Hollywood film industry as well as the possibilities inherent in the new worlds of Do-It-Yourself modern media distribution.  Addresses how particular countries under-take production and distribution within  their economies, particularly in popular cinemas.

VSAR 303 Video Arts (3)

Skills development in the use of video production and post-production equipment, utilizing videotape and computer technologies. Includes all phases of videotape production (concentrating on film-style single camera techniques), linear videotape editing and non-linear computer based editing. Two hours of lecture and two hours laboratory.


VSAR 304 Advanced Video Production (3)

Offers students the opportunity to continue to develop and hone skills in television, film-style, and experimental videotape production and post-production. Includes lectures, screening, critiques, and work in a laboratory setting for instruction in advanced video production techniques. Production of a variety of videotapes with an emphasis on public distribution. Development of practical and critical skills through the study and analysis of current issues surrounding the production, interpretation, and dissemination of video in relation to the visual arts. Two hours of lecture and two hours laboratory.


VSAR 403 Interactive Multimedia (3)

Studio-oriented discussions offering advanced skills development in the use of interactive multimedia production tools, utilizing audio, video and computer technologies. The class covers the theory and practice of integrated audio, video and computer media production, including all phases of multimedia production from conception to finished product. Course includes: lectures, demonstrations, hands-on skills training, multimedia presentations, discussions, research papers and field trips. Two hours of lecture and two hours laboratory. Prerequisites: Completion of Computer Competency Requirement or enrollment in CS304, or MUSC302, or PSYC300, or VSAR 302 or 303.


VSAR 422 Art and Technology of the Moving Image (3)

Hands-on approach to survey the history of film making, video production and the moving image. The parallel developments of projected imagery and animation from the 16th Century through contemporary practices utilizing computer technologies will be covered. Students will acquire practical and critical skills through the study and analysis of the development of theoretical discourses that frame past and current issues surrounding the production and interpretation of the moving image. Films and videotapes addressing diverse cultural, ethnic, and social concerns throughout the world will be screened, analyzed, compared, and contrasted. Includes lectures, screenings, and an introduction to production skills in the basic practices of film and video technologies.