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Course Descriptions

More than 40 courses are approved to count towards the Film Studies Minor.

Please see the Film Studies Minor Advising Sheet for a list of approved courses.

Detailed course descriptions of all courses listed on the Advising Sheet are listed below and also provided in the University catalog

FMST 100 – Introduction to Cinema
An introduction to four elements of cinema: 1) defining categories
such as “genre,” “foreign,” “silent,” “mainstream,” and “abstract;” 2)
organizing structures of film such as narration, composition, sound,
editing, and 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 short video required.

FMST 300 – Elements of Cinema
This survey analyzes the elements of cinema including photography,
mise-en-scène, editing, sound, acting, and ideology. Because film is a
collaborative endeavor, students will participate in collaborative learning
projects in this class: some production, but mostly analytical projects.
Students will examine the ways that cinema must synthesize all of its
elements to function as a singular work of art. In addition, students will
analyze cultural implications inherent in the production of films, in the
marketing of films, and in the “reading” of cinema as text.

FMST 375 – Family, Tradition and Gender in Chinese Films
A cultural study of Chinese social traditions, family values, and gender
configurations as well as their historical change as represented in the
recent Chinese movies produced in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and
Taiwan. May not be taken for credit by students who have received
credit for FMST 390A and 390-1.

FMST 390 (3)
Topics in Cinema Studies
Topics may take the focus of a theme, director, historical period, or
genre, to name a few possibilities. Students should check the class
schedule for listing of actual topics. May be repeated for a total of six (6)
units as topics change.

FMST 398 - Independent Study
Directed readings of films and of film scholarship under the guidance
of an instructor. Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained
consent of supervising faculty member and Film Studies Coordinator

FMST 495 – Internship in Film Studies
Combines readings with work experience in an appropriate film studies
organization. Enrollment restricted to students who have obtained
consent of supervising faculty member and Film Studies Coordinator.

FMST 499 - Independent Research in Film Studies
Students develop an extended research project (either film or paper)
using sources in consultation with a faculty advisor. Enrollment
restricted to students who have obtained consent of supervising faculty
member and Film Studies Coordinator.

COMM 360 ‐ Mass Media and Society
Introduction to theories, research methods, and empirical research
findings related to the production and effects of mass communication
on individuals and society. Surveys various forms of media, provides
an overview of the historical formation of various media channels, and
analyzes the impact of mass communication upon popular culture.
Enrollment Requirement: COMM 100. (MC)

COMM 400 ‐ Discourse Analysis
Various approaches to the study of discourse, including ethnography
of communication, ethnomethodology, culturally focused approaches,
speech act theory, and conversation analysis. Students are expected to
acquire competency in analyzing recorded and transcribed data from
various social settings. (CTM)

COMM 410 ‐ Asian Americans and the Media
Examines Asian Americans’ relationship to traditional and emerging
media and studies these texts in relation to the history of Asian
Americans, the historical imaging and imagination of Asian Americans,
and Asian American subjectivities more generally. Through a rhetorical,
media, and Asian American studies perspective, students will analyze
media with the purpose of demonstrating how communities are created,
identities are communicated, and persuasive elements are employed
in producing and contesting the historical and cultural memory of Asian

COMM 480 ‐ Topics in Mass Communication
Focused study of a specific aspect of mass communication. Topics vary
by instructor. Students should check the Class Schedule for listing of
actual topics.

COMM 485 ‐ Chicana/os Latina/os in Film and T.V.
Examines representations of Chicana/os and Latina/os in film and television.
Students learn about the development of Chicana/o cinema as a
means to communicate counter narratives of Chicana/os’ and Latina/
os’ social experiences. Explores the ways that language, images, and
symbols convey individual group, and social identity. Categories are
examined using critical rhetorical, media, feminist approaches. Students
analyze films or television shows with the purpose of demonstrating
persuasive elements, identities communicated, and/or ideologies
proffered. Enrollment restricted to students with Junior or Senior
standing. (MC)

DNCE 124 - Introduction to Dance Through Film
Lecture course that surveys various genres of dance through classic,
contemporary, and experimental films and videos. A range of documentary,
dance-for-the-camera, and popular culture works that offer diverse
perspectives on dance and cultural identity will be viewed.

ECON 327 ‐ Economics, the Arts and Entertainment Industries
Examines how art and entertainment mediums serve as a narrative
to convey economic content. Focuses on the exchange between
the rhetorical power of economics and the narrative power of the
arts, such as film, song writing, and musical genres. Considers how
economic forces in these industries shape entertainment or art products.
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202.

FREN 380 ‐ Narrative to Film – taught in French
Designed to explore similarities and differences between the narrative
mode and film. Analyzes a series of novels that have been made into
films. Includes theoretical aspects of writing and film. Conducted
in French.

GRMN 380 ‐ German Culture Through Film – taught in German
Study of important aspects of German-speaking cultures and history as
they are represented in film. Elements of film analysis. Compositions and
analysis of selected grammar topics. Conducted in German.

HIST 308 ‐ National Cinema & National History in 20th-Century Europe
Explores the history of how European national identities were created,
defined, and sustained in the 20th Century through the new medium of
motion pictures. Examines the creation of national cinemas in several
countries including Germany, France, and the Soviet Union. Considers
films and filmmakers as manufacturers of national identities and myths
both in support of and in opposition to European states in the 20th
Century as a way of understanding a nation’s history.

HIST 312 ‐ The Ancient World in Film
An examination of modern cinematic and television depictions of the
mythology, drama, and history of ancient Greece and Rome, including
the Trojan War, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, gladiators, and early
Christianity. Special emphasis is placed on understanding why the
ancient world is such a popular setting for modern films, how accurately
such films portray the ancient world, and how they serve as vehicles to
express modern concerns and ideologies.

HIST 344 ‐ The American Frontier as Symbol and Myth
The frontier as a metaphor for the hopes and fears of Europeans and
Euroamericans from 1492 to the present, as seen in the works of
writers, philosophers, political theorists, movie makers, historians, and

HIST 348 ‐ United States Film History
Introduction to the history of film in the United States from its inception
at the turn of the 20th Century to the present. Explores the many facets
of U.S. film and looks at the manner in which the film industry developed
during the course of the 20th Century. Looks at the evolution of film
making and the manner in which film not only shaped but also reflected
the historical moments in which it was born, with careful attention to
the manner in which film reflects American society’s tensions over race,
class, and gender.

HIST 364 ‐ Image and Reality: Film and Modern Chinese History
Examines modern Chinese history by looking at a group of selected
popular films produced in that country during the last 70 years. By
analyzing the images and motifs of these selected films, students will
discuss the recurring themes and concerns as expressed by the Chinese
filmmakers and seek connection between these visual manifestations
and the nation’s modern history.

LTWR 334 ‐ Film
Studies various genres, forms, and/or directors of film. The content of
each course is reflected by its sub-title.
A. The Western
B. Women Before and Behind the Camera
C. Asian Film
D. Native American Cinema

LTWR 336 ‐ Films and Other Genres
Studies various genres and/or films in relationship to other arts or texts.
The content of each course is reflected by its sub-title.
A. Hitchcock and the Masters of Suspense
B. Detective Films and Novels
D. European Cinema
E. Jane Austen: Novel into Film

LTWR 338 ‐ Children’s Literature into Film
Comparative analysis of classic and award-winning novels (nineteenth
century to the present) and films based on them, with attention to
cultural history of the child and of literature for children. Emphasis
on recurrent themes and literary tropes and key problems for critics,
teachers, and parents. As well as basic terms and strategies for literary
analysis, students will learn and use basics of film analysis. Distinct
from children’s literature courses offered in most departments/colleges
of education in that its primary focus is the critical analysis of literature,
film, and culture, rather than linking texts to child development or
guiding students in appropriate methods for selecting texts for courses in
primary and secondary education. The course is nonetheless useful and
interesting to future teachers and anyone who spends time with children
or is interested in writing for children.

LTWR 340 ‐ The Monstrous, the Grotesque and the Occult
Surveys discourses of the monstrous - from psychological theories of
the grotesque to ancient folklore about the occult to postmodern ghost
stories like the X-Files–which try to explain the incomprehensibility of our
world. Examination of various texts will reveal how culture has asked,
and answered, such questions as who we are and how we’ve come to
be ourselves. Stresses critical thinking, reading, and writing as well as
cooperative, interactive, and technological learning.

LTWR 402 ‐ Studies in Shakespeare
Study of the writings of Shakespeare. Critical analysis of Shakespeare’s
major plays, which might include emphasis on Shakespeare and the
Human Condition, Shakespeare’s Comic Vision, the Tragic Vision of
Shakespeare, the Historical Plays, or a combination of plays, poems and
variant themes. Students should refer to the Class Schedule for specific
course content.

LTWR 355 – The Middle East in Literature and Film
(formerly offered as: LTWR 415 ‐ Literary and Cinematic Representations of the Middle East & North Africa)
Analyzes cultural and social representations of the Middle East and North
Africa through fiction and film. Major topics such as cultural identity,
religion, history, and society will be studied. Special emphasis will be
on the historic and cultural interaction between the Middle East and the

MLAN 351 – Animation Film and the Comparative Global Imagination
Comparative study of animated film narratives from various countries
(focus on Asia, Europe, and the Middle-East). Introduces concepts
central to the study of multiculturalism and multi-bilingualism. Elements
of narrative, film and cultural analysis, and socio-linguistics. Enrollment
restricted to students with upper-division standing

MLAN 360 ‐ Migrant and Diaspora Cinema in Europe
Study of narrative films about migrants and diasporas in Europe.
Introduces concepts central to the study of multiculturalism and multilingualism.
Elements of film analysis, and socio-linguistics. Enrollment is
restricted to students with upper-division standing.

PSCI 341 ‐ Latin American Politics Trough Film
Through a series of films, documentaries, readings, and group discussion,
the course is designed to bring to life a diverse region that
encompasses great wealth and desperate poverty, with democratic
and statist governments and a complex, multicultural heritage.

SPAN 380 ‐ Narrative to Film – taught in Spanish
Designed to explore similarities and differences between the narrative
mode and film. Analyzes a series of novels that have been made into
films. Includes theoretical aspects of writing and film. Conducted in

TA 328 ‐ Stage to Film
Through play readings, viewing selected films of plays and occasional
attendance at performances, students will analyze and examine distinctions
between theatre and film as they pertain to film adaptation.
Students will compare and contrast aesthetic, economic, social, and
political issues involved in the translation and adaptation of stage plays to
film. Addresses the relevance of theatre as a medium focused on the
delivery of human energy in relationship to film as a mechanized counterpart
in an increasingly technologically focused society.

VPA 320 ‐ Culture of India Through Dance, Music and Film
Designed to give an insight into the understanding of the culture of India
through the appreciation of dance, music, and film. The subcontinent of
India is diverse with different languages, customs and traditions, dress,
and values which is reflected in the different art forms present therein.
The uniqueness of the various performing arts is shown in the subtle
yet clear distinctiveness found in the music and dance forms of the
north, south, east, and west of India. The course is divided into several
sections and will be taught with the help of videos, films, audio tapes,
and also guest artists, who will perform lecture-demonstrations.

VSAR 203 - Introduction to Audio and Video
Teaches the basics and integration of audio, video, and motion graphics
production for the web or other screen-based media. May not be taken
for credit by students who have received credit for VPA 180-3.

VSAR 222 ‐ Survey of World Cinema
Introduces the student to a diverse selection of film, video and digital
media from around the world. Covers such subjects as indigenous
aesthetics, the political and social force of Third Cinema within revolutionary
societies, changing ethnographic cinematic practice, and various
approaches to narrative structures within particular cultures. Questions
the ethical implications of a Hollywood-dominated film industry.
Addresses how particular countries undertake production and distribution
within their economies.

VSAR 303 ‐ Introduction to Video Arts
Introduction to video art practice and theory. All phases of videotape
production from conception to finished product utilizing experimental,
narrative and documentary techniques. Includes digital and electronic
time-based video production, video installation art, field production,
non-linear computer based editing, lighting and sound design. Lectures,
demonstrations, hands-on projects, video screenings, discussions,
research and field trips. Public screening of work. Two hours of lecture
and three hours laboratory.

VSAR 304 ‐ Advanced Video Production
Offers students the opportunity to continue to develop and hone skills in
video production and post-production including narrative, experimental,
documentary and installation utilizing digital audio and video tools and
software. Includes lectures, screening, and lab. 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 visual arts. Public screening of work. Two hours of lecture
and two hours of laboratory. May be repeated for a total of six (6) units.
Recommended Preparation: VSAR 303, 305 or 306 or a basic video class
taken at another institution.

VSAR 305 ‐ Art & Digital Video for the Web
Designed for those interested in experimenting with streaming media
including video, audio and other moving images on the web within
theoretical and practical contexts of artmaking. Covers basic desktop
digital video and audio applications, video and audio streaming and basic
web design. Integrates reading and writing on various aspects of new
media within the context of art and society, including self-publishing,
game theory, gender and cyberspace, copyright issues, narrative, and
interactivity. Final production results in public presentation of live internet
video or radio performance, and public web site. Two hours of lecture
and two hours of laboratory. Recommended Preparation: COMM 370,
VSAR 302, 303, 304, 405.

VSAR 306 ‐ Video in the Community
Explores video, art, activism and community service. Students learn
the latest in video production technology while using video within the
community as a tool for social or political change, indigenous expression,
cultural understanding, community organization, or advancement of
social causes. Video projects relevant to communities will be identified,
developed, and produced by the students in collaboration with members
of that community and faculty. Public screening or broadcast of work.
Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory. May be repeated for a
total of six (6) units.

VSAR 309 ‐ Generating Narrative in Video and New Media
A studio course explores narrative or storytelling structures in video and
new media through hands-on research and writing projects. Projects
may include creating a narrative video, rich media web project, an interactive
CD or DVD, an internet radio show, or an interactive 3-D art installation.
Sound, video, web or multimedia applications and technologies will
be covered, as well as methods and theories of story structures across
cultures. Results in public presentation of student work. Two hours of
lecture and two hours laboratory. Also offered as MASS 432. Students
may not receive credit for both.

VSAR 317 ‐ Media Distribution
Examines the distribution of media products, and focuses on identifying
and critiquing distribution patterns, structures, practices, and the institutions
that offer mediated experience. Highlights two parallel trends in
the context of technological advances and convergences: consolidation
of mass media industries, and the simultaneous empowerment of
independent and guerilla distribution. Students will be able to examine
and work within a number of distributor models and strategies including
grassroots/community media, self-publishing, viral marketing, festivals,
trade shows, pod and web casting, and learn about the communication
processes used to create distribution networks.

VSAR 328 ‐ Video Art History and Theory
Covers the history and theory of video as a global art form while linking
it to other significant art movements in painting, sculpture, music and
performance art. Includes understanding video genres such as narrative,
experimental, documentary, installation, web-based and commercial.
Analyzes the relation of counter-culture media to television and
mainstream film. Screenings, discussion, research and hands-on projects.

VSAR 329 – Documentary Production
Develops an understanding and appreciation of the documentary genre.
Covers conceptual and technical aspects of documentary production.
Students will be encouraged to develop their unique voice and style
in executing their own productions.

VSAR 361 ‐ New Documentary Film
Explores the concepts and histories that underlie new genres of
documentary film and examines films made in this new style produced
from the 1980s to the present. Contemporary documentary film has
replaced the authoritative voice and singular point-of-view characteristic
of traditional documentary film with multiple voices and diverse cultural
perspectives. Students view and analyze new documentary films whose
genres include the combination of historical and personal documentary,
non-fiction, and experimental work. Students will explore the aesthetic
and technical dimensions of the films, as well as conduct research on
their historical, cultural, and political backgrounds. Explores the idea of
how knowledge is transmitted cinematically.

VSAR 422 ‐ Art and Technology of the Moving Image
Hands-on survey of the history and theory of filmmaking, video production,
new media, 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 studying and analyzing 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.

VSAR 424 ‐ Media Genre
Examines how media production participants develop products that fit
common formats (e.g., sitcoms, soaps, heavy metal, rap, action films,
comedies); how production participants and audiences develop recognition
and understandings of genres and their conventions; and how
production processes differ for various formats. Students consider the
persistence and change of common cultural forms. Students have the
opportunity to create media projects applying course concepts. May not
be taken for credit by students who received credit for VPA 380-19 and
MASS 424.

VSAR 433 – Story Writing for Media
Explores the theory and practice of feature-length screen/media writing
and narrative, as commonly seen in fiction film and television, as well
as in creative documentaries. Through theory and workshop course
examines structure, archetypes, character, theme, plot, conflict, action,
and dialogue. Students create scenes, outlines, and analysis of their own
original feature-length stories. Recommended, but not required MASS
432. May not be taken for credit by students who have received credit
for COMM 480L, MASS 405A, MASS 430A, MASS 433.

WMST 450 ‐ Cinema and Gender
Investigates the power of film and the film industry in representing and
shaping gendered positions in a variety of cultural settings. Explores
dominant and alternative practices of gendering cinematic characters
and viewers. May employ particular thematic frameworks (e.g., mothers
and daughters, gender and European cinema, women in the silents, or
gender and documentary film).