(Media and Film Studies)
Art, history, cultural studies, and technology come together in the interdisciplinary study of film: text meets sound and image, art meets science, economics meet aesthetics. Film studies addresses the inherently collaborative nature of a medium where directors, cinematographers, editors, actors, musicians, and set designers work together to create works of art. Films invite analysis and evaluation both as self-contained works of art, and as reflections of the historical and cultural circumstances in which they are created and consumed.
Overview of the Concentration
The film studies concentration equips students with basic skills of visual literacy (how to "read" the moving image), and the ability to understand the cultural, historical, and commercial contexts of films.
The film studies concentration consists of five courses, at least three at level II or III, including:
|FILM 101||Introduction to Film Studies||1.00|
|Studies in the history, theory or cultural meaning of film|
|Two elective courses that focus on the history, theory, or cultural expression of film within the United States or in a global context. These courses examine the production, critical evaluation, cultural history, and reception of film. Students take two courses to develop fluency with the critical and theoretical methods of the discipline (see list below).||2.00|
|Practical film studies|
|One elective course that focuses on practical aspects of film creation or criticism. These courses emphasize modern film as professional practice, asking students to master at least one of the main creative or technical skill sets used in film-making (see list below).||1.00|
|Integrative film studies|
|One more elective drawn from the above categories, or an integrative film topics course approved by the program (see list below), or a contract course worked out in consultation with the program director and the instructor. This course challenges students to synthesize their previous study of film in ways consistent with their own needs and interests, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of film studies. Students must present to the program director a brief explanation of how their work in this course synthesizes previous interests.||1.00|
Note: no more than one course from another institution may count toward the concentration.
Courses that count toward the film studies concentration
The following courses are offered annually or biannually: Additional courses that count for film studies may be offered on a periodic or one-time basis. Students interested in having a course approved for film studies should consult the program director.
History, Theory, or Cultural Meaning of Film Courses
|ENGL 275||Literature and Film||1.00|
|FILM 201||American Film History||1.00|
|GERM 249||German Cinema (in English)||1.00|
|NORW 130||Nordic Film Today||1.00|
|RUSSN 265||Introduction to Russian and Soviet Film (in English translation)||1.00|
Practical Film Studies Courses
|ART 104||Foundation New Media||1.00|
|ART 228||Animated Art||1.00|
|ART 229||Digital Filmmaking||1.00|
|DANCE 150||Movement, the Camera, and the Creative Process||1.00|
|THEAT 130||Introduction to Acting||1.00|
|THEAT 275||Writing for Performance||1.00|
Integrative Film Studies Courses
|ASIAN 156||Contemporary China Through Film (in English translation)||1.00|
|ASIAN 230||The Philosophy of Anime||1.00|
|FREN 250||Speaking (of) French||1.00|
|HIST 290||Reel America: U.S. History in Film||1.00|
|MEDIA 160||Mass Media||1.00|
|MEDIA 260||Media and Screen Cultures||1.00|
|PHIL 260||Kant's Moral Theory in Literature and Film||1.00|
|REL 121||Bible in Culture and Community (when the topic is "Bible as Screen Play")||1.00|
|WRIT 111||First-Year Writing (when the topic is "Writing about Film" or "Page, Stage, and Screen")||1.00|
FILM 101: Introduction to Film Studies
This course provides an overview of film studies by focusing on three areas: history of film, production (the basic tools of film-making), and theory (the basic vocabulary of film analysis). Students develop visual literacy through engagement with the primary structures, methods, practitioners, history, ideas, and vocabularies of film studies. Counts toward media studies concentration.
FILM 201: American Film History
This course explores both classic and contemporary Hollywood cinema in its artistic, cultural, technological, and economic contexts. Students study films ranging from silent movie classics, screwball comedy, film noir, and the Hollywood musical through the work of Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg. In addition to assigned reading and writing, students are required to watch two films per week, one of them at a formal screening on Monday evenings. Offered periodically. Counts toward American studies major and media studies concentration.
FILM 225: Documentary Film: The Challenge of Representing Reality
This course explores the relevance and influence of documentary films by closely examining their aesthetic concerns, ethical implications, and real-world impacts. The course offers a condensed historical overview along with an examination of recent works. It combines screenings, readings, and discussions with the goal of preparing students both to understand and to analyze documentary films. This course does not have a production component. Offered alternate years.
Prerequisite: FILM 101 or permission of the instructor.
FILM 230: Media and the Environment (abroad)
This course will be taught off-campus, with one week at St. Olaf followed by three weeks in Iceland. Students study various media representations of nature, while specifically addressing the ways in which journalists, activists, filmmakers and artists have responded to global warming and climate change. Prior to departure students learn about documentary cinema and acquire introductory filmmaking experience. During their stay in Iceland, students attend lectures on media and climate change, discuss course topics with scholars and artists, and visit heterogeneous sites, including art museums, geothermal power plants and national parks. Course assignments include group presentations, a final exam, and a collaborative documentary filmmaking project.
FILM 240: Film History
This course provides a broad overview of the cinema from its beginnings to the present day, while introducing students to historically informed methods and arguments that have contributed to the shape and continuing development of film studies as a formal discipline. In addition to adopting a global perspective to explore the cinema's role as a powerful aesthetic, social, and cultural force, students examine key movements, conventions, practices, and periods that inform film history.
Prerequisite: Film 101 or permission of instructor. Counts toward the film studies concentration. Offered annually in the spring semester.
FILM 294: Academic Internship
FILM 298: Independent Study
FILM 394: Academic Internship
FILM 398: Independent Research
FILM 396: Directed Undergraduate Research
This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.
Prerequisite: determined by individual instructor.
Linda Y. Mokdad
Assistant Professor of English
film history; classical film theory; feminist film theory; art cinema; Arab cinemas
Karen R. Achberger
Professor of German
German cinema; 20th-century German and Austrian literature; Ingeborg Bachmann; Green Germany; fin-de-siècle Vienna
Professor of Theater
design and technical theater; scene painting
Kari Lie Dorer
Associate Professor of Norwegian
Norwegian language and culture; applied linguistics; Sami studies; Nordic film.
Artist in Residence in Theater
stage acting; acting Shakespeare; stage direction; period styles of acting
Associate Professor of English
Chicano/a studies; 20th century American literature; comparative ethinic studies; philosophy and critical theory; cultural studies
Steven C. Hahn
Professor of History
colonial America; Native American history; piracy
Karil J. Kucera
Associate Professor of Art and Art History and Asian Studies
Asian art history; text/image; sacred sites
Professor of History
20th-century U.S. history; U.S. women's history; popular and material culture
Justin W. Merritt
Associate Professor of Music
composition; theory; instrumentation; electronic music
Diana O. Neal
Associate Professor of Nursing
pediatric nursing; neonatal intensive care nursing; complementary therapies
Visiting Associate Professor of English
American cinema; world cinema; crime fiction; adaptation and narrative theory
Thomas W. Pope
Adjunct Assistant Professor of English
Rebecca S. Richards
Assistant Professor of English
rhetoric and composition; feminist/gender studies; media studies
Anthony W. Roberts
Artist in Residence in Dance
modern dance; dance technology; Companydance
Associate Professor of Art and Art History and Environmental Studies
19th-and 20th-century art; American culture; gender and multi-cultureal studies; social justice; visual ecocriticism
Associate Professor of Theater
theater; media studies
Mary E. Trull (on leave)
Professor of English
16th- and 17th-century English literature
Professor of Theater
theater; ethics and theater; directing; voice/phonetics