Film and Media Studies

Roseanne Galegher, Rolvaag 526A
507-786-3200

The Film and Media Studies (FMS) Program is committed to fostering visual literacy, promoting critical thinking and analysis, and encouraging students to engage meaningfully with a world in which images and screen-based media play an ever present and powerful role. Our program also embraces the inherently interdisciplinary aspects of film, serving students from programs and departments across the college (art, theater, English, psychology, sociology, history, philosophy, music, and so on). In addition to offering an interdisciplinary education that is faithful to the spirit of the liberal arts, the program addresses the specialized concerns of the field. We define and examine film and media broadly—as a variety of modes (narrative, experimental, and documentary) and outlets or screens (cinema, television, video, social media, video games, and streaming platforms). In exploring the specificities of these media, the program attends to aesthetics, form, and textuality but always within a larger context (the historical, cultural, social, political, and so on), to address national and global audiences, economies, and histories. The program also teaches practical skills and provides resources for students interested in pursuing paths that center on film and media production.  

A major in Film and Media Studies consists of 10 courses: FILM 101: Introduction to Film Studies, FILM 140: Film History, FILM 280: Film and Media Theory, FILM 220:Film and Media Production, plus six (6) additional courses, one of which must be a production course and one of which must be a 300-level course.  At least two of the four remaining electives must be courses offered by the program.

Students may petition to have courses that are not designated as approved courses count toward the major.  Both the course instructor and director of the program must grant their approval in such a situation. 

No more than two courses from other institutions may count toward the major.

TEN COURSES FOR THE MAJOR

THREE CORE COURSES:

FILM 101: Introduction to Film Studies (For students who take MEDIA 160: The Media Landscape* before the Fall of 2021, the course can count as the equivalent of Introduction to Film. We will also add a production component to the course beginning in Fall of 2021, in order to make it more appealing to students especially interested in the media studies aspects of the major.)

FILM 140: Film History and/or MEDIA 160: The Media Landscape*

FILM 280: Film and Media Theory  

*MEDIA 160 The Media Lanscape can fulfill only one of these two core course requirements, not both.

FOUR 200-LEVEL ELECTIVE COURSES: Students must take at least two of these courses offered by the program. The courses below rotate topics and may be taken up to three times.

FILM 215: Genre

FILM 235: Authorship

FILM 245: National and Transnational Film and Media

FILM 265: Film and Media Modes

FILM 270: Topics in Film and Media History

Students may choose two of their following electives from courses offered by other programs and departments. At least one of these courses must be a 200-level course. Courses that are not offered regularly will require approval from the director.

ART 104: Foundations in New Media

ART 228: Animated Art

ART 229: Digital Filmmaking

ASIAN 156: Contemporary China through Film

ENGL 209: Arab American Literature and Film

ENGL 275: Literature and Film

ENGL 280: Top: American Cinema

ENGL 286: The Rhetoric of Video Games

ENGL 296: Screenwriting

FILM 230: Media and the Environment (Iceland)

MEDIA 250: Video News Reporting

MEDIA 360: Top: Media and the Environment

GERM 249: German Cinema

HIST 290: Reel America: U.S. History in Film

NORW 130: Nordic Film

RUSSN 265: Introduction to Russian and Soviet Film

THEAT 130: Introduction to Acting

TWO PRODUCTION COURSES: 

FILM 220: Film and Media Production (Required)

ONE may be taken from the following courses offered inside and outside of the program.

ART 104: Foundations in New Media

ART 228: Animated Art

ART 229: Digital Filmmaking

ENGL 296: Screenwriting

FILM 230: Media and the Environment (Iceland)

MEDIA 250: Video News Reporting

THEAT 130: Introduction to Acting

ONE 300-LEVEL COURSE

FILM 350: Advanced Topics in Film and Media

FIVE COURSES FOR THE CONCENTRATION 

TWO CORE COURSES

FMS 101: Introduction to Film Studies (Media 160 will count as the equivalent of this course if students who have taken it prior to Fall 2021.)

FMS 140: Film History and/or FMS 160: The Media Landscape

TWO ELECTIVES (THAT ENGAGE WITH THE CULTURE, HISTORY OR THEORY OF FILM AND MEDIA)

Asian Studies 156: Contemporary China through Film

English 209: Arab American Literature and Film

English 275: Literature and Film

English 280: Top: American Cinema

English 286: The Rhetoric of Video Games

FMS 215: Genre

FMS 235: Authorship

FMS 245: National and Transnational Film and Media

FMS 265: Film and Media Modes

FMS 270: Topics in Film and Media History

FMS 360: Top: Media and the Environment

German 249: German Cinema

History 290: Reel America: U.S. History in Film

Norwegian 130: Nordic Film

Russian Language/Area Studies 265: Introduction to Russian and Soviet Film

ONE PRODUCTION COURSE

Art 104: Foundations in New Media

Art 228: Animated Art

Art 229: Digital Filmmaking

English 296: Screenwriting

FMS 220: Film and Media Production 

FMS 230: Media and the Environment (Iceland)

FMS 250: Video News Reporting

FMS: 260: Media and Contemporary Culture

Theater 130: Introduction to Acting

FMS 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. Also counts toward media studies concentration.

FMS 140: 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. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Prerequisite: FILM 101 or permission of instructor.

FMS 160: The Media Landscape

This course encourages students to critically assess and shape their personal relationship to the media landscape. Its premise is that we are all, to some extent, uninformed and uncritical consumers of media products, services and effects rather than conscientious and civically engaged users of them. In this spirit, this course is designed to give students a theoretical, as well as practical, experience with issues of gender, race, class, and sexuality as they manifest in mediated artifacts of popular culture. The course is taught from a media studies perspective where students gain skills in critical analysis and media literacy. Concepts of power, privilege, justice, representation, hegemony, consumption and resistance are woven throughout course readings, images, assignments and discussions. Offered twice annually. Also counts toward film studies concentration.

FMS 215: Topics: Genre

Hollywood and other popular cinemas around the world divide their film narratives into different genres like melodrama, horror, musicals, science fiction, film noir, and gangster cinema. Some of these genres stem from literature and theater, and most have subsequently influenced television, video games, and other media production. In this course students analyze the history and characteristics of one of these genres in detail or compare and contrast influential examples of genre production. May be repeated if topics are different. Offered alternate years in the fall semester beginning fall semester 2021-22.

FMS 220: Film and Media Production

This course introduces students to film and media production. The course rotates topics to accommodate various modes of production such as documentary, experimental, and narrative filmmaking. Students view and study film, learn the creative and technical skills associated with the course's focus, as well as participate in their own film and media productions. Offered annually.
Prerequisites: FILM 101 or MEDIA 160 recommended.

FMS 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. Offered periodically.

FMS 235: Topics: Authorship

For much of film history the film director has been considered to be an author not unlike a writer of a novel or composer of a symphony. In this course students closely analyze the authorship of influential film directors, while also critically evaluating the role of the director along with themany other artists and workers that contribute to the meaning and production of film. May be repeated if topics are different. Offered alternate years in the spring semester beginning spring semester 2021-22.

FMS 245: Topics: National and Transnational Film and Media

This course focuses on the film and/or media production of a particular nation, region, or economic and cultural partnership across borders. It gives students a historical overview of influential national and transnational cinemas, or other global media products. May be repeated if topics are different. Offered alternate years in the spring semester beginning spring semester 2021-22.

FMS 250: Video News Reporting

This course focuses on the practices, ethics and challenges of video journalism in a digital age. Students learn imaged-based journalism through academic analyses, review of stories reported by Twin Cities newsrooms, and hands-on production of multiple video broadcast and online news stories. Students acquire video shooting, editing and interviewing skills relevant to the workplace today. The course includes two trips to the Twin Cities to visit the studio and Capitol bureau of KARE 11, the NBC television affiliate in Minneapolis. Offered periodically.

FMS 260: Media and Screen Cultures

This course focuses on screen-based media, from television to fillm, social media platforms to video games, from theoretical and critical perspectives. Primary emphasis is on the diverse ways screen media production, distribution, and consumption inform contemporary issues in the public sphere. In particular, the course examines media discourses on identity, agency, and privacy, and how communication technologies, data aggregation, and targeted marketing help or hinder democracy and the dismantling of structural inequalities. Offered alternate years. Also counts toward management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: MEDIA 160 or permission of instructor.

FMS 265: Topics: Film and Media History

This course closely examines a specific period in the history of cinema or other media. Students study the relationship between film and media texts and their historical context and social environment. The course rotates topics to emphasize either an influential period (national or global) or historical movements. May be repeated if topics are different. Offered alternate years in the fall semester beginning fall semester 2021-22.

FMS 270: Topics: Film and Media History

This course closely examines a specific period in the history of cinema or other media. Students study the relationship between film and media texts and their historical context and social environment. The course rotates topics to emphasize either an influential period (national or global) or historical movements. May be repeated if topics are different. Offered alternate years in the fall semester beginning fall semester 2021-22.

FMS 280: Film and Media Theory

This course is an introduction to the major figures, concepts, and debates in film and media theory (1915 to the present day). Although a historical framework informs the structure of this course, students are strongly encouraged to observe similarities and differences within the same schools of theory as well as across different theoretical models and periods. Topics of study include formative and realist film theory, psychoanalysis, semiotics, new and digital media, feminist media theory, and postmodernism. Offered annually in the spring semester beginning spring semester 2021-22.
Prerequisite: FILM 101 or permission of instructor.

FMS 295: Internship and Reflection Seminar

This seminar integrates the liberal arts with the experience of work and the search for a vocation or career. Course content will include both an off-campus internship and on-campus class sessions that connect academic theories/analyses of work with their particular internship experience. Students will also consider and articulate the value of the liberal arts for their pursuit of a creative, productive, and satisfying professional life.

FMS 350: Topics in Film

This advanced course rotates between various topics in film that may include genres and styles, authorship, national and transnational cinemas, industrial history, and film's relationship to other art forms and popular culture at large. Students study films within a context that emphasizes specialized theoretical, cultural, or historical concerns and questions. May be repeated if topic is different. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Prerequisite: FILM 101.

FMS 360: Topics in Media

This course provides a capstone to the concentration. Taught as a seminar, it investigates critical and specialized issues in media from multiple and often competing perspectives. Topics change regularly and address a wide range of media-related concerns. Sample topics include "Media and the Environment," "Media and Religion," and "Media and Globalization." Offered alternate years.
Prerequisite: MEDIA 160 or permission of instructor.

Film and Media Studies Courses in Other Departments

ART 104 Foundation New Media

ART 228 Animated Art

ART 229 Digital Filmmaking

ASIAN 156 Contemporary China Through Film (in English translation)

ENGL 209 Arab American Literature and Film

ENGL 275 Literature and Film

ENGL 280 Topics in Genre (when topic is American Cinema)

ENGL 296 Screenwriting

GERM 249 German Cinema (in English)

HIST 290 Reel America: U.S. History in Film

NORW 130 Nordic Film Today

RUSSN 265 Introduction to Russian and Soviet Film (in English translation)

THEAT 130 Introduction to Acting

Director, 2020-2021

Björn Nordfjörd

Visiting Associate Professor of English

American cinema; world cinema; crime fiction; adaptation and narrative theory

Brian Bjorklund

Professor of Theater

design and technical theater; scene painting

Sian E. Christie

Entrepreneur in Residence

marketing; entrepreneurship; strategy; arts management

Cecilia Cornejo

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art and Art History

Kari Lie Dorer

Associate Professor of Norwegian

Norwegian language and culture; applied linguistics; Sami studies; Nordic film.

Carlos Gallego

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

Professor of Art and Art History and Asian Studies; Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary and General Studies

Asian art history; text/image; sacred sites

Judy Kutulas

Professor of History

20th-century U.S. history; U.S. women's history; popular and material culture

Justin W. Merritt

Professor of Music

composition; theory; instrumentation; electronic music

Linda Y. Mokdad (on leave)

Assistant Professor of English

film history; classical film theory; feminist film theory; art cinema; Arab cinemas

Diana O. Neal

Associate Professor of Nursing

pediatric nursing; neonatal intensive care nursing; complementary therapies

Anthony W. Roberts

Artist in Residence in Dance

modern dance; dance technology; Companydance

Marc Robinson

Professor of Russian Language and Area Studies

Russian language; Russian film and literature; Russian theater

William Sonnega

Associate Professor of Theater

theater; media studies

Mary E. Trull

Professor of English

16th- and 17th-century English literature

Karen Wilson

Professor of Theater

theater; ethics and theater; directing; voice/phonetics