Introduction

Film Studies at Lawrence explores cinema history, theory, and production as deeply integrated facets of a larger project of media literacy and cultural engagement. Students combine the critical study of media culture with creative practice in film, video, and new media.

In our courses, students explore the unique properties and histories of cinema and related forms. They become skilled at analyzing the formal, technical, and aesthetic elements of the medium and are able to contextualize these within a variety of interpretive frameworks such as historiography, genre, transnational and global contexts, film theory, and critical identity studies.

Our curriculum also develops personal engagement with the art of media-making through small-scale artisanal practice, in which each student participates in all key aspects of production. Students work in both 16mm film and digital media and can explore a wide range of emerging forms including creative nonfiction, handmade cinema, animation, installation, and new media. We encourage experimental and cross-media projects.

Film studies invites interdisciplinary approaches, and the course offerings at Lawrence are drawn not only from the program’s core, but also from departments in the languages and cultures: French, German, Russian, and Spanish. Course offerings are also found in the departments of art, education, and history, and in the Conservatory of Music. Students can combine an interest in film studies with almost any discipline in the liberal arts. 

Our faculty are committed to centering scholarly and creative works from historically marginalized groups as well as exposing students to global cinematic traditions. We believe in providing all students with radical access to the knowledge, resources, and supportive community required to participate fully as consumers, readers, and producers of media culture.


Required for the film studies major

  1. A minimum of 66 units to include:
    1. FIST 100: Introduction to Film Studies
    2. Three additional designated courses, one in each category:
      1. Film History: FIST 210: Film History I or FIST 211: Film History II
      2. Film Theory: FIST 402: Film Theory and Criticism
      3. Filmmaking: FIST 370: Avant-Doc or FIST 371: Documentary Forms
    3. 36 units of elective courses in film studies
    4. FIST 601: Senior Research Seminar (6 credits) or FIST 602: Senior Production Seminar I (3 credits) and FIST 603: Senior Production Seminar II (3 credits) 
  2. A Senior Experience that allows students to produce either a research paper or creative work. Students must complete either the senior research or production seminars (FIST 601 or FIST 602/603) as part of this requirement, and present in the senior showcase held annually near the end of Term III.

Senior Experience in film studies

Students majoring in film studies will enroll in either the senior research or production seminar that culminates in a Senior Experience. The Senior Experience will be at least one term and may be more depending on the route the student pursues. The experience will allow students to create either a creative media project or a research paper which they will present in the senior showcase held annually near the end of Term III. Students interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary Senior Experience that integrates their interests in film studies with another major are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors and relevant department chairs to plan and negotiate their overall Senior Experience as early as possible.


Required for the film studies minor

  1. A minimum of 36 units to include:
    1. FIST 100: Introduction to Film Studies
    2. One course in each category:
      1. Film History: FIST 210: Film History I or FIST 211: Film History II
      2. Film Theory: FIST 402: Film Theory and Criticism
      3. Filmmaking: FIST 370: Avant-Doc or FIST 371: Documentary Forms
    3. 12 units of electives in film studies