Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Sunday, June 20, 2021, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.
This catalog was created on Sunday, June 20, 2021.
|Professors:||P. Cohen (Patricia Hamar Boldt Professor of Liberal Studies History), B. Peterson (German), R. Tapia (Spanish)|
|Associate professors:||A. Guenther-Pal (German) (on leave term(s) II, III), J. McQuinn (Conservatory of Music), A. Ongiri (Jill Beck Director of Film Studies Professorship, chair), S. Purkey (Bee Connell Mielke Professor of Education Education), P. Thomas (Russian)|
|Assistant professor:||A. Haydock|
Film Studies regards visual culture as producing both vital art forms and cultural artifacts that can be rigorously analyzed. Although they draw on literary and other artistic traditions, cinematic texts have always had their own identifiable properties and conventions. Many of the courses listed below pay particular attention to the history, analysis, and interpretation of film as a key form of modern culture. Other courses specifically engage with the production of visual culture through filmmaking, animation and the production of digital media. All film studies courses provide students with background in the theory and criticism of moving images.
Film studies invites interdisciplinary approaches, and the course offerings at Lawrence are drawn not only from the program’s core, but also from various language departments: Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish; there are also film courses in the departments of anthropology, art and art history, education, history, theatre arts, and the conservatory of music.
Students taking courses in film studies have access to a wide range of interpretive methodologies, national cinemas, film styles and genres, and they can combine an interest in film studies with almost any discipline in the liberal arts.
Required for the film studies major
- A minimum of 10 film studies courses to include:
- FIST 100: Introduction to Film Studies
- Three additional designated courses, one in each category:
- Film History: FIST 210: Film History I or FIST 211: Film History II
- Film Theory: FIST 402: Film Theory and Criticism
- Filmmaking: FIST 370: Avant-Doc or FIST 371: Documentary Forms
- Six elective courses
- A Senior Experience project that allows students to create either a film or a research paper as a final project. Students must complete either the senior research or production seminar as part of this requirement.
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 visual culture project or a research paper as a final project. If the student creates a visual culture project, it should be accompanied by a written statement as to the goals and outcomes of the project. 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
- A minimum of six film studies courses to include:
- FIST 100: Introduction to Film Studies
- One course in each category:
- Film History: FIST 210: Film History I or FIST 211: Film History II
- Film Theory: FIST 402: Film Theory and Criticism or a designated theory course
- Filmmaking: FIST 370: Avant-Doc or FIST 371: Documentary Forms
- Two electives in film studies
Courses - Film Studies
FIST 100: Introduction to Film StudiesAn introduction to both cinema studies and film/video production, this course will provide an overview of historical, analytical, and theoretical approaches to cinema and introduce a broad range of basic production skills including the fundamentals of nonlinear editing. Through hands-on work and the study of a diverse selection of films rooted in different cultures, times, and ideologies, students will begin to develop the critical means for engaging with cinema and culture in discussion, writing, and creative work.
FIST 110: Interdisciplinary Media Interdisciplinary MediaThis course provides an opportunity to study interdisciplinary and fine art approaches to media making and knowledge seeking. Topics will vary based on instructors' areas of expertise and interests. May be repeated for credit when topic is different.
FIST 120: Image and Sound IA basic introduction to the fundamental forms, concepts, terminology, and techniques of filmmaking, contextualized within a critical/historical framework. Students explore multiple approaches to creating meaning through readings, screenings, lectures, discussions, and critiques, paired with video exercises and hands-on instruction.
FIST 191: Directed Study in Film StudiesDirected study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
FIST 210: Film History IA foundation course on the history of cinema in a global and transnational context, Film History I focuses on "silent" film (early film to the present day) and the transition to sound. Topics include creative and technological practices; national cinemas in context; narrative, documentary, and experimental modes.
FIST 211: Film History IIA foundations course on the history of cinema in a global and transnational context, Film History II focuses on the sound era. Topics include creative and technological practices; studio, avant-garde, and postcolonial cinemas; independent, contemporary, and digital film; narrative, documentary, and experimental modes.
FIST 212: Writer vs. Director: The Battle Between Literature & FilmThis course examines questions of identity, gender, nationality, civic duty, scientific inquiry, and/or historical progress from the perspectives of two complimentary—but also competing—media. Through scene analysis, students will learn to identify the distinctive marks of literary vs. cinematic form, evaluate the formal choices that writers and directors make, and apply the achievements of literary and cinematic art to shared ethical and existential concerns.
FIST 220: Image and Sound IIA continuation of FIST 120 with expanded instruction in image design, sound design, sequencing, and concept development. Historical development of the medium and contemporary approaches to creative expression, representational ethics, and audience are emphasized through exercises, readings, lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and critiques, culminating in a final video project.
FIST 222: Sound DesignAn introduction to film sound studies paired with hands-on exploration of cinematic audio recording and editing techniques, with emphasis on sound/image relationships and the use of sound to create meaning. Students will engage in close readings of critical and theoretical texts, view and discuss film screenings, and produce a series of short audio and video exercises, culminating in a final video project showcasing the creative use of film sound.
FIST 240: New Media in ArtAn introduction to new media within a fine art context. Digital photography, experimental video, sound, photo book design, and blogging are covered as students use the Internet as a venue for presenting projects. The evolution of technology, new media theory, contemporary art discourse, and visual culture are examined through projects, readings, lectures, demonstrations, discussions, critiques, and visiting artist presentations. Mac-based. When scheduled on Tuesday-Thursday, class will dismiss early for University Convocations.
FIST 245: Interarts: New Media ProjectsA class where students make projects that engage the outside world via digital media. Lectures, discussions, readings, and critiques will investigate contemporary interdisciplinary practices and the nature of creativity. Students will be taught the basics of design thinking, leading to conceptual-development, planning, and production. Students work individually or collaboratively on documentary, video, performance, installation, graphic novels, podcasts and web projects. Mac-based.
FIST 277: Introduction to German Film StudiesWith its pivotal role in the inauguration of the cinema, knowledge of German film is critical to any understanding of the history of film. This course is intended to be an introduction both to German cinema and to the discipline of film studies. Considered perhaps as one of the most accessible aesthetic forms, the moving image pervades our everyday lives and yet we seldom think of what we do in the movie theatre as “reading.” Throughout this course, students will be introduced to the practice of reading the filmic text using three structuring lenses: 1) history, 2) formal and generic elements, and 3) film criticism.
FIST 278: Introduction to German Film (in English)With its pivotal role in the inauguration of the cinema, knowledge of German film is critical to an understanding of the history of film. Considered as one of the most accessible aesthetic forms, the moving image pervades our everyday lives, and yet we seldom think of what we do as "reading" films. Throughout this course, students will be introduced to the practice of reading German films using three structuring lenses: 1) film and cultural history, 2) formal and generic elements, and 3) film criticism.
FIST 287: Russian Through FilmThis course will examine topics in Russian film. Topics may include specific generes (e.g. the sad comedy), the work of a director or tradition, films important for a specific historical moment (e.g. the Thaw or World War Two), or films devoted to a specific theme. Students will expand their Russian vocabulary, improve fluency, increase speaking confidence and gain cultural knowledge by viewing Russian films and analyzing the psychology of the characters. Throughout this course, students will be introduced to the practice of reading the filmic text using three structuring lenses: 1) history, 2) formal and generic elements, and 3) film criticism. May be repeated when topic is different.
Topic for Fall 2020: Love, Sex, and Family in Late Soviet and Post-Soviet Film
In this course, we will discuss topics related to love, sex, and family as they are presented in a few late Soviet and post-Soviet films (e.g., Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, Autumn Marathon, Piter FM, Elena, etc.). We will also watch excerpts from talk shows and read articles that deal with these topics. We will concentrate on the skills of narration, description, and expressing and supporting opinions. Students will advance their listening, speaking, and writing skills and enrich their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar through regular writing assignments and in-class exercises and discussions.
FIST 290: Introduction to Game StudiesThis course will provide students with an introduction to game studies through the close reading of scholarly literature and playing of games from a critical perspective. An emphasis will be placed on the ways video game reflect culture while exploring topics of diversity and representation. Students will participate in class discussion, conduct academic research, and apply knowledge by creating a game.
FIST 300: Reel Men: Masculinity in American Film, 1945-2000Focusing on an array of well-known American films — “The Maltese Falcon,” “Red River,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “McCabe and Mrs. Miller,” “Chinatown,” “Die Hard,” and “American Beauty” among them — the course will integrate film theory, gender theory, and American history to address the problem of how masculinity has been constructed in American culture since World War II. Not open to students who have previously received, or need to receive, credit for HIST 400.
FIST 302: Cinematically SpeakingFrench films function as a springboard for readings, discussions, oral presentations, and short critical essays. We will briefly examine the history of French film from 1940 to the present, study cinematic techniques, the vocabulary of cinema, and explore the principal themes.Fall 2020 Special Note: This course is designed in a synchronous hybrid format; students can take it entirely remotely or with in-person component (same number of credit hours and same content for both modes).
FIST 305: Film as History and History as FilmAn examination, through selected films, of specific moments in European history and an examination of film itself as a source of historical interpretation. Possible “historical moments” include Medieval England, Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust, and possible films include Becket, The Triumph of the Will, and Schindler’s List.
FIST 309: Hollywood Goes to High SchoolYear after year, Hollywood turns out movies that are set in schools and present images of teachers and teens. Many of these films address typical coming-of-age issues, societal fear of teen crime and delinquency and, of course, the search for romance. A subset of these films provide powerful and culturally enduring images of teachers and teaching. High school movies also provide insight into the fantasies, anxieties, dreams, and assumptions prevalent in American culture. This course will examine the world and worldview found in Hollywood high school movies and the extent to which the stories they tell make us who we are.
FIST 318: Topics in FilmmakingThis course allows for an in-depth examination of various aspects of filmmaking, with a dual focus on close reading of related film studies texts and practical exploration of advanced techniques, culminating in a final video project.
Topic for Fall 2020: Image Design
Prerequisite: FIST 100 or consent of instructor
This course course will explore cinematic image design through hands-on workshops, film and video exercises, readings, screenings, discussion, and critique. Students will study foundational composition principles, learn new techniques in cinematography and lighting, and create short film and video projects that showcase the creative use of composition to create meaning.
Topic for Fall 2020: Smart Phone Art Phone
Learn graphic design basics and apply them to art projects displayed on social media platforms. Students will incorporate specific design concepts from ‘The New Basics’ textbook into their original content and/or presentation of material. A blog will be created by each student that will include a reflection on how they implemented assigned graphic design concepts into their weekly social media posts.
FIST 319: Principles of EditingA theoretical and practical introduction to connecting images and sound in a compelling way. The goal is to promote understanding of film, video, and new media as tools for creative expression and to help students think critically and make informed choices about editing.
FIST 320: Topics in Russian Film (in English)This course explores facets of the development of Russian film in its historical and cultural context. Topics may include: “The Golden Age of Soviet Film,” “The Cinema of Tarkovsky,” and “Film as Propaganda.” Taught in English. Russian majors and minors may participate in a two-unit tutorial in which discussions and some course readings will be in Russian.
FIST 324: Gender and CinemaThis course examines gender and film in an international context. Topics include the construction of femininity and masculinity in film, feminist and queer film theories, analysis of film using intersectional and formal approaches, women behind the camera, and gender and genre.
FIST 325: Black, Brown, and Queer on Film: Race, Gender, and Sexuality on FilmVisual culture has long defined that which is not white, not queer, and not male as deviant from the visual norm. This course will explore the way in which film culture has traditionally positioned people it defines as deviant from the racial, ethnic, gender or sexual norm and the ways in which filmmakers have responded to that positioning.
FIST 330: Introduction to Latin American and Spanish FilmAn introduction to the critical analysis of Latin American and Spanish film. Selected films represent various countries, genres and directors from Latin America and Spain. Readings of relevant film theory, class discussions and composition tasks prepare students for other advanced courses in the Spanish program.
FIST 340: Intermediate New Media in ArtA continuation of Art 240 or 245 using new media within a contemporary art context. Digital photography, experimental video, social media, performance, and installation are covered while using the Internet and campus spaces as venues for projects. Contemporary art discourse is examined through projects, readings, lectures, demonstrations, discussions, critiques, and visiting artist presentations. Mac-based. When scheduled on Tuesday-Thursday, class will dismiss early for University Convocations.
FIST 345: ScreenwritingAn exploration of the plot, character, and theme in the work of short films and scripts followed by the creation of one or more short screenplays.
FIST 350: Modern Chinese Literature and Cinema in TranslationA survey of 20th-century Chinese fiction and cinema. Iconoclastic works of modern Chinese vernacular fiction from 1919 through the post-Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) will be juxtaposed alongside films dealing with the same period, such as Red Sorghum (1987) and Farewell, My Concubine (1992) made by the so-called Fifth Generation of film directors (born after 1949, when the People’s Republic was founded). Class conducted in English. No knowledge of Chinese required.
FIST 354: History of Russian and Soviet FilmThis course will introduce the student to the rich and varied tradition of Russian and Soviet cinema from the Pre-Revolutionary period to the present. Works by major filmmakers will be viewed and discussed in the context of the culture, economy, society, and politics of the time. Taught in English.
FIST 357: Film in Germany (In English)This course selects from 90 years of filmmaking in Germany. Films range from expressionism to Nazi propaganda and from escapist comedies to avant garde art. Learning to “read” German films critically also means finding out how to understand movies from Hollywood and beyond. Possible topics include “From Caligari to Hitler,” “German Literature as Film,” and “What Makes Lola Run.” Taught in English. German majors and minors may participate in a two-unit tutorial in which discussions and some course readings will be in German.
FIST 360: Chinese Contemporary Film in EnglishUsing feature films and documentaries from the so-called Fifth [1982-] and Sixth Generations [beginning in the 1990s] of film directors in China, this course provides a visual record of the immense political, economic, and social changes in China since the Reform and Opening up period at the end of the Cultural Revolution. Taught in English.
FIST 362: Vampires, Monsters, and Man-EatersThis course examines the borders of the human through the figures of the vampire, monster, and femme fatale in literature, film, and the visual arts. Featured in the works of canonized authors as well as within popular culture, “monstrousness” can provide valuable insights into numerous aspects of German history and psychosexual relations. Possible texts include the early vampire film Nosferatu, Wedekind’s Lulu tragedies, Patrick Süskind’s Das Parfüm, and paintings by H.R. Giger.
FIST 370: Avant-DocAn exploration of personal, experimental, and emerging approaches to documentary filmmaking through video projects, readings, screenings, lecture, discussion, and critique. This course examines both contemporary practice and historical intersections among filmmaking traditions, with a focus on engaging with critical dialogues and diverse ways of articulating relationships between maker, subject, and audience.
FIST 371: Documentary FormsThis course presents a broad overview of contemporary and historical documentary filmmaking practice through readings, screenings, discussion, and short video projects. Students will engage with critical dialogues and explore several distinct approaches to documentary production, including rhetorical, observational, participatory, and reflexive forms, culminating in a completed short documentary.
FIST 380: Artisanal AnimationThis course explores the history and contemporary practice of artisanal and experimental animation through hands-on workshops, film and video animation projects, readings, screenings, discussion, and critique. Topics include significant artists and movements, fundamental animation principles, optical toys, direct 16mm animation, rotoscoping, sound design for animation, 2D computer animation using Photoshop, and several stop-motion techniues using animation stands and Dragonframe software. Not open to students who have earned credit for the FIST 318 topic Artisanal Animation.
FIST 391: Directed Study in Film StudiesDirected study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
FIST 399: Independent Study in Film Studies
FIST 400: Reel Men: Masculinity in American Film, 1945-2000At the upper level, the course will serve as a history seminar in preparation for the history department's capstone course. Those taking it at that level will be required to write at least one paper addressing film or gender theory and to write a 10-15 page research prospectus. Not open to students who have previously received credit for HIST 300.
FIST 402: Film Theory and CriticismWhat is the language of film? What is the relationship between spectator and screen? What is the role of film as mass and global phenomena? This course explores basic issues in film theory and criticism that may include auteur theory, genre criticism, apparatus theory, stardom, feminist and queer film theories.
FIST 411: Fascism and FilmThis course in French must be taken in conjunction with GER 411, taught in English. It will expand on the films made in France by Continental under the Nazi Occupation, 1940-1944. Concurrent registration in GER 411 is required.
FIST 418: Topics in Film StudiesTopics in Film Studies allows for an in depth examination of topics across time, for example, the work of women directors, or it permits a detailed analysis of special topics, for example, Turkish-German or Central European film.
Topic for Winter 2021: Asian American Film, Video and New Media
John Chu's 2018 film Crazy Rich Asians was widely seen as heralding a new era in Asian American representation but this ignored the fact that Asian Americans have been present in Hollywood as actors and filmmakers since Hollywood's inception. This class will explore the history of Asian American representation in visual media and the impact of the persistent presence of Asian Americans on visual culture's aesthetics and ideology. It will give special consideration to the importance of Asian American creators in the rise of new media cultural forms such as youtube, tik tok and instagram influencers.