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The Film and Media Studies (FAMS) Program integrates critical study with hands-on practice in media making. FAMS is interdisciplinary in nature, and encourages strong working relationships with the local community and with wider media production communities beyond.

FAMS 101: Introduction to Film and Media Studies

This is a foundational course that introduces students to basic concepts, theories, and methods that are central to film and media studies. We will study some of the histories, genres of cinema, and formal techniques such as lighting, editing, and sound to develop a critical understanding of film as a dominant mode of representation. We will also study television and new media to gain a better understanding of the perspectives and practices of emerging technologies and forms of distribution. Through required weekly screenings, readings, writing, and regular discussion, we will analyze these various kinds of screen media as they influence our world.
Open to first and second-year students only

FAMS 201: Making Media I

This course introduces students to the creative and technical aspects of media production, and is designed to provide a basic understanding of framing, composition, audio, and storytelling through the use of sound and image. Students will learn the fundamentals of lighting, audio recording, and digital video cameras. We will also study aspects of pre-production and production through hands-on assignments, readings, screenings, discussion of assigned exercises, and in-class workshops with camera and lighting equipment. No prior production experience necessary.
Prerequisite: FAMS 101 or permission of instructor

FAMS 202: Making Media II

This hands-on production course is the second half of the media production sequence begun in FAMS 201. It builds on the fundamentals of lighting, sound, and camera. Students will further develop their digital filmmaking techniques as well as learn to edit in Final Cut Pro. They will work on individual and collaborative media assignments that will culminate in a public screening at the end of the semester.
Prerequisite: FAMS 201or permission of instructor

FAMS 240: Film Theory and Practice

This course combines the critical study of film as a complex art form with basic digital video production techniques. We will proceed from the assumption that hands-on filmmaking and scholarly work on the style, history, and theory of film inform and enrich each other—that serious work in either film analysis or film creation can deepen and extend what can be accomplished in the other. Students will adopt and employ useful cinematic vocabularies and approaches for studying cinematic texts, while learning basic camera, editing, and sound techniques for making their own short digital films. We will engage in individual as well as collaborative work, reading, writing about, and discussing films that we screen for the class, as well as producing and examining the short, collaborative films we make in the class. Critical and theoretical readings will complicate and broaden our notions of how cinema works and what cinema means, and throughout the course we will seek to integrate several crucial components: film screenings, theoretical readings, group discussions, writing (both blogging and traditional academic writing), technical instruction, and digital filmmaking.

FAMS/WGS 255: Women Make Movies/Movies Make Women

This non-production course examines the work of women filmmakers and how women have historically been constructed (and not constructed) in cinema. We will examine issues of gender, spectatorship, sexuality, race, representation, and authorship as they intersect with images of women such as savior, victim, femme fatale, mother, and artist.
Prerequisite: FAMS 101 or WGS 101

FAMS 260: Film Genres

This non-production film course is a tour through cinema via several influential genres or film types. Focusing on 3 or 4 important film genres, we will look closely at formal or stylistic elements, as well as the films’ cultural impact and role in cinematic history. How are genres established, stretched, or subverted? What political or social uses have certain genres served? And what new kinds of cinema emerge when genres combine? Among the possible genres studied are: Horror Films, Film Noir, the Western, the Musical, Screwball Comedies, Road Movies, and Gangster films.
Prerequisite: FAMS 101 or permission of instructor

FAMS 270: World Cinemas

In this class we will study various cinemas of the world and the cultural and historical contexts from which they emerge. Through required weekly screenings, complementary readings, case-studies, and guided discussion we will develop an understanding of the theoretical debates as they relate to concepts of “national,” “global,” and “third” cinemas, and explore different systems of production and distribution. We will look at how cinema across the world can be a means of expression, a form of entertainment, and an instrument for political change. Finally, we will examine the ways in which films reflect the cultures from which they emerge and how they, in turn, influence those cultures.

FAMS 340: Documentary Film

This course is an examination of documentary film—its form, history, style, and impact on cinema and culture. We begin with 19th century roots of the documentary and proceed to the recent democratization of digital documentary filmmaking. Among the topics covered will be early actualités, travelogues, propaganda, newsreels, cinéma-vérité, direct cinema, avant-garde, mockumentary, educational, experimental and political documentaries, and recent developments in digital documentary. Our overall goals are to become critically thoughtful of cinematic texts, to gain familiarity with significant documentary techniques, to acquire an understanding of the historical evolution of documentary film as an art form and social tool, and to learn something of the diverse state of documentary filmmaking today. Readings will aid students in the development of a practical understanding of how doc films work, and present a range of critical and theoretical approaches to film study. Essential to this collaborative process will be learning to use video cameras and Final Cut Pro digital editing software, as well as practicing filmmaking techniques along the way to the construction of an original documentary film. The last activity of the semester will be a student doc film festival.

FAMS 345: Philosophy of Film

An examination of philosophical questions on the nature, interpretation, and evaluation of film. Topics may include: the distinctive nature of the moving image compared to other forms of representation; the issue of whether film is an art form; film authorship; the essence of film narrative; the role of the imagination in understanding and appreciating film; identification and emotional engagement with characters; film and morality; film and knowledge.
Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or permission of instructor

FAMS in London: London Through Film

This course uses cinema as a vehicle for exploring and understanding London as a global city. Students will study how London has been fashioned by and inspired filmmakers, and how film has been integral to London’s transformation into one of the world’s most international of cities. Beginning with the uses of film during wartime London, we will study London as a city of migrations, one where physicality and visual culture determine meaning in a post-colonial world. Students will themselves use digital video to construct their own versions of/responses to London as they learn the geography and diverse cultures of the city. We will take advantage of Goldsmiths College’s Filmmaking and Screen Studies programs, work in the media archives of the Imperial War Museum, visit important nearby film locations, and attend several of the city’s international film festivals. Email Andy Smith smitham@lafayette.edu for information, or visit http://studyabroad.lafayette.edu/programs/london-fall-2011/

A&S 238: Gender and Popular Culture

This course examines the intersection of gender and popular culture from an anthropological point of view. We consider how popular culture-comics, films, TV programs, performances, etc.-challenge or substantiate gendered norms in various cultural contexts. Given that daily lives in any culture are awash in popular culture, we focus on pop culture to ask how differences and power are socially constructed, and what effect these constructions have on gendered identities.
Prerequisite: A&S 102 or A&S 103 or permission instructor

A&S 255: Contemporary Society and the Cinema

This course examines the place of movies in shaping and changing popular culture in contemporary societies. Between two and four movies will be seen and discussed each week. These include American- and British-made films, as well as films made in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan. The purpose of the course is to expose students to a variety of cultural responses to similar genre, and to see how one culture influences the cinematic traditions of another culture.
Prerequisite: A&S 102 or 103 or permission of instructor

Offered: Interim Session


AFS 258: Engendering “Black” Popular Culture

This course will examine the role of the media in enabling, facilitating or challenging the social constructions of “Blackness.” Paying particular attention to images of race, culture, and gender, this course will examine historical and contemporary representations of women and men of African descent (Continental African/Diasporan African/African American) in the various mediums that serve to construct what is known as “popular culture” (television, cinema, advertising, music, fashion, etc). Since media is one of the US’ largest exports, we will further investigate the various ways in which “Blackness,” as constructed in a US context, affects the perception of “Blackness” in transnational contexts.

AFS: 260: Politics of Hip Hop Culture

This course traces the cultural and political history of Hip-Hop and the impact it has had on Black culture and identity in particular, and North American society and global popular culture industries in general. Through readings, films, music, videos, and discussions, we will explore the dynamics of Hip-Hop culture, surveying its historical development, political significance, and social influence. We will use this in-depth socio-political/ historical examination as the foundation from which we explore and critically analyze the current state of global Hip Hop.

AMS 362: Photography in American Culture

Topics for this in-depth interdisciplinary seminar change by semester. Majors are strongly encouraged to take more than one seminar during their course of study. Multiple AMS 362 topics courses count as electives in the student’s course of study to complete the major, and are the best and most intensive method of preparation for the Senior capstone experience, AMS 363. Recent seminar topics have included “Photography and Memory in American Culture,” “The American Indian in American Culture,” “Designs for Living: Environmentalism, Counterculture, and Utopias,” “The 1920’s,” “Nature in American Culture,” “American Censored,” “America, a Hydraulic Society,” and “The Beat Generation in American Culture.”

Art 150: Video Art I

This is a digital media course designed for those with little or no experience in time-based media art practices. Students explore how conceptual art, performance art, sound, animation, video, and computer technology can be a basis for art making. Upon completion of the course, a student can expect to have a thorough understanding of video and sound editing, familiarity with conceptual art practices, and competency with digital video cameras.

ART 155: Digital Photography I

Creative expression, explorations of content, and articulation of ideas will be emphasized. The course comprises technical lectures, laboratory demonstrations, slide lectures of historic and contemporary photography, and critiques of student work. Upon completion of the course, a student can expect to have a thorough understanding of the basics of digital photography—proper and consistent image exposure, basic Photoshop skills, and competency with scanning and digital printing.

ART 196: Basic Photography (Black and White)

This course introduces students to the techniques of film exposure, developing, contact printing, and proofing. In addition, the course exposes students to the aesthetics of black and white photography, presentation of work, and a brief history of the subject. Students should have their own cameras. Limited to 12 students.

ART 255: Digital Photography II

In this intermediate course, students will refine both their aesthetic and technical digital photography skills. Studio assignments are designed to develop students’ individual styles, and help them contextualize photography in terms of its history, its relationship to other art mediums, and its cultural implications. In addition to studio assignments and group critiques, there will also be slide lectures, technical demonstrations, reading, and writing assignments.
Prerequisite: ART 155 or permission of instructor

ART 292: Visual Communication Through Technology

This is an intermediate design course intended to familiarize students with the basic visualization tools available through computer technology. In the course, students research a project, develop concepts to visualize the ideas set forth by the project, and apply the skills learned to make those ideas visible.
Prerequisite: Art 190, 191

CL 142: Masterworks of German Literature and Film

In this course, important themes, styles, and cultural issues are examined within the context of German literature and film. Selected readings cover the major periods of literary history, and the film versions of these texts represent all stages of film history, with works from the 1920s and 1930s to the present. Since all readings are available in translation and all films have English sub-titles, knowledge of German is not required.

CL 301: French Cinema in English

French cinematographers and their works have often stood in contrast to large-scale, epic Hollywood productions. This is not to say that the two traditions are totally distinct: cross-fertilization has occurred in both directions. The French have produced a number of cinematographic masterpieces and many of their most successful films have been recast for an American audience. In this course, we will examine five distinct genres: 1) the French New Wave with films by Truffaut (The Last Metro), Rohmer (Claire’s Knee), Godard (Breathless), and Lelouch (A Man and a Woman); 2) the French Film Noir with films by Chabrol (The Butcher), Clouzot (Les Diaboliques), and Malle (Elevator to the Gallows); 3) the Historical Epic with films by Rappeneau (Cyrano), Chereau (Queen Margot), Vigne (The Return of Martin Guerre); 4) Comedies with films by Veber (The Dinner Game), Serreau (Three Men and a Baby), and Jeunet (Amelie); and, 5) Political Films with films by Renoir (La Grande Illusion), Malle (Au Revoir les Enfants), and Resnais (Hiroshima Mon Amour).
Offered: Summer

ENG 116: Film and Literature

Through a comparative study of films based on highly regarded plays and novels, as well as a number of autonomous films, the course seeks to define both the affinities and the distinctive capacities of the two art forms.

ENG 140: Introduction to Film

This is an introductory course designed to help students develop useful analytical skills for the study of film. Our goals are to gain familiarity with cinematic techniques and to acquire an understanding of the historical evolution of film. We will learn to employ the technical vocabulary of film studies, and we will view films representing a variety of styles, genres, periods, and filmmakers.

ENG 214: New Media

New Media considers a range of texts that have emerged recently in various media: television, digital platforms, and the internet. It may also include mixed media or interdisciplinary forms. Topics might include the graphic novel, virtual environments, electronic writing or video games. The specific topic for this course will be announced at registration.

ENG 240: Film Theory and Practice

This is an intermediate course in film studies, designed to give students an understanding of the complex art of international cinema. We will screen, analyze, discuss, and write about film, as well as read primary source documents in the theory of film. We will extend our knowledge of various concepts such as cinematography, sound, editing, and mise-en-scène by combining critical study with creative practice. Students will learn the basics of digital film editing and produce short films.
Prerequisite: ENG 140

ENG 251: Screenwriting

This course introduces students to the basic elements of screenwriting: developing characters, writing dialogue, plotting scenes, and structuring narrative. Writing assignments build from initial treatments to individual scenes and story outlines with emphasis on drafting and revision. By viewing films, reading screenplays, and critiquing the work of peers, students learn about the role of the screenwriter in the collaborative process of filmmaking, and work towards a final portfolio that will include a polished script of their own. Permission of instructor required.
Prerequisite: ENG 110

ENG 340: Topics in Film

A focused investigation of film topics. This course allows students to shape and articulate critical interpretations of the form, history, style, ideology, rhetorical power, and artistry of cinema. Topics may include: documentary film, independent film, film theory, national cinemas, Hollywood genres, and race, class, and gender on film.
Prerequisite: English 205, and a literary history course (English 206210, 211, 212, or 213) or permission of the instructor

GER 311:  Contemporary Society in German-Speaking Countries as reflected in the Media

This course studies texts from newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, and critically views newsreels and video documentaries. The focus will be on contemporary issues and sociopolitical developments in Germany and German-speaking countries. Emphasis on everyday conversational and idiomatic German.
Prerequisite: German (101-102111-112, and either 211 or 225) or advanced placement credit

GER 431: Literature and Film as a Mirror of Socio-Historical Issues in the Contemporary German-Speaking World

This course analyzes literature after 1945, first and foremost the short story as a reflection of the forces of social change in Germany and other German-speaking countries. Emphasis is on the relationship of artistic expression and history, social issues, political conviction, and personal experience. Focus is on techniques for interpretation of literature.
Prerequisite: German (101-102111-112, and either 211 or 225) or advanced placement credit

MUS 274: Film Music

Possible topics include the historical development and literature of opera, the symphony, chamber music, vocal and choral music, music for keyboard instruments, etc. These courses typically investigate the master works in a genre, the lives and contributions of composers in several areas, and the social, technological, and musical factors that have affected the development of that genre. Classes involve student presentations, field trips, and live and videotaped performances as well as sound recordings. Descriptions of current offerings are available through the department office and the Registrar’s Office. Lecture/laboratory.
Prerequisite: Music 101 or 102 and other courses as appropriate to the topic

MUS 362: War & Peace—Music of the 1960s

This course examines the social and political contexts for popular music in the 1960s. Students will explore the cultural conditions that supported music in the US in centers such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Through an examination of primary and secondary sources, as well as in-class video viewing, class participants will gain knowledge of how music of a countercultural generation was representative of an emerging social consciousness, as well as how it was used as social protest.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor required

PHIL 345: Philosophy of Film

An examination of philosophical questions on the nature, interpretation, and evaluation of film. Topics may include: the distinctive nature of the moving image compared to other forms of representation; the issue of whether film is an art form; film authorship; the essence of film narrative; the role of the imagination in understanding and appreciating film; identification and emotional engagement with characters; film and morality; film and knowledge.
Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or permission of instructor

SPAN 314: Contemporary Spanish America and Hispanics in the U.S.

An interdisciplinary study of current cultural and political trends in Spanish America with emphasis on national and continental identities, political responses to development, the vitality of popular culture and the arts, and the growing importance of Hispanics in the United States. Laboratory assignments.

SPAN 428: Seminar in Modern Spanish American Literature and Culture

An in-depth study of a literary theme, genre, author, or movement in the cultural context of Spanish America during the late 19th century through the present day. Topics include Short Story and the Fantastic, Fictions of History in Contemporary Novel, and From Popular Culture to Narrative Fiction. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Class/laboratory.
Prerequisite: Spanish 304314 or 318, equivalent proficiency or permission of the instructor

Theater 123: Plays and Performance

Although plays are intended to be SEEN and HEARD, most of us are introduced to theater art by READING texts. “Plays in Performance” begins with the script, focusing on active reading, interpretation, and cultural contexts to suggest ways in which these scripts can be realized. By viewing video and live performances of the same scripts, we can further explore how directorial concepts, acting styles, generic conventions, and audience reception/response affect the constantly changing performances. We will read and view an assortment of plays from various periods of theater history, from Greek tragedy to the 21st century.