Film Studies Competencies

Our Film Courses

Students take our film courses as part of building professional expertise in the film industry (for film MDST's, minors, and concentrations) as well as enjoying a life-long passion for film. Both students interested in film as a career and those who just like film enjoy the wide variety of perspectives available in our film offerings.

English 240: Intro to Film

Students who complete Intro to Film should be able to

  • use accurate film studies vocabulary proficiently;
  • do a shot and sequence-analysis;
  • identify all aspects of film production and distribution;/li>
  • analyze the impact of decisions involving cinematography, mise-en-scène, and direction;
  • generate critical observations and insights about a variety of films and theoretical perspectives by developing a repertoire of critical questions about and approaches to film;
  • explain the basics of major theoretical movements and approaches to film texts, including auteur theory, cultural studies, and race/class/gender approaches;illustrate their applicability, and assess their strengths and weaknesses;
  • use these approaches when analyzing films;
  • summarize the arguments for and against the notion of film authorship,
  • talk knowledgeably about the work of one director, and
  • create a video assignment.

ENGL 347: Ethnicity in Film

This course is designed to enhance your understanding of the relationships between the Black American experience and American film. Films by, about and featuring Black Americans have played a central role in the development of America as a democratic nation founded on the principles of freedom and inalienable human rights. The course surveys Black American Films produced (largely) in the 20th century, but the films that form the core “texts” of this course cover a wide range of historical, regional, and cultural issues. The course will critically engage representations of African Americans in film, especially as these representations re-inscribe, challenge or revise historically racist representations of Black people in America. Specifically, the course will ask you to:
  • Recognize various genres of film and understand how/if/when genre impacts the narrative or other cinematic features of film.
  •  Identify historically racial contexts that inform films, directors and actors.
  •  Develop critical thinking skills relevant to film and film studies.
  •  Research issues surrounding a film and its time period.
  •  Respond and/or present in spoken and written form to the films and their effects.

English 481: History of Film

Students who complete History of Film should be able to

  • trace the historical development of the film industry within a broader socio-historical context, focusing on the technological, economic, scientific, political, and social forces that made an impact on it;
  • explain the content and significance of its major movements, connecting them to the rich intellectual twentieth-century traditions in art, theater, music, linguistics, literature, philosophy, and politics; and
  • assess the individual impact of influential films, directors, actors, inventors, cinematographers, and technical personnel,
  • author perceptive and well researched analyses of individual films and/or movements, using media to illustrate their points.

English 482: Film and American Society

Students who complete Film and American Society should be able to

  • discuss the role of the film industry in addressing social change and social problems;
  • explain the impact of the "media-industrial complex" on society;
  • demonstrate an active knowledge of films in several different American genres, including the problem film, the western, the black comedy, the screwball comedy, and the science fiction film;
  • trace, illustrate, and debate significant themes in American film;
  • discuss the contributions of several directors to the American film industry; and
  • author perceptive, thoughtful analyses of films.
  • conduct research and author analyses of film with strong support from critical texts and media sources;
  • create media to convey these analyses.

English 483: Politics and Media

Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • critically analyze both narrative and documentary films and other related visual media,
    • recognize and thoughtfully discuss the underlying philosophical, social, and political issues presented in film,
    • identify and discuss the political significance of narrative form,
    • apply foundational political aspects of film theory, including the theories of Eisenstein and Godard,
  • research and use historical knowledge of political events of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to analyze films,
  • discuss the artistic and philosophical reactions to these events,
  • identify and compare selected films, their genres, and the societies in which they were made,
  • discuss interdisciplinary connections,
  • define and present examples of the complex interrelationships between various media, ideologies, politics, and society,
  • discuss the impact their background and experiences (including media) have made on their viewpoints and perspectives as media consumers, as well as the ways others with differing backgrounds and experiences might view the same media.

English 484: Brave New Worlds--Exploring Technology through Film

Student who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • to recognize and thoughtfully explore the underlying philosophical or social issues presented in film;
  • discuss the technological changes implemented in the twentieth century and the human reactions to them, including
    • the relationships between technology, race, class, gender, and power;
    • the impact of technology on individuals' feelings of humanity, identity, and free will;
    • the reactions to the powers wielded by technology;
    • the threat of losing control of technology both to technology itself (the Frankenstein syndrome) or to more powerful others;
    • the struggle between technology and the "natural" and the problem of the simulacrum;
    • the impact of media and other technologies on human thought;
    • the political uses of the powers of technology; and
    • the idea of technological "progress."
  • relate major events in  the history of filmmaking;
  • discuss interdisciplinary connections;
  • critically "read" film and other related visual media;
  • analyze the complex interrelationships between film, technology, and society.