Admission & Financial Aid

Admission & Financial Aid


Amherst College Courses

Amherst College Courses


Film and Media Studies

Faculty: Professor Hastie (Chair); Associate Professor Rangan*; Assistant Professors Guilford* and Levine; Visiting Five College Senior Lecturer Mellis*; Visiting Professor Sanders; Visiting Lecturer Montague.

Contributing Faculty: Professors Brenneis, Couvares‡, Drabinski ‡, Engelhardt*, Gewertz, Kimball, Lembo†, Parham*, Rogowski† , Sarat, Schroeder Rodriguez*, Van Compernolle, and Woodson; Associate Professors, Gilpin‡, Kunichika, Robinson, Shandilya, and Wolfson*.

The Film and Media Studies Program situates the study and practice of the moving image in its aesthetic, technical, and socio-cultural dimensions within a wider history of media. The program integrates formal, historical and theoretical analysis with various forms of creative and production experience in its required core courses. In courses in Critical Studies and Production, we explore the practice of constructing moving images through considerations of narrative, non-narrative and experimental structures, camera motion, editing techniques, music and sound design, mise-en-scène, and digital technologies. The dual emphasis on critical and creative practices allow the historical, theoretical, compositional, and aesthetic issues to illuminate each other and thus to allow students to engage with both the depth and breadth of media production and analysis. The program interfaces with a variety of disciplines across the Liberal Arts spectrum, such as philosophy, social and literary theory, area studies, language study, visual culture, theater and dance, anthropology, computer science, and gender studies.

Major Program. The Film and Media Studies (FAMS) major requires four core courses, a minimum of five additional courses (FAMS electives) that reflect each student’s individual academic and creative interests, and a Capstone project. The FAMS major is framed by three foundations courses: Foundations in Critical Media Studies (e.g. "Coming to Terms: Cinema", "Coming to Terms: Media", "Knowing Cinema", and "Knowing Television"), Foundations in Production (a 200-level production course), and a 400-level course in Foundations in Integrated Media Practices. Foundations courses in Critical Media Studies and Production will serve as the prerequisites for the Foundations in Integrated Media Practices, which FAMS majors should ideally complete by the end of their junior year. Majors will also be required to take at least one 400-level FAMS course in their junior or senior year. In addition, students will take at least five other courses as electives. The FAMS program grants wide scope to students for creating an individualized program of study in consultation with their advisor in the major. For the Capstone Requirement, students will either produce a two-semester thesis or will complete a comprehensive exam in the Fall semester of their senior year and will take at least one additional 400-level FAMS course.

* On leave 2020-21. †On leave fall semester 2020-21. ‡On leave spring semester 2020-21.

110 Film and Writing

(See ENGL 180)

210 Coming to Terms: Cinema

(See ENGL 280)

212 Introduction to Film Studies: The History of American Cinema, 1895-1960

(See ENGL 287)

215 Knowing Television

(See ENGL 282)

216 Coming to Terms: Media

(See ENGL 284)

218 Introduction to Film Theory

(See ENGL 288)

221 Foundations in Video Production

(See ARHA 221)

227 Moving Pictures: The History of Silent Cinema

(See ENGL 289)

233 2020: Art Can Help

(See ARHA 233)

234 Television Narratives

(See ENGL 283)

238 Latin American Cinema

(See SPAN 330)

312 Soundscapes of the Connecticut River Valley

(See MUSI 238)

313 Television Detection

(See ENGL 380)

316 Performance

(See GERM 360)

317 Victorian Sensations, or, When Old Media Were New

(See ENGL 375)

321 Bollywood: A Cinema of Interruptions

(See ARHA 288)

322 South Asian Feminist Cinema

(See SWAG 469)

323 Weimar Cinema: The "Golden Age" of German Film

(See GERM 347)

324 New Latin American Documentary

(See SPAN 335)

325 Nazi Cinema

(See GERM 348)

328 Representation and Reality in Spanish Cinema

(See SPAN 315)

332 Sound Design

(See THDA 254)

335 Experiments in 16mm Film

(See ARHA 335)

336 Solo Performance: Movement, Text, Sound, Video 

(See THDA 355)

342 Performance In (and Out of) Place

(See THDA 252)

345 Performance Studio

(See THDA 353)

346 2020 Vision: Seeing the American Election (Advanced Photo and Video Projects)

(See ARHA 345)

351 Cinema and Everyday Life

(See ENGL 381)

352 Russia and the Representation of Race

(See RUSS 252)

353 A Decade Under the Influence: US Film of the 1970s

(See ENGL 373)

354 Sound Design Studio

(See THDA 354)

355 Disability Media

(See ENGL 376)

357 Sergei Eisenstein's Cinema and Thought

(See RUSS 245)

358 Spike Lee's Joints

(See BLST 230)

359 Andy Warhol, Filmmaker

(See ENGL 386)

370 Traumatic Events

(See GERM 363)

375 Jazz Film: Improvisation, Narrativity, and Representation

(See MUSI 225)

377 Women, Gender and Popular Culture

(See SWAG 105)

379 Black Feminist Literary Traditions

(See SWAG 208)

383 The Documentary Impulse

(See ENGL 377)

410 Integrated Practices: Social Issues and the Interview

(See ARHA 235)

423 The Film Essay

(See ENGL 480)

424 “It was the ’70s”: US Film, History, and the Cultural Imagination

(See ENGL 484)

430 Ozu Crossing Borders

(See ASLC 430)

437 A Media History of Anime

(See ASLC 437)

438 The City in Literature and Early Film

(See ENGL 485)

441 Documentary Production

(See ARHA 441)

443 Fictional Narrative Video Production

(See ARHA 330)

444 Films That Try: Essay Film Production

(See ARHA 444)

445 Advanced Projects in Video Production

(See ARHA 445)

455 The Confession: Theory and Practice

(See ENGL 477)

471 Deep Time: Memory, Media, and Ecological Imagination in the Americas

(See ENGL 475)

479 Problems in Documentary

(See ENGL 479)

481 Conversations with Experimental Filmmakers

(See ENGL 481)

490 Special Topics

Independent reading course.

Fall and spring semester. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

498, 499 Senior Honors

Admission with consent of the instructor. Spring semester. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

Non-Language Departmental Courses

320 Japan on Screen

(See ASLC 234)