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Amherst College Courses

Amherst College Courses

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Film and Media Studies

Faculty: Professors Hastie and Van Compernolle; Associate Professor Rangan (Chair); Assistant Professors Guilford and Levine*.

Visiting Faculty: Professors Sanders and Assistant Professor Drummer.

Contributing Faculty: Professors Brenneis, Couvares, Drabinski, Engelhardt, Gewertz, Kimball, Lembo, Parham, Rogowski, Sarat, Schroeder Rodriguez, 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 four additional courses (FAMS electives) that reflect each student’s individual academic and creative interests, one-two 400-level seminars (see below) and a Capstone project. The FAMS program grants wide scope to students for creating an individualized program of study in consultation with their advisor in the major, but it is anchored by two foundations courses in Critical Media Studies (e.g. "Coming to Terms: Cinema," "Coming to Terms: Media," "Knowing Cinema," and "Knowing Television"), one foundations course in Production (a 200-level production course), and one 410-level course 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 four other courses as electives. For the Capstone Requirement, students will either produce a two-semester thesis or will take at least one additional 400-level FAMS course, and all seniors will complete a comprehensive exam in the form of a symposium in the Spring semester of their senior year.

*On leave 2022-23. 

110 Film and Writing

(See ENGL 180)

182 Constructing Childhood: From Page to Screen

(See ENGL 182)

210 Coming to Terms: Cinema

(See ENGL 280)

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

(See ENGL 287)

216 Coming to Terms: Media

(See ENGL 284)

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)

251 Representing Reality

(See ENGL 251)

308 Writing Together: Film and Feminist Collectivity

2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

312 Soundscapes of the Connecticut River Valley

(See MUSI 238)

313 Still/Moving: The Documentary Project

(See ARHA 313)

316 Performance

(See GERM 360)

317 Victorian Sensations, or, When Old Media Were New

(See ENGL 375)

320 Japan on Screen

(See ASLC 234)

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)

327 Fascism, War, and Freedom: Spain and Japan On Screen

(See ASLC 327)

328 Representation and Reality in Spanish Cinema

(See SPAN 315)

330 Fictional Narrative Video Production

(See ARHA 330)

332 Impulse/Imagination/Invention: Experiments Across Media

(See THDA 254)

334 Listening to Podcasts

(See ENGL 260)

335 Experiments in 16mm Film

(See ARHA 335)

337 Movie Censorship in American History

(See AMST 337)

338 Latin American Cinema

(See SPAN 330)

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

(See ARHA 345)

360 Intimate Film Cultures

(See ENGL 383)

369 Cinematic Worlds

(See ENGL 369)

370 Traumatic Events

(See GERM 363)

374 Gothic/Horror: Literature, Film, Television

(See ENGL 374)

375 Jazz Film: Improvisation, Narrativity, and Representation

(See MUSI 225)

380 SPACE

(See GERM 368)

382 After COPS: Police, Media, and Prison Abolition

(See ENGL 378)

388 Screenwriting

(See ENGL 388)

410 Integrated Practices: Social Issues and the Interview

(See ARHA 235)

411 The Film Essay

(See ENGL 480)

412 Films That Try: Essay Film Production

(See ARHA 444)

415 Disability, Media, and the Art of Access

(See ENGL 488)

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

(See ENGL 484)

425 Postwar American Cinema, 1945-1960

(See ENGL 487)

430 Ozu Crossing Borders

(See ASLC 430)

431 Fashion / Media / Modernity

(See ENGL 475)

432 Filming the Non-Actor (Advanced Workshop)

(See ARHA 413)

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)

445 Advanced Projects in Video Production

(See ARHA 445)

455 The Confession: Theory and Practice

(See ENGL 477)

462 Curating Film and Video

(See ENGL 462)

470 Melodrama and Film Noir

(See ENGL 489)

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, Spring 2024, Fall 2024

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 2024