Spring 2024

Introduction to Film Histories

Listed in: English, as ENGL-281  |  Film and Media Studies, as FAMS-211


Amelie E. Hastie (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 281 and FAMS 211) While film is a medium that has only been around for about 125 years, film has both a longer history than we realize and an extremely dense and rapid development in its century-plus existence. This course is designed to introduce students to historical research methods that take into account film’s aspects as an aesthetic, technological, and industrial form. Through both a widening and a narrowing of lens, we will consider how changes in production, distribution, and exhibition have affected the cultural impacts and experiences of film. Readings will be attentive to its technological development, its critical reception, and movie-going habits, and will also include case studies focused on particular filmmakers (directors, screenwriters, actors, and so on) and films. The topic of the course will rotate, but each iteration will offer a grounding in historical study as well as a particular era of focus. Students will produce regular reading summaries, textual analyses, and two research-driven essays. They will also work in groups to work with and develop archival databases on specific films.

The focus in Spring 2024 will be on US Film of the 1970s (with an emphasis on mainstream and independent fictional features, as well as long- and short-form documentaries). This is an era defined by transformation in production, distribution and exhibition, and it is also an era that is under-going a transformation in our own historical understanding.

Limited to 35 students. Spring semester. Professor Hastie.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to English and FAMS majors.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: textual and cultural analysis of films, emphasis on written work, original research, collaborative work as writers and editors.

ENGL 281 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM FAYE 113
Th 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM FAYE 113
Su 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM FAYE 115


Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017