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Film Studies Minor

Department of Literature and Language


SUMMER SESSION I (06/04/18-07/06/18)

ENGL 3290 | Introduction to Film Studies | Briggs

Prerequisite(s): ENGL 1020 or equivalent. “As good a way as any towards understanding what a film is trying to say to us is to know how it is saying it” (André Bazin). This course serves as an introduction to the study of film in the way Bazin describes. The course provides students with a basic set of tools for analyzing film. For this purpose, we will break down the complex processes of filmmaking in order to understand the many different aspects that determine the meaning of a finished shot, scene, or film.  We will look at the basic components of film style – from mise-en-scène through cinematography to editing and sound – and we will consider different principles of narration as well as the construction of non-narrative films. We will also familiarize ourselves with the basic terminology for film analysis, and we will explore the relation between film form and culture in selected case studies.

ENGL 4507 | Shakespeare and Film | Sawyer

Prerequisite(s):  ENGL 1010 and 1020 or equivalents.  By looking at Shakespearean films as exciting, rich, and meaningful texts themselves, this class will consider cinematic Shakespeare as a contribution to the reinterpretation and appropriation of his works.  We will also discuss relevant issues as they arise (race, class, gender, sexuality).  The course will focus primarily on film adaptations that follow the texts closely, but it will also examine films that might incorporate Shakespeare in a more original manner.  The course will be taught online.

Required text:Shakespeare on Film: A Norton Guide. Samuel Crowl. W. W. Norton, 2008. (ISBN: 978-0-393-92765-8)

SUMMER SESSION II (7/9/18 – 8/10/18)

ENGL 4360 | Screenwriting | Baumgartner
Prerequisite(s): ENGL 1020 or equivalent. This course will give students a guided introduction to screenwriting. The screenwriter is often author, architect and inventor of a film, yet in American cinema the writer of a script rarely receives due credit. In this class we will discuss the difficult role of the screenwriter, paying particular attention to issues of process and technique that differentiate writing for the screen from other narrative forms. Students will be introduced to screenplay format and structure through reading assignments, in-class discussions, film analysis and writing exercises. Assignments include a film treatment, a synopsis, and various exercises on character/scene development. Students will have an opportunity to begin an original screenwriting project of their own. Students should come to each class prepared to write both critically and creatively, and to share their work with fellow students in a workshop setting.

Required texts:
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field, Revised edition, 2005 [ISBN: 978-0385339032]
American Beauty: The Shooting Script by Alan Ball [ISBN-13: 978-1557044044]
Inception: The Shooting Script by Christopher Nolan [ISBN-13: 978-1608870158]
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick [ISBN-13: 978-0345404473]
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy [ISBN-13: 978-0307387134]

FALL SESSION (08/27/18 - 12/07/18)

ENGL 3290 | Introduction to Film | Various Sections

“As good a way as any towards understanding what a film is trying to say to us is to know how it is saying it” (André Bazin). This course introduces core concepts of film analysis, which are discussed through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial œuvres. The coursework covers a wide range of styles and historical periods in order to assess the multitude of possible film techniques (camera techniques, editing, shot selection, etc.) and principles of narrative structuring. Along with questions of film technique and style, we consider the notion of the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Success in the course demands rigorous attention to both the films and the readings and requires students to watch, analyze, and write about film in new ways. Throughout the semester, students will learn different methods of viewing, analysis, exposition, and criticism and will have the opportunity to write extensively about the films seen in class.

Required text: The Film Experience: An Introduction (5th edition), Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White

ENGL 4290 | Film Genres | Wessels

This course will examine film genres through theory, history, and culture by working through some of the major genres: the western, the musical, melodrama, horror, science fiction, and film noir. For each, we will consider both theoretical lenses for genre more broadly, as well as the ways in which the genre works to respond to contemporary issues for different historical, social, and political contexts. Sample films to be screened include The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014), The Brother from Another Planet (John Sayles, 1984), Bride and Prejudice (Gurinder Chadha, 2004), and Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt, 2010).

ENGL 4340 | (Topics in Film) Archiving Appalachia: Media, Memory, Materiality | Wessels

The study of film history has increasingly demanded a focus on the relationships between local and global contexts of cinema. Studying the local history of cinema production and reception, as well as how images of a particular location develop meaning, is important to understanding how cinema works in broader national and international spheres of circulation. Through studying film on a local level, we can better understand both the origins of cinema in a particular place and the continued relevance of film history more broadly – as its beginnings reveal the ways in which films reflects and influences social, political, and cultural contexts. We will also consider how archives inform our understanding of media today, by looking at contemporary manifestations of the archive, such as YouTube, the uses of archival footage in fiction films and news, and the fake found footage film.

Much of the work that goes into this kind of research requires archival expertise – the ability to sift through newspapers, film collections, web-based archives, etc. This course will provide both a theoretical framework for archival research and practical experiences in engaging with archival materials.

ENGL 4507 | Cybernetic Screen Fictions | Holtmeier

This course will explore the convergence of twentieth-first century narrative and technology. We’ll look at the ways in which the novel has enlarged and redefined its territory of representation and its range of technique and play, while maintaining its viability in the new media ecology. Through theories of cybernetics, we’ll be analyzing the relationship between print texts and electronic media, including novels incorporating technology, films engaging the interface between human and machine, and digital storytelling.  We’ll engage in media-specific analysis, which attends to the specificity of form as well as to citations and imitations of one medium in another, and finish the course by producing critical or creative technotexts that engage with the interface between written work and screen technologies.

Required texts:
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Italo Calvino
Crash, J. G. Ballard
House of Leaves:  The Remastered Full-Color Edition, Mark Danielewski
Writing Machines, N. Katherine Hayles

ENGL 5507 | Cybernetic Screen Fictions | Holtmeier

See ENGL 4507


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