Skip to main content

FMST Spring 2016 Course Offerings

FMST 05: Special Effects And Media Spectacle

Tuesday/Thursday 9:55-11:20am (class meeting)
Tuesday 7-10pm (screening)

Focusing on the history and theory of spectacular media culture with an emphasis on visual effects and other forms of behind-the-scenes industrial knowledge, this first-year seminar introduces students to the basics of studying and writing about spectacle in film, television, and video games, exploring questions such as the relationship between style and technology; formal and narrative principles of “showstoppers” such as musical numbers and fight scenes; and issues of realism and illusion, visual pleasure, sensory immersion, capitalism, cultural worth, and ideology. Required weekly screenings.

Instructor: Prof. Rehak (1 credit)

FMST 20: Critical Theories Of Film and Media

Tuesday/Thursday 9:55-11:10am (class meeting)
Tuesday 7-10pm (screening)

This class links important currents of 20th-century thought—including psychoanalysis, Marxist cultural studies, semiotics and structuralism, poststructuralism, feminist and queer theory, postcolonial and critical race studies, postmodernism, cognitivism—with film and media theories and texts. We address debates important to the history of classical and contemporary film theory such as medium specificity, authorship, realism, the primacy of narrative, and film’s relationship to thought. The course roots students’ work in film and media studies within knowledge of influential theories and methods and elucidates concepts in critical theory though film and media texts and practices.

Instructor: Prof. White (1 credit)

FMST 21: American Narrative Cinema

Tuesday/Thursday 1:15-2:30pm (class meeting)
Wednesday 7-10pm (screening)

This course surveys U.S. narrative film history from the 1910s to the 2010s with an emphasis on the Hollywood studio era. We consider how genres such as the western, the melodrama, and film noir express aspirations and anxieties about race, gender, class and ethnicity in the United States. Film is understood as narrative form, audiovisual medium, industrial product, and social practice. Classical Hollywood is approached as a national cinema, illuminated by attention to independent narrative traditions (“race movies,” New Queer Cinema). Required weekly evening screenings.

Instructor: Prof. White (1 credit)

FMST 38: RealiTV

Monday 6-9pm (class meeting)
Sunday 7-9pm (screening)

This advanced Television Studies course explores the history and practices of the television medium in its connections to concepts and theories of realism. We will:

• Investigate reality modes in early anthropological films and documentary fiction hybrids (People on Sunday, Nanook of the North)
• Read John Searle, Andre Bazin, Siegfried Kracauer, Sergei Eisenstein and others • Consider the impact of neo-realist schools of filmmaking (Italian, French and German) on the first “reality” series on U.S. television – An American Family (PBS, 1973) • Examine the live-studio audience aspect of talk and game shows, the rise of The Real World, the longevity of Survivor and Big Brother
• Think about global television formats and how reality shows interact with social media and socio-political practice (e.g. American Idol)
• Blog on one foundational and one current reality show each week, write one analytical paper and give a 20-minute class presentation based on critical readings and the history and realism conventions of one series.

Prerequisties: FMST 01, FMST 25, or FMST 54
Instructor: Prof. Simon (1 credit)

FMST 42: Fan Culture

Monday 1:15-4pm (class meeting)
Monday 7-10pm (screening)

Explores the history, philosophy, and impact of fandom in film, television, and new media. Drawing on methodologies including reception and audience studies, feminism, performance, cultural studies, ethnography, and convergence theory, we will consider topics such as the evolution of celebrity and cult status; the creation and sharing of fan fiction and vids; gendered, queer, and cis identities in fan culture; relationships between fandom and industry; and fans’ use of digital social media. Required weekly screenings include serial and episodic TV, camp and “trash” cinema, narrative and documentary films, and fan-generated content.

Eligible for GSST credit if all papers and projects are focused on GSST topics.
Instructor: Prof. Rehak (1 credit)

FMST 90: Transmedia Adaptations (Capstone)

Friday 2:15-5pm (class meeting)
Thursday 7-9pm (screening)

If it is true that “adaptations as repetitions without replication” (Hutcheon 2006) are culturally specific interpretations of popular stories, then this capstone course will explore theories and practices of adaptation and remediation in and across film, television, videogames, event tourism, and online environments. Working with leading critics like Linda Hutcheon, G.P. Landow, Jay Bolter, Henry Jenkins, Jill Rettberg, Elizabeth Evans, Katherine Hayles, Brian McFarlane, Robert Stam, Alessandra Raengo, and practitioners such as Frank Darabont and Robert Kirkman, Robin Veith, Veena Sud, Bill Condon, the Coen Brothers and Joss Whedon, we will investigate case studies driven largely by student interests and research foci. In order to ground our discussions, each screening will be devoted to viewing films, television shows, or online video projects that engage in this kind of adaptation. Students themselves will work in pairs on a specific transmedia project.

The course has an optional production component for modules and/or the final project and will culminate in an installation/exhibit/poster session.

For FMST Majors and Minors only.
Instructor: Prof. Simon (1 credit)