As our national and international cultures become increasingly dominated by visual culture, we acknowledge the need to study those forms, which provide our chief sources of entertainment and information. This need speaks to our desire to become critical viewers, knowledgeable in the history of the most popular art forms of our century and possessing the analytical skills to understand and interpret visual forms of expression.
The undergraduate major in film and media studies requires the rigorous study of history and aesthetics in an attempt to understand the creative force of an individual artwork, its relation to other artistic production, and its place in culture. Furthermore, because film and media creations are most often produced within an industrial context, the student of film and media must also study industrial and business practices.
Complementing the critical studies curriculum, courses in production will provide an intimate understanding of the kinds of choices that film and media artists confront, further refining students’ abilities to view critically. In order to explore the film and media artist’s tools analytically, students in film and media studies need to gain the same kind of insider’s understanding of the tools of the trade that literature students learn by writing. Courses in production will not aim to provide students with professional instruction in film and media. It is not the purpose of this program to train students for professional work.
Students, who gain skills in writing and analysis, as they should in any rigorous course of study in the humanities, can work in many professions, such as journalism and publishing, business, law, medicine, social work, and teaching. Film and media majors who seek careers in the entertainment and information industries will certainly gain an intellectual perspective on these forms that should enhance their professional lives. But this major will also benefit any student looking at other possible professions because it shares the aim of a liberal arts curriculum to train students in rigorous analytical thinking and provide them with historical knowledge.
Although Film and Media Studies administrates its own curriculum, many of its courses are cross-listed with American Culture Studies, Art History, Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies, English, Germanic Languages and Literatures, History, Performing Arts and Women and Gender Studies.