Fall Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor
This course examines the intersection of race, sports, and media in everyday U.S. popular culture (film, TV, advertising, social media, gaming) and political culture. We will analyze historic and contemporary debates at this intersection, with particular focus on African American representation and U.S. ideology regarding race, gender and sexuality, nation, celebrity and capital in the “mass” and streaming media eras. Attention to current debates (e.g., the “politics” of sports celebrity and activism; the concept of “colorblindness” and the “post-racial” in sports; the semiotics of race in sports’ commodification and marketing; raced and gendered discourses in sports and “fitness activism”; and broader debates regarding race, gender, self-expression, sexuality, and violence in sports will be contextualized and studied through scholarly theories of race and media representation and analyses that encourage us to think about U.S. media as sites of struggle over what constitutes citizenship, local and national identity, and what it has meant to “be American” in post-World War II U.S. culture. That is, we will investigate the ways in which debates or controversies at the intersection of “race/sport/media” have most often been struggles over what it means to be a “representative” American citizen. Required course work will involve extensive readings, active participation in class, a written essay and original research culminating in a seminar paper and its presentation.
Enrollment in this course is restricted to Campus Honors Program students.
An introduction to the analysis of sounds and images in film, this class fosters a critical awareness of how formal devices produce meaning and elicit the film spectator’s response. The course concentrates on film form and style, teaching students to attentively analyze cinema in relation to mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, sound, narrative, and meaning. Preparing students, especially FMS majors, for a deeper study of film, the course equips students with an analytical vocabulary for shot-by-shot and scene analysis. Film and Media Studies 85A is a prerequisite for the three-quarter film history sequence FMS 101A-B-C. In addition to being a requirement for the Film and Media Studies major, 85A-B-C also fulfills the General Education Arts and Humanities Requirement for non-Humanities majors.
This course surveys film movements, industries, and periods of national cinemas that have sought to redefine the dominant ideologies, modes of production, and aesthetics of cinema during the past half-century. As much as possible, course readings draw from manifestos for and critical writings contemporaneous with these historical film movements.
FMS 110 will be taught with a focus on the Crime Genre: we will be looking at the emergency of the genre from A Great Train Robbery, to gangster films, to Film Noir, to streaming content, we will explore the onscreen representation of guilt and innocence across narrative forms.
Video games are the quintessential media form of our times and our “ludic,” or playful, century. This course will examine old and new directions in video game theory and in the history of game studies. For example, we will examine the relationship of video games to the environment, to digital forms of labor, to emotions and feelings, and to contemporary politics. While a key component of this course concerns learning how to analyze and interpret games (like we would a film or television program), we will also broaden our cultural frameworks of analysis, examining how games and play are shaped by (and are shaping) larger political, social, and aesthetic contexts.
This class will focus on the work of writer-director Billy Wilder, from the noir thrillers Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd. to the slapstick comedy of Some Like It Hot, the biting satire of Ace in the Hotel, and the romantic plights of The Apartment. As with any auteurist class, we’ll explore Wilder’s biography, influences, and stylistic and thematic preoccupations. But we will also use his career as a means to explore large phenomenon of the Hollywood Studio System including its absorption of European immigrants, the workings of the system and its decline, film noir, the rise of independent production, and the breakdown of the Hays Code and censorship. Wilder was there for it all and his work and words will serve as our guide.
Students learn about "the world of the screenwriter" by reading and studying screenplays, and writing parts of them-including the beat outline, treatment and character biography. Assignments include reading, viewing and analyzing selected films; and writing papers that explore facets of the screenplay such as structure, character and theme. The final grade is based on participation/attendance, writing the set-up for an actual feature film and storyboarding a traditional 3-act screenplay. The prerequisite for this course is FLM&MDA 85A.
This course introduces the fundamentals of film production using digital video.  Assignments provide hands-on learning of the basic elements of filmmaking.  From cinematography, lighting, and sound, to writing a short script and editing with Adobe Premiere Pro, this class takes students through the production process, culminating in the completion a 3 to 5 minute short digital film.  Students enrolled in this class may use University owned equipment and are financially responsible for the University equipment on loan to them.  The prerequisite for this course is FLM&MDA 85A.
This course introduces the fundamentals of film production using digital video.  Assignments provide hands-on learning of the basic elements of filmmaking.  From cinematography, lighting, and sound, to writing a short script and editing with Adobe Premiere Pro, this class takes students through the production process, culminating in the completion a 3 to 5 minute short digital film.  Students enrolled in this class may use University owned equipment and are financially responsible for the University equipment on loan to them.  The prerequisite for this course is FLM&MDA 85A.
In this course, we will examine the histories, theories, and debates surrounding Black film production from the early 1970s to present day. We will begin our course with some key critical theories on the material history of race, power, and cinema. This will set the foundation to analyze how Black filmmakers and documentarians reproduce, negotiate, and resist the hegemonic conditions that exist in the Hollywood culture industry and in US society at large. The course will then introduce students to different genres and film movements led by Black cultural producers and use close visual analysis to explore their creative visions and reflections on the multiplicity of Black identity and experience in the US. Overall, the goals of the course are to broaden students’ knowledge of Black cinema history and to provide them with the tools to engage and create critical arguments about Black cinematic production.
FMS 139W: Camp TV and Queer Reception
The term “camp” has developed complex connotations in relation to contemporary media, often used in popular press both as a derogatory synonym for “unserious” and as an ill-defined superlative to elevate “subversive” queer-themed content. This course, however, will trace the evolutions of camp coding in American television through a variety of aesthetic, narrative, and ideological iterations, and will critically assess its valuation and affective significance for numerous lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) audiences. Through a diverse selection of exercises, students will grapple with the slippery nature of camp iconography, identification, and authorship via television studies methodological approaches including formal, press discourse, genre, production, and reception analyses. The writing intensive seminar will be centered around workshopping and revision processes, culminating with either an oral history about camp television’s queer influence or a primary-source based research paper on a camp-oriented text.
FMS 139 W - Fans and Fandoms
This course is designed to help upper-level undergraduates improve their writing skills. Students will work on humanistic academic writing, creative writing, and clear, effective writing for a general audience. As a theme to explore through our writing, we will focus on fans, fandoms, and fan studies. The course will look at the history, cultures, and production practices of media fans. Topics will include: contemporary online fandoms, fan fiction and fan art, issues of gender and sexuality in fandom, debates around intersectionality and race in fandom, fandoms surrounding popular television shows, video games, and other media forms, and more. We will engage with readings from the scholarly field of fan studies, as well as fan-made media and original "canonical" media. In addition, we will reflect on artistic and world-building fan practices with the creation of our own original fan fiction and fan zines.
This is a class for those who want to more deeply understand contemporary Korea through its fascinating popular culture products. The class will address the development of modern popular culture including literature, fashion, and games, but focusing on films, television, and music. We will track how the changes in technology and tastes of Korean people are linked to historical, social, and cultural shifts on the Korean peninsula. Although some classes may profile specific directors, actors, or musical artists this will be done to demonstrate key shifts in popular culture, and will relate their creative productions back to the context, Korea. At the end of the course students can expect to be familiar not just with a wide range of Korean cultural products but with how those products—across platforms—reveal the socio-cultural conditions of 21st century Korea. Students are not expected to be deeply familiar with Korean music, history, culture, or language. Class will use abundant film, drama, music and video clips, incorporate discussions based on academic articles and chapters, and require student analysis that connects popular culture to its context.
This class will examine the Black Mirror television series in relation to technological culture. We will watch different episodes each week, using them as a gateway to discuss a variety of topics related to digital media—artificial intelligence, digital companions, machine learning, surveillance, social media, online dating, virtual reality, interactive TV, gaming and more. We will read recent scholarship that illuminates the material that we encounter in each episode of Black Mirror while also focusing on theoretical texts that address technological dystopias in order to understand the relationship of the series to our contemporary world.
A historical and aesthetic survey of the styles, trends, and important figures in the development of narrative film music, from the invention of moving pictures to the present day. Students will develop analytic skills and learn about the diegetic and nondiegetic roles of music in cinema.
The course emphasizes critical listening and viewing skills and offers a film-music history survey that pivots on the introduction of sound, the introduction of stereo, and the introduction of digital sound. Each of these three technological advances alters the structural relationships among dialogue, music, and effects in cinema.
To be clear, this course will focus on film music, and not as much on sound design, effects, foley, editing, etc. But a background in reading music or performing music is not required. There will be homework assignments in addition to a midterm and a final. Expect to read quite a bit between meetings.
Perk up your ears: Audio Cultures examines how sound technologies have changed the ways we communicate, create, and consume culture. We will consider how have audiences have learned to listen to audio, how the ways audiences use and listen to technologies impact what they hear, how technologies have changed music and sound aesthetics, and how sound impacts the meanings of moving images.
This class focuses on the digital independent films that began to be robustly produced in the Philippine film industry in the mid-2000s.  The course aims to equip students with four sets of key concepts in the analysis of independent cinema:
1. The definitional debate over “independent cinema” and its relationship with the mainstream film industry in an era when the annual production of indie films often outnumber commercial mainstream productions;
2. The role of important domestic film festivals like Cinemalaya;
3. The implications of regional vernacular cinemas that challenge the dominance of Manila-centric Tagalog-language cinema;  and 4.  The intervention of political cinema in an activist, collective, or minoritarian vein within the broad swathe of Philippine independent cinema.
The screenings and readings foreground queer and women filmmakers, short films, activist perspectives, and linguistic diversity in the hopes of unsettling the commonsensical reduction of “indie” cinema to feature-length Tagalog fictional films produced in Manila and directed by straight male auteurs. Accordingly, the course introduces the rich thematic variety of this body of work: from horror cinema to queer, feminist, and diasporic articulations to notions of nationalism vis-a-vis regionalism and the classed, taste-stratified music subcultures of the Philippine social landscape. In exploring the productions and perspectives of women and queers and foregrounding shorts, documentaries, animation films, protest cinema, and regional filmmaking, the course attempts to center the minor in indie cinema. Alongside its relationship to mainstream filmmaking and audiences, then, pinoy indie cinema can also be considered in a minor key, where ‘minor’ refers to an inflection within or at the margins of dominant or established practices, whether cinematic, sexual, gendered, geographical, political, ethnic, or linguistic.
Sinophone Cinema is an introduction to Chinese language film and filmmaking from the 1980s onward. We will look at cinematic production across art cinema and popular genres. We will look at the history of Hong Kong, People's Republic and Taiwan film history and production.
Representing the Holocaust: The Limits of Representation in Literature, Film, and Theory
Since the end of World War II, historians, social scientists, and psychologists have researched origins and causes of the Holocaust. But their explanations have never been fully satisfactory. Can autobiographical reflections, fictional narratives, art, film and other mass media illuminate dimensions of the Shoah that have remained unanswered by historical, sociological, and psychological approaches? By examining survivors' testimonies, political, historical, and philosophical reflections, film and TV shows, fictional texts, and graphic novels from across Europe and the United States, this course asks what role art and literature have played in shaping our image of Auschwitz. How and why did the representations of the Holocaust change during the last seven decades in different national cultures? What aesthetic, political, and cultural limits and taboos have these representations transgressed or shied away from since the Second World War? What does it mean to be human after Auschwitz? How Americanized has  the Holocaust become today? Does the Shoah still shape our contemporary understanding of modernity?
How did our culture come to be dominated by a handful of media corporations? From the Hollywood movie studios to the record labels and television broadcasters, our cultural landscape over the last century has been largely determined by the interests of a few companies and organizations. In this class, we will trace the development of the media industries from the early 20th century to the present. Focusing particularly on the film and television industry, we will explore the evolution of Hollywood’s operations, including the systemization of production practices, the role of labor organization, the monopoly control over distribution and exhibition, and the moves toward globalization. While tracing this history, we will be exploring the field of media industry studies and becoming familiar with its primary arguments and scholars. This course will be useful to film and media studies students who are interested in writing about or working in the media industries in any form. Though we will focus our readings and discussions on film and television, students will be able to complete research projects in video games, music, comic books, publishing, and radio as well.
This course will survey the digital techniques, the graphic design, and the animation tools used in film title sequences. Ever since Edison hoped to attract good writers to the movie industry by displaying credits and thus demonstrating legal and economic claims to a work, titles have in themselves become a genre. Over the last four or five years, many major film festivals have paid attention to this work, from 1950s motion graphics to the latest digital effects.
Now that title sequences are produced by an independent industry serving the movie studios, how does main title design reflect on film studies? What does it have to teach about the transformation of cinema? To address these questions, the course will cover the history of the modern film title work spanning half a century of artistic achievement, including sequences by Saul Bass, Maurice Binder, Pablo Ferro, Kyle Cooper, Imaginary Forces, Picture Mill, and others, up to and including several tendencies in recent work.
This course is devoted to current topics in advanced film production. Topics addressed vary each quarter.    May be repeated for credit as topics vary.   
This quarter’s special topic is directing and producing the experimental narrative film. This course is organized to introduce topics in experiments in narrative cinema. We will consider narrative innovation in experimental film, found footage film, city symphony films, neorealism, the New Wave movements in Europe, third cinema, documentary, classical Hollywood film, and US independent cinema after Pulp Fiction.  This course introduces questions of Hollywood continuity, narrative structure, sound, subjectivity, point of view, media specificity, problems of realism and aesthetics, performance, and multiple-character narratives.   
As film and video are collaborative media, students form production groups and ultimately produce final 5-minute film projects. The prerequisites for this course are FLM&MDA 85A, and FLM&MDA 120A. You must create a film running a minimum of two minutes, which utilizes one, or more experimental film approaches as discussed in class. Approaches include but are not limited to, found footage, network narrative, documentary realism, etc.