Lafayette Film Courses


Courses at Lafayette University Film and Media Studies Fall 2017

FAMS 101: Introduction to Film & Media Studies

This is a foundational course that introduces students to basic concepts, theories and methods that are central to film and media studies. We will study the histories and genres of cinema and formal techniques such as lighting, editing and sound to develop a critical understanding of film as a dominant mode of representation. We will also study other forms of electronic media to gain a better understanding of the perspectives and practices of emerging technologies and forms of distribution. Through required weekly screenings, readings, writing and regular discussion, we will analyze these various kinds of screen medias as they influence our world. FAMS F course. CSS HUM course. No prerequisites.

Katherine Groo TR 2:45-4:00 PM & M 7:00-9:50 PM

FAMS 130: On Bullshit: Media Literacy for the 21st Century

Bullshit is all around us. It saturates our encounters with contemporary media, infects how we understand the world, and is increasingly difficult to detect. It is the language of politics and advertising, to be sure, but it has also penetrated into the American news media, the humanities, science and technology, start-up culture, and organizations of all kinds. This class concentrates on media bullshit, but it will provide a set of crucial skills to every student, no matter their field or intended major. Participants will learn how to be reasonably skeptical; how to identify bullshit whenever and wherever they find it; and how to explain with evidence why something is in fact bullshit. We will begin with the basics of media bullshit (photography, film, advertising, cable news) before considering more recent manifestations of bullshit (social media, clickbait, “fake news,” and data visualizations). FAMS E course. CSS HUM course. No prerequisites.

Katherine Groo W 1:10-4:00 PM

FAMS/DOC 150: Introduction to Documentary Storymaking

This course is an introduction to digital documentary story making. It merges the critical study of documentary media with the hands-on construction of documentary stories waiting to be found in local communities. Working with tools of the documentary arts-video, still images, audio, writing-students will acquire the foundational skills of media production and effective story telling while absorbing and analyzing rich examples of documentary story telling over time and place. FAMS E course. Open to all majors. No prerequisites. 

Andy Smith M 7:00-9:50 PM

FAMS 201: Making Media 1

This hands-on course introduces students to the creative and technical aspects of media production, and models foundational practices in productive collaboration and ethical media making. The course provides a basic understanding of framing, composition, and storytelling through the use of sound and images. Students work with lighting, audio recording, digital video cameras, and non-linear editing through a series of hands-on assignments, readings, screenings, discussion of assigned exercises, and workshops with digital equipment. FAMS P course. Prerequisite: FAMS 101 or permission of instructor.

Nandini Sikand W 1:10-4:00 PM

FAMS 202: Making Media 2

This hands-on production course is the second course in the media production sequence begun in FAMS 201 and builds on the fundamentals of lighting, sound, camera, and editing. Students will further develop their digital media making techniques through individual and collaborative media assignments. Among the assignments, students will host, record, and edit a weekly talk show in the Film and Media Studies program's “Sandbox” studio. FAMS P course. Prerequisite: FAMS 201 or permission of instructor.

Adam MacHose TR 1:10-4:00 PM

FAMS 255: Women Make Movies/Movies Make Women

This non-production course examines the work of women filmmakers and how women have historically been constructed (and not constructed) in cinema. We will examine issues of gender, spectatorship, sexuality, race, representation and authorship as they intersect with images of women such as savior, victim, femme fatale, mother, artist. FAMS H course. CCS W/GM1 course. Prerequisite: FAMS 101 or WGS 101 or instructor permission.

Nandini Sikand MF 11:00-12:15 PM & W 11:00-12:50 PM

FAMS 260: Film Genres

This non-production film course is a tour through cinema via several influential genres. Exploring film pairings within notable cinematic types, we will look closely at the liberations and limitations of working within genre codes, and seek to learn the films’ cultural impact and role in cinematic history. How are genres established, stretched, or subverted? Why do accomplished filmmakers seek out genre work? What political or social uses have certain genres served, and what new kinds of cinema emerge when genres combine? Among the possible genres: Horror, Film Noir, Screwball Comedy, War, Westerns, the Road Movie, Melodrama and Mashup. FAMS H course. Prerequisites: FAMS 101 or permission of the instructor.

Andy Smith TR 9:30-12:15 PM

FAMS 275: World Pictures: Visual Studies and Media Cultures

What is an image? What is vision? How and why do we look, gaze, and spectate? This course aims to introduce students to Visual Studies, including the central debates and theoretical frameworks that inform the field, along with the contemporary media formations that have motivated its development. Students will learn to analyze images and media using a set of critical tools and concepts (e.g., the gaze, interpellation, embodiment, circulation, commodity fetishism, objectivity, the archive, biopower, the anthropocene, post-humanism, etc.), and consider the role that images and media play in constructing categories of racial, sexual, ethnic, geographic, and biological difference. Finally, this course will challenge students to consider the stakes of disciplinary boundaries and interdisciplinary thought. FAMS T course. CCS HUM course.

Katherine Groo TR 11:00-12:15 PM

FAMS 420: Capstone

This required course for FAMS majors is a chance for students to synthesize their course of study into one major individual project. The capstone is a workshop-based experience where students design and complete either a critical or creative (or some combination of the two) media project that results in a public presentation of their most advanced work as FAMS majors. FAMS C course. Open to Senior FAMS majors only.

Andy Smith TR 1:10-4:00 PM

Additional FAMS Elective Courses for Fall 2017

ART 155: Photo 1 (Skvirsky/Brubaker) MW or TR 1:10-4:00 PM
ENG 231: Journalistic Writing (K. Parrish) W 7:00-9:50 PM
ENG 250: Writing in Digital Environments (T. Laquintano) MWF 10:00-10:50 AM
ENG 251: Screenwriting (A. Ohlin) MW 9:30-10:45 AM
ENG 350: Writing and Authorship—From Print to Digital (T. Laquintano) MWF 2:10-3:00 PM
HIST 120: History in Pictures (P. Barclay) TR 9:30-10:45 AM
SPAN 315: Intro to Visual Cultures Spain (K. Stafford) MW 11:00-12:15 PM
THTR 279: Acting for Digital Media (Staff) F 10:00-11:50 AM & 2:10-4:00 PM


Courses at Lafayette University -- Spring 2017:

FAMS 101: Introduction to Film Media Studies

This is a foundational course that introduces students to basic concepts, theories and methods that are central to film and media studies. We will study the histories and genres of cinema and formal techniques such as lighting, editing and sound to develop a critical understanding of film as a dominant mode of representation. We will also study other forms of electronic media to gain a better understanding of the perspectives and practices of emerging technologies and forms of distribution. CSS HUM course. FAMS F (foundational) course. No prerequisites. Katherine Groo—TR  2:45-4:00PM (class) & M 7:00-10:00PM (lab)

 

FAMS 120: Filmmakers—Martin Scorsese

This course is an examination of the films of Martin Scorsese, one of the most prolific, successful, and distinctive filmmakers in American Cinema. As we explore both the breadth and depth of Scorsese’ body of work, we will use his films as windows through which to understand 1) cinema as a complex art form, and 2) cultural complexities around issues such as family, ethnicity, class, masculinity, deviance, salvation, and violence. CSS HUM course. FAMS H (history) course. No prerequisite. Andy Smith—TR 1:10-4:00PM

 

FAMS 201: Making Media 1

This hands-on course introduces students to the creative and technical aspects of media production, and models foundational practices in productive collaboration and ethical media making. The course provides a basic understanding of framing, composition, and storytelling through the use of sound and images. Students work with lighting, audio recording, digital video cameras, and non-linear editing through a series of hands-on assignments, readings, screenings, discussion of assigned exercises, and workshops with digital equipment. Prerequisite: FAMS 101 or permission of instructor. FAMS P (practice) course. Prerequisite: FAMS 201 or permission of instructor. Nandini Sikand—MW 1:10-4:00PM

 

FAMS 202: Making Media 2

This hands-on production course is the second course in the media production sequence begun in FAMS 201 and builds on the fundamentals of lighting, sound, camerawork, and editing. Students will further develop their digital filmmaking techniques through increasingly complex projects. They will work on individual and collaborative media assignments that will culminate in a public screening at the end of the semester. Prerequisite: FAMS 201 or permission of instructor. FAMS P (practice) course. Adam MacHose—TR 1:10-4:00PM

 

FAMS 220: Critical Film Theory—The Poetics and Politics of Film
What makes film a distinct art form? Often described as the “seventh art”, cinema is unique and interdisciplinary in nature. The study of film theory gives us deeper insight into film as a language and social practice, allowing one to explore cinema’s relationship to historical, aesthetic, social, political and technological influences. We will study some of the debates in classical film theory, auteurism, psychoanalysis, feminist film theory, queer theory, postmodernism and post colonialism as they apply to issues of perception, the spectator, representation, adaptation and realism. CCS W/GM1 course. FAMS T (theory) course. Prerequisite: FAMS 101 or by instructor’s permission. Nandini Sikand—MW 11:00-12:15 (class) & W 11:00-12:50 (lab)

 

(FAMS)DOC 250: Legal and Ethical Challenges in Documentary Practice (ONLINE COURSE)

This course examines questions of how stories are represented, how documentary films represent truth, the nature of filmmakers’ ethical obligations toward their subjects, and how these questions inform documentary production. Students will study a variety of approaches used in the act of truth-telling, examine legal and privacy issues, and explore the ethical and moral practices that surround documentary. LVAIC course, DOC minor, FAMS elective course. Prerequisite: DOC 150 or permission of instructor. Julia Maserjian (Lehigh)—online

 

FAMS 260: Film, Media, and Popular Culture in Africa

From its colonial origins to the postcolonial present, cinema has played a key role in African cultural production, connecting the continent to global media circuits. The class analyzes film as a sociocultural medium, drawing on ethnographic perspectives. Indeed, by linking the study of film with interdisciplinary approaches to popular culture, the class foregrounds the diverse roles that media play in sociocultural life. In readings and discussions we will examine how diverse African social worlds have actively shaped and been altered by the creation, circulation, and reception of moving images, focusing on documentary, video films, hip-hop, film festivals, and other domains of popular cultural expression. CSS HUM course. FAMS H (history) course. Prerequisite: A&S 102, FAMS 101, or permission of instructor. William Bissell—T 7:00-10:00PM

 

FAMS 270.01: World Cinemas—Russian Cinema

From the early years of the Soviet avant-garde to the post-Stalinist era of covert critique, Russian film offers an intriguing perspective on Soviet life and the art of film. English subtitles. CSS HUM/GM1/GM2 course. FAMS H (history) course. Prerequisite: FAMS101 or permission of instructor. Lindsay Ceballos MWF 3:10-4:00PM

 

FAMS/ASIA 270.02: World Cinemas—Contemporary Chinese Cinema

Ever since film was introduced into China at the end of the nineteenth century, it has become a major medium of mass communication, and has played an important role in China’s quest for modernity. Despite warfare, censorship, competition from Hollywood, and other obstacles witnessed by over one hundred years of development, the Chinese film industry is currently one of the most vibrant in the world. Focus on major developments and genres since 1980, with representative films from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, both as a unique form of artistic expression and a powerful social and political discourse. English subtitles. CSS HUM/GM1/GM2 course. FAMS H (history) course. Prerequisite: FAMS101 or permission of instructor. Li Yang—TR  9:30-10:45AM (class) & R 7:30-10:00PM (lab)

 

FAMS/THTR 279: Media Criticism & Review

Most of us decide whether to attend a theater performance or a film based on its reviews. In this course we will analyze and learn to write various forms of effective reviews of film and theater.  We will also learn to distinguish between simple summaries and more sophisticated reviews that analyze style, technique, and quality.  We will conduct research to contextualize film and theater, historically artistically, and generically. FAMS E (elective) course. Prerequisite: FAMS 101 or permission of instructor. Suzanne Westfall—MWF 10:00-10:50AM

 

FAMS 285: Educating the Ear—Sound Theory in Film, Video, and New Media Art

This course traces sound theory across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. From the sound obsessions and anxieties of silent cinema to the disruptive sound experiments of the Fluxus collective to the expansive field of contemporary sound art and its remixture of the historical archive, this course considers the aesthetic, political, and epistemological possibilities of sound. Prerequisite: FAMS 101 or permission of instructor. FAMS T (theory) course. Katherine Groo—TR 11:00-12:15 (class) & W 1:10-4:00PM (lab)

 

FAMS 301: Making Media 3—Fictional Shorts—Write-Shoot-Cut-Screen

This course extends the hands-on media making of the early production courses and is recommended for students hoping to 1) do a production-based capstone project in their senior year, and/or 2) sharpen their media work into a coherent, presentable portfolio. Students will complete short narrative films, moving from the stages of writing, shooting, editing, scoring, and screening their original short fiction films. CSS HUM course. FAMS P (practice) course. Prerequisite: FAMS 202 or permission of instructor. Counts as a FAMS P (practice) course. Andy Smith—TR  9:30-12:15

 

FAMS 320: The Spectre of Race

Governed by the metaphor of “spectre,” this seminar looks at the tangle between race, images and technology. Beginning with early image-making and the birth of cinema, we will examine how ways of seeing, the rise of mass media in modern consumer society, and the relationship between visual culture and power are deeply intertwined to influence and create discourse on racialized difference. Examining race theories ranging from eugenics to discourses of diversity and post-raciality in the United States and beyond, we will study a range of media such as, but not limited to the shadow play of daguerreotypes, the high contrast of early ethnographic films, the gaze of Hollywood cinema and the counter gaze of progressive cinema and media to explore historical constructions of race and ethnicity, how they have influenced racialized difference on screen and how we see ourselves and others. Students complete critical video essays and collaborate to create a peer-reviewed, online videographic journal.  CSS HUM/GM1 course. FAMS T (theory) course. Prerequisite: FAMS 220, 255, or 275, or by permission of instructor. Nandini Sikand—MW 9:00-10:50 (class) & F 1:00-3:00 ( lab)

 

FAMS/PHIL 345: Philosophy of Film

This course is an examination of philosophical questions on the nature, interpretation, and evaluation of film. Topics may include: the distinctive nature of the moving image compared to other forms of representation; the issue of whether film is an art form; film authorship; the essence of film narrative; the role of the imagination in understanding and appreciating film; identification and emotional engagement with characters; film and morality; film and knowledge. CCS HUM & W course. FAMS T (theory) course. Prerequisite: FAMS 101 & one course in philosophy or permission of instructor. Alessandro Giovannelli—MW 12:45-2:00 PM