College Bulletin 2023-2024 
    
    Apr 16, 2024  
College Bulletin 2023-2024

Film and Media Studies



Courses  

Chair:

SUNKA SIMON, Professor
MAGGIE DANNA, Administrative Assistant

Core Faculty:

PATRICIA WHITE, Professor, Centennial Chair, Aydelotte Foundation Director
BOB REHAK, Associate Professor
RODNEY EVANS, Associate Professor

Affiliated Faculty:

Timothy Burke (History)
William Gardner (Modern Languages and Literatures, Japanese)
Haili Kong (Modern Languages and Literatures, Chinese)
Maya Nadkarni (Sociology and Anthropology)
Carina Yervasi (Modern Languages and Literatures, French)


Film and media are crucial and pervasive dimensions of contemporary culture. The development of formal understanding, historical knowledge, and critical literacy about media texts, technologies, and practices is central to a liberal arts education in the twenty-first century. The Department of Film and Media Studies offers classes that explore the history, theory, aesthetics, and social and cultural aspects of media forms including cinema, television, online video, digital games, and media art. The program teaches research and analytical methods as well as digital production skills and approaches and encourages cross-cultural comparisons as well as attention to audiences and institutions. Our hybrid curriculum blends critical studies with critical making, often within the same course.

The Academic Program


The Film and Media Studies Department offers a range of courses in critical studies and production, cross-lists film and media courses with other departments, and awards credit for majors and minors taking approved offerings from other departments and programs. Students may major or minor in film and media studies, including in the Honors Program. FMST 001 is the prerequisite for advanced work in the major or minor and is recommended preparation for any course in the department except first-year seminars. In addition to class meetings, most courses require weekly evening screenings. Production courses are limited enrollment.

First Course Recommendations


FMST 001. Critical Approaches to Media presents forms and histories of film and other moving-image media, as well as key concepts, theories, and methods in the discipline of film and media studies. We begin with analysis of the elements of film form; explore narrative, documentary, experimental and genre formats; and conclude with perspectives on authorship, national cinema, and other topics in film and media theory. Emphasis is on developing critical viewing, writing, research, and multimedia authoring skills. Required weekly evening screenings of works from diverse periods, countries, and traditions. FMST 001 is the prerequisite for most other FMST classes.

Film and Media Studies Courses


Course Major


Requirements


Majors must take a minimum of 10 credits, among which the following 5 are required.

  1. FMST 001  (preferably taken in first year)
  2. 1 Production course (from list of production classes below)
  3. 1 Course from “Classes with sustained critical attention to Medium Specificity” (preferably taken in sophomore year, see list below)
  4. 1 Course from “Classes with sustained critical attention to national, transnational, global or comparative approaches to Media Forms and Practices” (preferably taken in sophomore or junior year, see list below)
  5. FMST 090  taken in the senior spring focusing on one of the following deliverables:
    • Research Paper
    • Creative or Multimedia Project (Film, Video, Media Arts project etc.)
    • Honors preparation (with another course or independent project plus SHS)
       

The remaining 5+ credits can come from other courses within these categories, from the list of additional FMST courses, and from credit-eligible Swarthmore electives (see list below), from courses taken abroad (maximum of 2 credits), at Penn or TriCo with approval. These should be selected for breadth and depth in the discipline and balance between critical studies and production courses. Courses in a major may include a limited number of credits drawn from film and media offerings at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, or the University of Pennsylvania; courses in the discipline taken abroad or at other U.S. institutions; or approved offerings from other Swarthmore departments and programs.

Prior to the class of 2025, majors need to have taken FMST 001, FMST 020, FMST 025, one production course, one course that offers historical depth in a national or transnational cinema tradition, and FMST 090.

Acceptance Criteria


To be accepted as a major, students must have completed FMST 001 and have completed or be currently enrolled in at least one additional FMST course. Haverford students interested in applying for the Swarthmore major should consult with the department chair and their Haverford advisor. Bryn Mawr students are encouraged to apply to the Film Studies Program at Bryn Mawr.

 

Thesis / Culminating Exercise


FMST 090   is considered the culminating exercise for majors, normally taken during the spring of senior year. As part of their preparation, seniors must complete a project proposal for the type of work that is to be their focus within the capstone by September 30 of their senior fall. This proposal should include a 250 word abstract, a working bibliography (10+ primary and secondary works), and for creative projects a treatment, timeline, equipment list, and budget estimation. FMST faculty will read and decide on the feasibility of the project proposal prior to spring enrollment.

Course Minor


Students may add a minor in Film and Media Studies to any major.

Requirements


Minors must take a minimum of 5 credits, among which the following 3 are required. 

  1. FMST 001  (preferably taken in first year)
  2. 1 Course from “Classes with sustained critical attention to Medium Specificity” (preferably taken in sophomore year, see list below)
  3. 1 Course from “Classes with sustained critical attention to national, transnational, global or comparative approaches to Media Forms and Practices” (preferably taken in sophomore or junior year, see list below)

  
The remaining 2+ credits can come from other courses within these categories, from the list of additional FMST courses, and from FMST credit-eligible Swarthmore electives (see list below), from courses taken abroad (maximum of 2 credits), at Penn or TriCo with approval. These should be selected for breadth and depth in the discipline and balance between critical studies and production courses. 

Prior to the class of 2025, minors need to have taken FMST 001 and FMST 090.

Acceptance Criteria


To be admitted to the minor, students must have satisfactorily completed one film and media studies course.

Honors Major


Requirements


Students in the Honors Program may major in film and media studies by meeting the requirements for the major and by preparing for and taking three external exams. The exam preparations should include a combination of the following with the approval of the film and media studies chair:

  • 2 pairs of advanced 1 credit FMST eligible courses (4 courses total)
  • FMST 090 plus a 1-credit SHS attachment
  • 1 FMST seminar numbered 100 and higher, if offered
  • 1- or 2-credit thesis or creative project

Senior honors study (SHS) consists of a revised essay and/or short film submitted for a course or seminar in the preparation. No SHS is required for a thesis or creative project
 

Acceptance Criteria


Students wishing to complete the honors major must have received a grade of B+ or better in all film and media studies courses and be approved by the Film and Media Studies Department.

Honors Minor


Requirements


Students in the Honors Program may minor in film and media studies by meeting the requirements for the minor and by preparing for and taking one external exam. The exam preparations should include one or a combination of the following with the approval of the film and media studies chair:

  • One pair of 1 credit FMST eligible courses (2 courses total)
  • 1 FMST seminar numbered 100 and higher, if offered
  • 1- or 2-credit thesis or creative project

Acceptance Criteria


Students wishing to complete the honors minor must have received a grade of B+ or better in all film and media studies courses and be approved by the Film and Media Studies Department.

List of FMST classes with sustained critical attention to medium specificity


  • FMST 005 . First-Year Seminar: Special Effects and Film Spectacle
  • FMST 020 . Critical Theories of Film and Media
  • FMST 021 . American Narrative Cinema
  • FMST 025 . Television Studies
  • FMST 034 . Transmedia Worldbuilding and Storytelling
  • FMST 036 . Theory and History of Videogames
  • FMST 037 . Gender and Genre on Television
  • FMST 038 . Reality TV
  • FMST 042 . Animation and Media
  • FMST 102 . Convergence

List of FMST classes with sustained critical attention to national, transnational, global or comparative approaches to media forms and practices


  • FMST 022 . Cinema and Modernity, 1894-1934
  • FMST 050 . Critical Approaches to World Cinema
  • FMST 051 . European Cinema
  • FMST 052 . Postwar France: French New Wave
  • FMST 054 . German Cinema
  • FMST 057 . Japanese Film and Animation
  • FMST 058 . Film and Place: West African Filmmakers at Home and Abroad

List of FMST Production classes


  • FMST 002 . Digital Production Fundamentals
  • FMST 011 . Advanced Digital Production
  • FMST 013 . (Auto)biography and the Archive: Experimental Digital Production
  • FMST 015 . Screenwriting
  • FMST 016 . The Director/Actor Collaboration

List of Swarthmore classes eligible for FMST credit in this category


  • THEA 004D . Integrated Media Design for Live Performance

List of additional FMST courses for breadth and depth


List of Swarthmore classes eligible for FMST credit as Electives (2023-2025)


  • ARAB 023 . Identity and Culture in Arab Cinema
  • ARTH 001G  . First Year Seminar: Brought to Life: the Art of Animation in East Asia
  • CHIN 055 . Contemporary Chinese Cinema
  • CPSC 091S . Special Topics: Game Systems
  • FREN 017C /LITR 017FC . Drawing Conflicts: Comics and Visualizing Political Crises
  • HIST 044 . American Popular Culture
  • HIST 037 . The Holocaust: History, Representation, and Culture
  • HIST 086 . From Equiano to Oprah: Black Capitalism and its Histories
  • MUSI 010 . From Roots to Django: Interpreting the Soundtracks of Black Power, Black Pain, Black Joy, and Retribution.
  • POLS 026 . Politics of The Wire (ap)
  • POLS 082 . Surveillance and Repression (cp)
  • SPAN 050 . Afrocaribe: Literatura y Cultura Visual
  • SPAN 087 . Cruzando Fronteras: Migración y Neoliberalismo en el Cine Mexicano

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Credit


Consult with the department chair to determine eligibility of AP or IB work.

Transfer Credit


Students in any major may apply to receive film and media studies credit for courses in critical media studies or production taken abroad or on other campuses. Please consult with your advisor as you plan your study abroad for recommended programs. Two approved credits may be applied to the FMST major or minor.

Off-Campus Study


Students in any major may apply to receive film and media studies credit for courses in critical studies or production taken abroad or on other campuses. Please consult with your adviser as you plan your study abroad for recommended programs. Two approved credits may be applied to the FMST major or minor.