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Course Catalog

Film Studies

Film and video are ubiquitous in contemporary society, combining image and text to create a powerful medium which increasingly reflects us, defines us, persuades us, markets us, and tells our stories. Students all over the country--and world--are majoring in Film Studies: to teach, to succeed in the business world, to enter graduate study, to work with non-profit arts or charitable organizations, to work in media of all types, or to create their own films.

DePauw offers both a major and a minor in Film Studies. The major requires nine (9) courses in film, which compliment the other graduation requirements defined by the university, to fully engage students in the liberal arts model. The minor requires five (5) total courses in film. Specific requirements for the major and minor are listed below and aim to expose students to a variety of approaches to film study¿ from history to theory and criticism, cultural to genre exploration, production to the final capstone senior project (for majors only) which enables students to focus on a scholarly or creative project of larger scope.


Requirements for a major

Film Studies

Total courses required 9
Core courses FILM 100 (ENG 167), FILM 200 (COMM 237), FILM 430
Other required courses One additional course in each of the following areas:
  • Film theory, criticism, and history courses
  • Production or screenwriting courses
  • Topics courses in film cultures and traditions
Number 300 and 400 level courses 4 (including the Senior Project)
Senior requirement and capstone experience Successful completion of FILM 430.
Writing in the Major As an interdisciplinary program, Film Studies recognizes that writing skills are applicable across multiple disciplines and methodologies, and most require an understanding of specific vocabulary and terminology as well as the ability to summarize, synthesize, and analyze both primary and secondary sources. Students are expected to write in a style consistent with published scholarly and artistic work in the discipline, and will practice writing in several stylistic modes, which could include research papers, reviews of scholarly literature, statements of research methodology, prospectus and proposals, text analysis, and writing for the screen. The writing in the major course requirement for Film Studies can be satisfied either through FILM 300 (Film Theory & Criticism) or other 300-400-level courses approved by the program director, with a grade of C (2.0) or above. These courses promote improvement in students' writing though a variety of methods including peer reviews, sequenced assignments, and multiple drafts and/or writing conferences. Majors are also required to submit a substantial written project of original research or creative expression as part of their senior capstone experience, to fulfill the remainder of the writing in the major requirement.

Requirements for a minor

Film Studies

Total courses required 5
Core courses One course from either FILM 100 (ENG 167) or FILM 200 (COMM 237)
Other required courses One class from each of the following areas:
  • Film theory, criticism, and history courses
  • Production or screenwriting courses
  • Topics courses in film cultures and traditions
Number 300 and 400 level courses 1

Courses in Art History

ARTH 250

Documentary Film

This discussion-based course is structured thematically around such topics as representations of the family, subjectivity and selfhood, crime and justice, sexuality, trauma, and war propaganda. We view a wide variety of documentary styles: poetic, ethnographic, direct cinema, government sponsored, social advocacy, rockumentary, mockumentary, pseudo-documentary, and different hybrid forms. These styles and themes are used as springboards to explore larger questions: What is the source of our fascination with the real? How can documentary evoke discourses of truth, realism and authenticity when the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction have become ever more fluid; when digital technology makes possible the absence of any camera or original referent from the "real" world; and when documentarians make use of strategies such as staging, re-enactments, discontinuous editing, or various poetic devices? What are the conventions of documentary film practice, that provide the necessary impression of "authenticity;" when and for what purposes have these conventions been challenged? What is the ethical responsibility of a filmmaker to his/her subjects who are, after all, not actors, but people going about the business of their lives? To understand better the complex nature of representation, we also take into account how context, expectations, institutional supports, viewing communities, cultural frameworks, and historical and social forces (and their interaction) all contribute to the making of meaning in visual images.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Courses in Studio Art

ARTS 163

Introduction to Photography

An introduction to the art of black-and-white photography, this course provides opportunities for learning personal expression, critical thinking, and the aesthetics of photography through darkroom experiences and camera assignments. A 35-millimeter camera with a manual control is required. Some cameras are available for student checkout. Please see the instructor. Not offered pass/fail.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Courses in Communication and Theatre

COMM 236

Television Production and Televisual Literacy

An introduction to the basic concepts and processes of television production. Emphasis is placed on the creation and analysis of ideas communicated through the medium of television, including aesthetic, ethical and technical influences on message construction. Students learn studio and field production: basic scripting, lighting, audio, camera/picturization, editing, directing, etc. Televisual literacy is developed, and assignments apply the critical skills needed to interpret and analyze visual imagery and television programming.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 237

Film and Culture

This course is a critical examination of motion pictures as a medium of communication. In addition to looking at the films as texts to be "read," this course considers the institutional contexts in which films are produced, as well as the various reception contexts in which audiences see films. As a course in communication, we begin from the perspective that motion pictures are an important and meaningful part of the way we produce and re-produce our culture. Importantly, the course is not only concerned with how film texts communicate, but also how we communicate about films, as both fans and critics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 319

Writing for Stage, Screen and TV

A workshop approach to creative story making in the three forms of media. Emphasis is on the relationship between form and content, dramatic structure and critical response. Students are expected to complete a full length stage play, screenplay or teleplay.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 334

Media Criticism

Justification and application of various approaches to critiquing and analyzing media messages. Insight into the ethical burdens, social and moral, of the media and its institutions. Topics may vary. Prerequisite: COMM 233 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
COMM 233 or permission of instructor 1 course

COMM 337

International Media

Analysis of structures and content of international media (newspapers, TV, film, and Internet) and the role of culture in globalization, in order to increase understanding of the politics and economics of media systems in specific regions of the world and the societies in which they function. This course aims to explore key developments in information technologies, international relations, the free flow of information, interpretations of free expression and intellectual property, aggregated regional networks, and the influence of Western media and consequent forms of resistance located in historical and cultural perspectives of different genres of media programs including news, entertainment, advertising and PR.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Courses in Literature

ENG 167

Introduction to Film

Designed to develop students' ability to understand and appreciate film as art and to acquaint them with a representative group of significant works and the characteristics of film as a type of literature.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Courses in Writing

ENG 342

Creative Writing II: Screenwriting Workshop

An introduction to the fundamentals of screenwriting, in theory and in practice. Students will explore story, character, dialogue and structure as relates to writing for film; learn the screenplay format; and participate in writing workshop and discussion. Prerequisite: ENG 201.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
ENG 201 1 course

Courses in Film Studies

FILM 100

Introduction to Film

(cross-listed with ENG 167) Designed to develop students' ability to understand and appreciate film as art and to acquaint them with a representative group of significant works and the characteristics of film as a type of literature.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 200

Film and Culture

(cross-listed with COMM 237) This course is a critical examination of motion pictures as a medium of communication. In addition to looking at the films as texts to be 'read,' this course considers the institutional contexts in which films are produced, as well as the various reception contexts in which audiences see films. As a course in communication, we begin from the perspective that motion pictures are an important and meaningful part of the way we produce and re-produce our culture. Importantly, the course is not only concerned with how film texts communicate, but also how we communicate about films, as both fans and critics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 211

Documentary Film

(cross-listed with ARTH 250 or COMM 291) This discussion-based course is structured thematically around such topics as representations of the family, subjectivity and selfhood, crime and justice, sexuality, trauma, and war propaganda. We view a wide variety of documentary styles: poetic, ethnographic, direct cinema, government sponsored, social advocacy, rockumentary, mockumentary, pseudo-documentary, and different hybrid forms. These styles and themes are used as springboards to explore larger questions: What is the source of our fascination with the real? How can documentary evoke discourses of truth, realism and authenticity when the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction have become ever more fluid; when digital technology makes possible the absence of any camera or original referent from the 'real' world; and when documentarians make use of strategies such as staging, re-enactments, discontinuous editing, or various poetic devices? What are the conventions of documentary film practice, that provide the necessary impression is the ethical responsibility of a filmmaker to his/her subjects who are, after all, not actors, but people going about the business of their lives? To understand better the complex nature of representation, we also take into account how context, expectations, institutional supports, viewing communities, cultural frameworks, and historical and social forces (and their interaction) all contribute to the making of meaning in visual images.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 220

Topics in Film History

Introduces students to pivotal eras in cinema history (both U.S. and international) as well as questions of historiography. Courses will engage with historical approaches to film industries, film texts, and/or film audiences. Topics may include courses such as: U.S. Film History 1897-1950; Hollywood Since 1950. May be repeated for credit.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 241

Topics in Film Cultures and Traditions

(may be cross-listed with ENG 255 or M L 164) This course offers intensive examination of specific issues in film cultures and traditions, often those at the center of current critical interest. Topics for this course are conceived broadly to encompass studies of national cinemas, specific directors, filmmaking practices, and specific genres. May be repeated for credit with a different topic.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 310

Film Theory

(may be cross-listed with ENG 395) Provides students who already have a background in introductory film studies with a sense of the most important theoretical issues in cinema. Topics may include the following: early film theory; film and (anti-) narrative; auteur theory; genre theory; semiotics; psychoanalysis; ideology and politics; feminist film theory; theories of documentary; postmodernism; post-colonialism and "third cinema"; new media and the digital era. Prerequisites: FILM 100 (ENG 167) or FILM 200 (COMM 237).

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 311

Topics in Gender, Sexuality and Cinema

(may be cross-listed with ENG 390 or COMM 401) Introduces students to the importance of gender as a category of film scholarship. Issues covered may include: women in film, masculinity and film, feminist filmmaking and film scholarship, women filmmakers. May be repeated for credit with a different topic.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

FILM 420

Independent Study in Film

Independent project under tutorial supervision designed for juniors and seniors wishing to work in depth on a particular aspect of film study. Prerequisites: junior or senior classification and permission of instructor and program director. Prior to registration, the student must present to the director a written statement of the project countersigned by the instructor who will serve as tutor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Prerequisites: junior or senior classification and permission of instructor and program director. Prior to registration, the student must present to the director a written statement of the project countersigned by the instructor who will serve as tut 1 course

FILM 430

Film Studies Senior Project

This capstone course will be taken during senior year and will be a culmination of the Film Studies major. With the help for the Film Studies director and faculty advisors, students will design and complete an original project, either scholarly or creative. Candidates will then be interviewed by an interdisciplinary faculty committee.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Courses in Modern Languages in English

M L 164

The Cinema

A. France; B. Spain/Latin America; C. Italy; D. Germany; E. Russia; F. Japan; G. China; H. World. Screening and study of representative masterworks of cinema, the film as art and a product of culture. No knowledge of the foreign language is required. Credit toward a major or minor may be given at the discretion of the department.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Courses in Religious Studies

REL 275

Religion and Film

This course uses major theories of religion in order to investigate religious themes and symbols in a number of contemporary films. In this course we use the screening of a dozen or so religiously evocative films in order to open up a discursive space within which we can think critically about ourselves and the time we live in. In order to do this we look at the ways in which powerful religious themes have been dealt within film. At times the religious themes addressed inmoves are overt and trandition-specific while at other times they are covert and universal. Throughout the course we interrogate filmic texts in order to understand the ways in which religious themes are dealth with through the cinematic medium. But we also allow the films to interrogate us! In this class we view the screening of the films as an opportunity for us to reflect upon the nature of religion as we try to come to a better understanding of its place within society and our own lives. The purpose of the course is twofold: first, students learn how to think critically about religion and its place as a social and cultual force in the contemporary world; second, they learn how to apply a critical attitude and critical tools to view films and other aspects of popular culture.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course