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Film Studies Courses

Film Studies courses are taken from throughout DePauw's curriculum to give students a broad, multi-disciplinary understanding of film. Courses below are listed by their home departments. Some are also listed under Film Studies, when courses have been given an additional Film Studies designation (FILM) and number. 

For a list of current courses, click here.

Additional courses in film From across the curriculum

Classes offered vary by semester and may not have a permanent listing below.  These courses include:

ANTH 290 Anthropological Perspectives
ARTH 290 Topics in the History of Art
ARTS 163  Introduction to Photography
ARTS 398 Documentary Photo
ASIA 290 Topics in Asian Studies
COMM 236 Television Production and Televisual Literacy
COMM 319 Writing for Stage, Screen and TV
COMM 334 Media Criticism
COMM 337 International Media
COMM 401 Special Topics in Communication
ENG 264: Women in Literature
ENG 342:  Creative Writing II: Screenwriting Workshop
ENG 343 Creative Writing II:  Dramatic Writing Topics

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 321

Advanced Topics in Cinema

A course on an advanced topic in film studies.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1

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.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/2 - 1 course

FILM 429

Film Studies Senior Project Preparation

The Film Studies Senior Capstone Experience is the culmination of the Film Studies major, designed to provide students with a challenging final project of significant length and complexity, spanning fall and spring semester of senior year at DePauw. Whether the final project is a scholarly thesis paper of significant length and scope or a creative/production-oriented venture (such as a feature-length screenplay, short narrative film or documentary), the capstone project requires extensive planning, on-going organization, persistence and dedication, along with the ability to meet deadlines and work closely with a faculty advisor. To this end, the Film Studies Senior Project Prep (FILM 429) is a .25-credit prelude to the Film Studies Senior Project (FILM 430). In consultation with the Director of Film Studies and a faculty project advisor from the program, students prepare and submit proposals and supporting documents to the FS faculty committee. Once proposals are approved, students complete additional preparatory work, including research, extensive outlining, and/or preliminary pre-production, which is submitted to their advisor for evaluation. These phases of the project provide a solid base from which to begin the second, full (1) credit semester, and the more intensive writing/production phases of their capstone projects.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/4 course

FILM 430

Film Studies Senior Project

This course is the culmination of the Film Studies Senior Capstone Experience, building on the work completed in FILM 429. Working closely with their FS faculty project advisor, students immerse themselves in intensive writing and revision, and/or the progressive filmmaking phases of pre-production/production/post-production. Three deadlines must be met over the course of the semester: the first installment; completed first draft or edit; and the final draft or edit. (A failing grade on any project development phase results in course failure; and students must earn a C- or above in the course to graduate.) At the year's end, students present their work to a faculty and student audience. Prerequisite: FILM 429

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
FILM 429 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