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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

Film Studies View this department's website

The film studies program is designed:

  • to encourage a broadly interdisciplinary and critical assessment of the roles that film and the visual media play in our lives,
  • to introduce students to the development of filmic traditions,
  • to provide them with the critical tools necessary to make informed judgments about the visual representations they encounter,
  • to offer a practical introduction to the construction of filmic works, and
  • to broaden thinking about film and media studies beyond the context provided by the Hollywood model.

Since the study of film and media has rooted itself independently in so many areas, the methodologies it employs also vary widely. Accordingly, film study at Willamette is designed to connect students with multiple critical and methodological approaches and to encourage theoretical inquiry as well as creative engagement with the practical problems of visual representation.

The Film Studies major is well-suited to contribute to the critical social engagement that the liberal arts seek to foster as well as to prepare students for career opportunities or advanced study in filmmaking, non-print journalism, and media criticism.

Requirements for the Film Studies Major (10 Credits)

10 credits, no more than three of which may be taken in a single department. This limit does not apply to the senior experience.

A basic history of cinema

One course in media and society

  • RHET 232 (AR) Persuasion, Propaganda, and the Mass Media
  • RHET 320 Mass Media and Society

One introductory course that involves students in the process of making film

Two courses engaging issues of film theory

Senior Project

A senior project, approved by the Film Studies faculty, which might be a creative or critical project. It might be satisfied by:

  • FILM 499 Senior Project, or
  • With permission by taking FILM 449 Studies in Cinema and Nationalism (and writing a senior paper), or
  • With the cooperation of faculty in another discipline and the approval of Film Studies faculty, through the successful completion of a project or seminar approved for the purpose and worth at least one credit in another department such as ARTH 496, ENGL 490, HUM 497, THTR 499 or the like. A single paper will not normally be approved as satisfying two different senior requirements and a proposal for a senior project in connection with a course in another discipline will require notification to and approval by both faculties.

Four additional credits

Including at least one credit from each of the following three groups. No class may be counted twice.

Film art and society

  • ANTH 335 Visual Anthropology
  • ENGL 334 Film Genre
  • ENGL 336 (AR) Visible Evidence: The History and Theory of Documentary Film
  • FILM 449 Studies in Cinema and Nationalism
  • IDS 327 (AR, W) the American Story and the Legacy of Vietnam
  • RHET 320 Mass Media and Society

Film Production

The following with permission, if elements of film work can also be included for the petitioning student:

National and Transnational Film

  • CHNSE 256 Chinese Folklore in Films
  • FILM 449 Studies in Cinema and Nationalism [May be crosslisted as appropriate]
  • FREN 241 (4th Sem Lang Req) Topics in French History through Film
  • FREN 438 French Literature and Cinema
  • FREN 440 (IT) Quebecois Literature and Cinema
  • IDS 251 African Film Discourse
  • JAPN 340 The Japanese Cinema
  • LAS 380 Latin American Cinema [Also listed as SPAN 380]
  • RUSS 235 Russian and Soviet Cinema

Courses currently in the curriculum that should contribute to a Film Studies Major

Requirements for the Film Studies Minor (5 Credits)

Three credits from the following: (3)

Course Listings

FILM 210 (W) History of Cinema: The Rise of Classical Narrative (1)

A study of the development of traditional narrative cinema. The course will consider films ranging from the early primitive period to the 1950s, including particularly the contributions of Griffith, of the German and Soviet silent schools, of France between the wars and of Hollywood throughout the period.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Alternate falls
  • Instructor: Nolley

FILM 449 Studies in Cinema and Nationalism (1)

A study of the development, achievement, and limitations of a national cinema and its relationship to the dominance of the Hollywood market. The course will explore cultural themes that emerge in the tradition, the cinema's reception in an international setting, and factors critical to its gaining wider distribution. Finally, the course will consider critical responses to that cinema, both within and beyond its own tradition, assessing carefully the ways that social, political, cultural, and economic factors affect critical judgment and practice.

Prerequisite: A course in international cinema such as CHNSE 256, JAPN 340, or FREN 438, or permission of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

FILM 499 Senior Project (1)

Development of a senior thesis or project approved by Film Studies faculty and developed in a group seminar as well as advanced independent work.

Prerequisite: Film Studies major and senior standing.

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff