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Cinema and Media Studies (CAMS)

Directors: Professor John F. Schott, winter and Assistant Professor Carol Donelan, fall and spring

Professor: John F. Schott

Assistant Professor: Carol Donelan

Visiting Assistant Professor: Michael Griffin

Adjunct Instructor: Paul Hager

Visiting Instructor: Thomas W. Pope

The Cinema and Media Studies Department serves as a center for those interested in the formal study of film, video, television and the internet. Course work is of three related kinds: 1) study of past and present connections between film, video, television and other arts-photography, music, theater, dance and painting, 2) study of both narrative and non-fiction film and video and their relation to other disciplines-history, sociology, psychology, American Studies, etc., and 3) production classes to provide the essential "hands-on" experience for understanding and creating video and multimedia.

Cinema and Media Studies Courses

CAMS 110. Introduction to Cinema and Media Studies An introduction to film, television, and digital media from multiple perspectives: formal, cultural, and theoretical. How do films tell their stories? How do they reflect some of the historical and cultural issues of their time, including gender and race? What are the formal and cultural significances of television and digital media? How are we constructed differently, as spectators, in relation to various media? These questions will be addressed by studying a variety of texts, including Hollywood, avant-garde, and documentary film, TV sitcoms and soap operas, and the world wide web. Discussion will focus on applying critical concepts to screenings and clips. 6 cr., AL, Fall,SpringC. Donelan, M. Griffin

CAMS 111. Introduction to Video Production Offered regularly throughout the year, this class introduces students to the central ideas, aesthetics and tools of video production. Students will learn to shoot and edit with the most recent digital cameras and editors. In addition to completing short exercises, everyone in the class will complete a short video project. Students are encouraged to continue with Cinema and Media Studies 262 for the second five weeks of the term. 3 cr., ND, Fall,WinterP. Hager

CAMS 112. Screenwriting In this introduction to writing for the screen, students will work on both full-length motion picture scripts and short 10-20 minute projects suitable for production in the Fiction Production class. All projects will be critiqued by the class and judged on professional standards, with analysis which is exacting, rigorous and encouraging. Guest screenwriter Thomas Pope is the author of The Lords of Discipline, Bad Boys and F/X. 6 cr., AL, SpringT. Pope

CAMS 122. Video Production for Community Television Explore how local communities are using cable television to reaffirm civic and cultural identity in an age of homogenizing mass media. This course offers a rich experience in "service learning" as students make video projects for broadcast on Northfield's own community cable station. Prerequisite: Cinema and Media Studies 111 and consent of the instructor. 6 cr., ND, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 214. Film History and Criticism From the Edison primitives to contemporary Hollywood blockbusters, we survey the evolution of film form and style in the U.S. and abroad, paying particular attention to eras dominated by German Expressionism, Russian Formalism, the French New Wave, and the omnipresence of Hollywood. Historical examples and current strategies of film criticism provide a second, coordinate part of the course. 6 cr., AL, WinterC. Donelan

CAMS 215. American Film History In this course, we investigate Hollywood cinema as a unique economic, industrial, aesthetic, and cultural institution. Topics addressed include the experience of movie-going, the nature of Hollywood storytelling, and the roles played by the studio system, the star system, and film genre in the creation of a body of work that functions both as entertainment and as an influential mediator of American experience, identity, and culture. Formerly Cinema and Media Studies 135. 6 cr., AL, FallC. Donelan

CAMS 216. History of Television and American Mass Media The historical influence of television, as a medium and an industry, on American mass media and culture. What have been the predominant genres and forms of representation promulgated by television? What influence has this had on other forms of American media: cinema, books, newspapers, magazines, new media? How have televisual practices influenced the visual forms and aesthetics of other media? Has television established a culture of consumption that shapes the emergence of other media forms? 6 cr., ND, FallM. Griffin

CAMS 218. Environmental Issues and Media Representation How are public perceptions concerning environmental conditions, policy, actors and interests shaped by embedded cultural representations of nature and its use? By the language and images used to represent environmental issues in the media? Who sets the agenda for environmental issues and debates and how is that agenda presented for public consumption? What role do movies, news, television entertainment and advertising play in establishing or maintaining particular images, enduring cultural myths, perspectives and discourses regarding the environment? Students will pursue research and/or creative media projects related to environmental discourse. 6 cr., ND, WinterM. Griffin

CAMS 219. Audio Workshop National Public Radio's This American Life reminds us just how vital "old school" forms like radio can be. Here we introduce students to the conceptual issues and all-digital production techniques of audio production. The class welcomes students interested both in personal narratives and academic nonfiction works, including those that originate from within the perspectives of their own field of study­for example, an oral history for sociology/anthropology, or documentary analysis of an issue in social policy or ecology. (Students wishing to join the class in teams of two or three to complete a special project should check first with Professor Schott.) 6 cr., AL, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 220. Nonfiction Video Production An introduction to the basic techniques and theoretical issues of non-fiction video production. In addition to completing a variety of skill-building exercises, students will complete a substantial work of documentary video. Prerequisite: Cinema and Media Studies 111 or permission of the instructor. 6 cr., AL, WinterJ. Schott

CAMS 221. Fiction Video Production An introduction to the basic techniques and creative issues of fiction video making. Students will complete several skill-building exercises, write or adapt a short script, learn how to run a low-budget set, and produce a short fiction video. Prerequisite: Cinema and Media Studies 111 or permission of the instructor. 6 cr., AL, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 222. News Story Workshop In addition to examining literature and theory about the production of visualized news, students will work in teams to produce a continuing series of video stories for Carleton's web-based multi-media magazine. We will have a major editorial meeting each week with regular story assignments, and the class will extend through the year for three credits each term. Students are encouraged to take fall term, and at least one other term during the year. Video production experience is important, but there will also be roles for students with writing and reporting skills. This class requires permission of the instructor to join. Prerequisite: Cinema and Media Studies 111 strongly encouraged. 3 cr., ND, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 223. Creating Journalism Presentations of information have as much to do with form as content. Television news formats, edited presentations of news footage, the design of a newspaper, the formats of magazines and web sites, all shape the nature of what we call journalism. Institutional conventions, organizational routines, and new technologies also exert a powerful force on the social production of news. This course combines critical media analysis with exercises in media production to explore various forms of journalism and their social, cultural and political implications. 6 cr., ND, WinterM. Griffin

CAMS 227. Open the Box: Studies in Television A course devoted to the exploration of the form and style of U.S. television, the conventions and social meanings of various television genres, and the history and methods of audience research. In addition to analyzing closely individual television programs from the past and present, we will engage in researching the television audiences to which we belong. 6 cr., HU, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 228. Rethinking the Fifties Through Film, Television and Photography Disguised in a poodle skirt and Elvis wig, Fifties America remains a nostalgic caricature for many students. This course offers a revisionary social history of this complex decade by examining a broad range of visual media. We'll consider key issues like the rise of consumer culture, the policing of gender, the "invention" of teens, Cold War paranoia, the rise of suburbia, the explosion of popular culture, television's "living room lectures," and smell-o-vision. 6 cr., AL, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 229. Outsiders Cinema: Fiction Film This course considers fiction films produced in conscious (if not militant) opposition to Hollywood, films driven by esthetic, moral or expressive commitments rather than the bottom line. In addition to doing close readings of fifteen or so films, we will consider the cultural, esthetic, economic and biographical circumstances that inform each work. The course will emphasize films that have been considered landmarks in post-war independent cinema from both U.S. and world cinema. 6 cr., AL, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 230. Studio Prod: The Sports Show In this class we will explore the full resources of studio production by producing and distributing to the campus a weekly video sports show. Students will shoot and edit field segments and the studio program which we will publish as a web-based video subscription. The class will construct a permanent set with green-screen graphics background, and explore the logic of studio production including live, three-camera switching. Additionally, we will review the historical evolution of studio broadcasting as a key contemporary media form. Pre-requisite: Introduction to Video Production [Cams 111] or permission of the instructor. 6 cr., AL, SpringP. Hager

CAMS 232. Cinema at the Edge: The Idea of the Avant-Garde This class traces the development of avant-garde film, video and multi-media from Salvadore Dali's surrealist cinema in the 20s to contemporary virtual reality on the internet. Along with examining key paradigms of experimentalism (art cinema, video art, hypermedia, etc.), we will consider theoretically how the avant-garde defines itself at differing moments in history. The class will feature an extended "field trip" into Beat culture of the 1950s, where we will look at beat cinema in the context of poetry, music and the visual arts. 6 cr., AL, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 233. Italian Neorealism and Its Legacy An introduction to the key films and theories of Italian neorealism. We will begin by looking closely at the traditional neorealist films of Rossellini, De Sica, and Visconti in relation to the theories of Bazin and Zavattini. We will then turn our attention to films by Fellini, Pasolini, and Antonioni, among others, that question or problematize traditional neorealism, from films situated on the boundaries of the tradition, to films said to constitute a break with the tradition, to films that reconsider the tradition from contemporary perspectives. We will conclude the course by considering the impact of neorealism in an international context. 6 cr., AL, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 234. Film Noir: The Dark Side of the American Dream After Americans grasped the enormity of the Depression and World War II, the glossy fantasies of 30s cinema seemed hollow indeed. During the 40s, the movies, our true national pastime, took a nosedive into pessimism. The result? A collection of exceptional films chocked full of tough guys and bad women lurking in the shadows of nasty urban landscapes. This course applies the tools of formal criticism, intellectual history, and feminist theory to films like Double Indemnity, Out of the Past, and Kiss Me Deadly. 6 cr., AL, SpringC. Donelan

CAMS 235. Film and the Melodramatic Imagination Since the 1970s and the advent of feminist film theory and criticism, Hollywood film melodrama has been most closely associated with "pathetic" melodrama­films emphasizing pathos and overwrought emotion, including the woman's film of the 1940s and the family melodrama of the 1950s. More recently, critical attention is being directed at the neglected genre of "sensational" melodrama­films emphasizing moral polarity and sensational action and effects, including the sensational serials of the silent era and the contemporary action film. In this course, we will investigate the films and theories central to our understanding of the "pathetic" and "sensational" melodrama, paying particular attention to the role of gender and affect in the experience of film. 6 cr., AL, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 238. Border Crossings: Postmodern Perspectives on French and German Cinema In this course, we will explore the responses of French and German filmmakers to the challenges facing Europe as it redefined itself throughout the twentieth century. Taking Foucault's and Derrida's theories about the center and the margin as a starting point, we will examine such issues as national identity, marginalization, shifting gender roles and technological change. Filmmakers to be discussed will be Jean-Luc Godard, Jean Renoir, Agnes Varda, Fritz Lang, Rainer W. Fassbinder and Helma Sanders-Brahms. 6 cr., AL, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 240. European Women Filmmakers This course examines European cinema history by way of major women directors through their most influential film(s). Directors include: Notari, Dulac, Preobrazhenskaya, Riefenstahl, Box, Audry, Varda, Holland, Wertmuller, Balasko, Chytilova, Duras, Ackerman, Gorris, Muratova, Potter, Treut, Ottinger, Torres. Readings will parallel film chronology, introducing basic critical concepts and tracing approaches to gender in continental film criticism. 6 cr., AL, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 244. Representing Reality: Nonfiction Film and Video Theorists suggest that as we increasingly become a "screen culture," visual forms of nonfiction-photography, film/TV, video and multimedia are dominant sources of cultural and political definitions. This class reviews the evolution of documentary film and video (with some attention to photography) from Nanook of the North (the first documentary) to Fox TV news. In the modern period we look at emerging forms and issues including Rodney King and the status of visual evidence, mocumentary and docudrama, 50s "mental hygiene" films, and the emerging genre of online documentary. 6 cr., AL, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CAMS 245. Documentary Video: History/Theory/Practice What is a documentary? This course explores the history and theory of documentary practices in film and video: whether and under what conditions documentary might claim to convey knowledge of the world, the implications of cinematic technique and style for documentary representation, and the place of documentary film and video in social and political discourse. The course integrates critical readings and screenings in documentary history and theory with the making of student documentary videos within and against the documentary tradition. 6 cr., ND, SpringM. Griffin

CAMS 252. New Media Seminar: Understanding New Media New Media is the term used to designate new forms and practices in the arts that result from using computers and the internet as tools for creation and display. We will consider challenging new works from the visual and media arts, along examples from music, dance and theater--­including hypertext poetry, cut-and-paste music, digital dance, net.art and artists' video games. 4 cr., AL, FallJ. Schott

CAMS 260. New Media Seminar: Cyberculture: Digital Seeing and Surveillance Digital technologies are transforming the ways we visualize the world. The first half of this course offers a critical overview of the cultural impact and creative possibilities of these new tools by reviewing exemplary projects and associated theory. The second half of the course focuses specifically on digital seeing as surveillance. We will examine projects that implement and critique visual surveillance, and discuss key debates about living in a surveillance society. Students will have the option of doing a creative project based on their emerging critical understanding. 6 cr., AL, FallJ. Schott

CAMS 262. Advanced Editing Techniques Designed as a continuation of Introduction to Video Production, or for students with comparable skills, this five-week course introduces students to new ideas and techniques for creating visual narratives using the advanced resources of Final Cut Pro and selected graphics and digital effects software. Prerequisite: Cinema and Media Studies 111. 3 cr., AL, Fall,WinterP. Hager

CAMS 263. New Media Seminar: Authoring New Media New digital media are changing the way we produce and distribute art and information. In this class we combine critical perspectives with hands-on production using a wide range of new media forms. 6 cr., ND, FallJ. Schott

CAMS 273. We Media: The Personal Media Revolution Explore the "personal media revolution" in theory and practice. After reading critical commentary on how "we media" technologies and practices are transforming the media landscape, we jump in ourselves making weblogs, audioblogs, videoblogs, podcasting, RSS syndication, and more. 6 cr., AL, FallJ. Schott

CAMS 345. Moviegoing and Film Exhibition in America How have the sites where movies are screened, the sorts of entertainment programs offered, and the experience of movie going varied over time and in different locations and communities? In this course, we will familiarize ourselves with the various methodologies for doing film history while researching and writing (or producing in media form) the history of movie culture at the local level, making use of primary sources such as newspapers, interviews, and photographs. 6 cr., AL, WinterC. Donelan


Other Courses Pertinent to Cinema and Media Studies:

ARTH 222 History of Photography

ARTS 238 Photography I

ARTS 350 Advanced Photo: Digital Imaging

ARTS 350 Advanced Photography: Color Photography

ENGL 362 Narrative Theory

FREN 243 Topics in Cultural Studies: Cinema and Society

JAPN 231 Japanese Cinema in Translation

MUSC 115 Music and the Media (Not offered in 2006-2007)

PHIL 395 Film and Emotions

POSC 204 Media and American Politics: Special Election Edition (Not offered in 2006-2007)

RUSS 255 Russian Cinema: History and Theory

SPAN 256 Lorca, Buñuel, and Dalí: Poetry, Film and Painting in Spain