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  Aug 22, 2017
 
 
    
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Course Catalog 2017-2018

Cinema Studies


Return to: College of Arts and Sciences, Degree Programs and Requirements

E. Grace An, Director, Cinema Studies Program; Associate Professor of Cinema Studies and French
Rian Brown-Orso, Associate Professor of New Media and Cinema Studies
William Patrick Day, Professor of English and Cinema Studies
Kyle Hartzell, Lecturer, Cinema Studies
Burke Hilsabeck, Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies
Jeffrey Pence, Associate Professor of English and Cinema Studies; Chair, English Department
Geoff Pingree, Professor of Cinema Studies and English
 

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Cinema, modern culture’s primary art form, is also the central component of the media traditions and industries that structure contemporary society. We cannot understand fully how music, painting, literature, and other artistic practices have developed without seeing them in relation to cinema, and we cannot begin to comprehend the full significance of the media in our lives without first studying cinema. Movies, as well as novels, magazines, radio broadcasts, television shows, art installations, and the Internet (to name just a few) comprise what we think of, loosely, as media. Each profoundly influences how we understand and experience the actual world; each stands, in some meaningful way, between us and that world – past, present, and future.

Oberlin’s Cinema Studies Program encourages its students to consider cinema and media within this framework and to explore the “in between” – to think, more precisely, about what mediates the relations among authors and readers, artists and audiences, filmmakers and spectators. It encourages them to pursue the meanings of cinema and other media in the broadest, most interdisciplinary ways, considering movies, for example, as works of art, as cultural forms, and as industrial practices.

Cinema and other media are material forces that enable a global exchange of information, ideas and stories. From the Guttenberg press to Kindle wireless reading devices, from Morse Code to short-wave radio broadcasts, from magic lanterns to movie projectors, from typewriters to computer word processors, from town criers to YouTube, media have integrally shaped human history and society.

Students majoring in Cinema Studies explore not only the “how” of this influence (how, for instance, an ancient poem or a contemporary television program is composed, gains influence, and both reflects and shapes social and cultural attitudes and behaviors), but the “what” as well. They study the materials of art and communication – whether as words spoken, texts written, canvases painted, or celluloid exposed to light – that mediate their understanding of the world, of their own experience, of each other. And they consider media’s “how” and “what” in order to enrich their reflection upon its “why” – upon its moral, political, and cultural purposes, justifications, and effects.


PRACTICAL REQUIREMENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Cinema Studies at Oberlin thus addresses the broad processes of critical understanding and creative production that lie at the heart of liberal arts education –  processes that involve paying close attention not only to the values and assumptions we bring to our encounters with different artistic and communicative structures, practices, and artifacts, but also to our engagements with the individuals, communities, and traditions that give them human significance.

We study cinema and other media, in other words, so that we might become more reflective not only about the forms that structure our world, but about our own actions as creators, critics, and consumers of those forms. On the idea that to genuinely understand cinema and other media one must learn to create media forms as well as analyze them, then, majors have the opportunity to enroll in both hands-on media production as well as critical studies courses.

And on the belief that to fully grasp media’s role in structuring social relations and shaping communities one must engage in concrete ways with one’s own community, students have the opportunity to translate their experience with cinema and media into community outreach and service learning through the Apollo Outreach Initiative, a year-round media literacy outreach program housed in Cinema Studies whose central mission is to provide sustainable educational outreach and media literacy opportunities for public school students of all ages.  Through the Program’s AOI Workshop course, students can work with local public elementary, middle, and high school students to help them grow as artists, citizens, and leaders by mentoring them in the use of media, especially film, as a force for local and global education, understanding, community building, and change.  


OVERVIEW OF COURSES

First-Year Seminars

Part of the College’s First-Year Seminar Program, these courses do not count toward the major.  Several are taught by Cinema Studies faculty, however, and in addition to providing foundational learning experiences for first-year students, they provide one means of preparation for the study of cinema.

General Interest Courses

The 100- and 200-level Cinema Studies courses under this heading function in two ways: 1) to serve non-majors, and 2) to provide prospective majors with an introduction to the study of cinema.

Students interested in majoring in Cinema Studies should take at least one General Interest course, taught in Cinema Studies and/or related departments prior to taking the required Cine 290 Introduction to the Advanced Study of Cinema (see below).

This category also includes cross-referenced courses that are offered in other disciplines, such as Africana Studies, East Asian Studies, English, French, German, Hispanic Studies, History, Music History, Philosophy, Russian, and Theater.

General Interest Courses count toward the Cinema Studies major as elective critical studies courses. Only one 100-level General Interest Course may count toward the major. Prerequisites for courses cross-referenced with other departments or programs are noted in the catalog section of the listing department or program.

Introductory Core Courses

The three Introductory Core Courses are designed to introduce students to basic principles, methods, and issues in the critical understanding and creative production of cinema and to the narrative structure that finds unique expression in motion pictures. Together, these courses form an ideal/strong foundation for any student wishing to pursue a more advanced study of cinema and media at Oberlin.

CINE 290 Introduction to the Advanced Study of Cinema is required for all Cinema Studies majors and is a prerequisite for all advanced courses in the major (for those who declared before July 2012, CINE 299 Persistence of Vision fulfills this requirement). Students interested in majoring in Cinema Studies should take CINE 290 during their sophomore year, before they declare the Cinema Studies major, and before studying abroad/away. Students should take at least one General Interest Course (two are recommended) before taking CINE 290. Students may not take CINE 290 in either of their final two semesters at Oberlin and still count it toward the major.

CINE 295 Cinematic Storytelling Workshop, a foundational course that explores narrative and its role in cinema, is not required, but students are encouraged to take it (and take it early in the major). Students are encouraged to take CINE 290 before taking CINE 295.

Production courses are not required for graduation in the major, but students who wish to pursue production within the major must first take CINE 298 Video Production Workshop I, which is a prerequisite for all advanced production courses (see Advanced Courses below for the listing of advanced production courses). Students are encouraged to take at least one General Interest course and/or CINE 290 before enrolling in CINE 298.  Typically students should take only one production course a semester at Oberlin. (students in the Prague, Tisch, or other production programs are exceptions) Production courses are selective and enroll during the first week of classes; interested students should consult with advisors and/or course instructors prior to applying for admission. Production courses require specific equipment and may include lab fees. Students must sign and abide by a Facilities Use Contract to gain access to Cinema Studies production facilities.

Apollo Outreach Initiative Workshop

The AOI Workshop, geared for students who are interested in learning through teaching and community involvement, is specially designed to prepare majors to participate in the Apollo Outreach Initiative (AOI). Students may enroll in the AOI Workshop as many times as they wish, but they may count it towards the major only once as a 200-level elective. 

Students taking the AOI Workshop for the first time must register for the full course (CINE 284F). Students repeating the AOI Workshop are encouraged to register for the half course (CINE 284H).

Successful completion of CINE 284F is required for students who wish to work as staff at the Apollo Outreach Initiative’s Summer Media Workshop.

Advanced Courses

Advanced Courses are classes taught by Cinema Studies faculty at the 300 level. Although additional prerequisites vary (see course descriptions for details), all Advanced Courses require CINE 290, and all Advanced Courses that are also production courses require CINE 298 as well. Many Advanced Courses require consent of the instructor. Majors must take at least four Advanced Courses to graduate, three of which must be taught by the Cinema Studies faculty (the fourth may be from a study-away program); and at least two must be in critical studies, not production courses

All graduating Cinema Studies seniors may submit senior projects in production or critical studies to be considered for award recognition at the end of their senior year.

Major


To graduate in Cinema Studies, students must take nine full course equivalents (thirty-six credits) in Cinema Studies, including:

  • CINE 290 Introduction to the Advanced Study of Cinema, which should be taken during the sophomore year, before declaration of the Cinema Studies major, and before studying abroad/away, and which may not be taken in either of the final two semesters at Oberlin and still count toward the major;
  • at least four 300-level courses taught by the Cinema Studies faculty; two of these must be critical studies courses; one 300-level course can be a production course in an approved study away program;
  • four electives chosen by the student in consultation with his or her advisor; these courses may be taught by Cinema Studies faculty or by faculty in related departments.

Courses in which a student has earned a letter grade lower than a C- cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of the major. Grades of P can fulfill some major requirements but should be taken sparingly.

Film Production


To allow students the opportunity to explore the various dimensions of cinema and to become familiar with a broad spectrum of media, the Cinema Studies curriculum includes production as well as critical studies courses.

Our production and post-production facilities, most of which are housed at the renovated Apollo Theater, include fully outfitted shooting studios with green screen and professional lighting capabilities, an equipment Depot that lends to students a wide range of digital video, HD,  Super 8, and (Bolex and Arriflex) 16mm film cameras, tripods, digital audio recording tools, projectors, Blu-ray decks, and more. The Apollo also includes a flatwork and animation suite and advanced sound recording equipment, booths, and studios. Our editing lab is fully equipped with Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, ProTools, and other post-production software. There is a vast collection of DVDs and films housed in the Oberlin Library system that are available to students for classes and research.

Students in production courses are required to purchase their own external hard drives and A/V supplies, including tape stock, memory cards, and DVDs.  Production courses require a lab fee.  In addition, students must sign and abide by a Facilities Use Contract to gain access to Cinema Studies production facilities.

Fall Semester at Prague Film School, Prague, Czech Republic


The Cinema Studies Program has a consortial arrangement with the Prague Film School. Students interested in the fall semester at PFS should consult with the Director of Cinema Studies, or his or her designate.  Both CINE 290 and CINE 298 should be taken before studying abroad.  All film courses offered at PFS, including those in film production, may count toward the Cinema Studies major.  Students may earn up to 14 credits during a semester at PFS, which will count as electives towards the Cinema Studies major.  In addition, students may substitute these credits for one 300-level production course for the major.

Spring Semester at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts


The Cinema Studies Program has a consortial arrangement with the Film Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Students interested in the spring semester at Tisch should consult with the Director of Cinema Studies, or his or her designate.  Both CINE 290 and CINE 298 should be taken before studying away.  All film courses offered at Tisch, including those in film production, may count toward the Cinema Studies major.  Students may earn up to 14 credits during a semester at Tisch, which will count as electives towards the Cinema Studies major.  In addition, students may substitute these credits for one 300-level production course for the major.

Transfer of Credit


No more than four full courses or the equivalent of transfer credit may be applied to the Oberlin Cinema Studies major. No more than one 300-level course may be transferred for credit. For approval of transfer credit toward the major and/or toward meeting prerequisites for upper-level courses, students should consult with the Director of Cinema Studies (or his or her designate), preferably with syllabi in hand.

Winter Term


Winter Term projects will be sponsored by Cinema Studies faculty according to their interests and availability. Students are encouraged to propose group projects that, with an approved sponsor, they will direct.

First-Year Seminar Program


First-Year Seminars do not count toward the major. Cinema Studies faculty teach several of these small, intensive courses, however (FYSP 128 Media and Memory, FYSP 157 The Sense of Time and Place, and FYSP 171 Media and Meaning are examples).  They provide one means of preparation for the study of cinema, and are invaluable to first-year students in the College as they develop skills in critical and creative thinking, reading, viewing, analysis, writing and discussion.

General Interest Courses


The 100- and 200-level Cinema Studies courses under this heading function in two ways: 1) to serve non-majors, and 2) to provide prospective majors with an introduction to the study of cinema.

As part of the Cinema Studies major, students must take at least one General Interest Course (two are recommended) prior to taking the required CINE 290 Introduction to the Advanced Study of Cinema (see below).

This category also includes cross-referenced courses that are offered in other disciplines, such as Africana Studies, East Asian Studies, English, French, German, Hispanic Studies, History, Music History, Philosophy, Russian, and Theatre. 

General Interest Courses count toward the Cinema Studies major as elective critical studies courses. Only one 100-level General Interest Course may count toward the major.  Prerequisites for courses cross-referenced with other departments or programs are noted in the catalog section of the listing department or program.

Introductory Core Courses


The three Introductory Core Courses are designed to introduce students to basic principles, methods, and issues in the critical understanding and creative production of cinema and to the narrative structure that finds unique expression in motion pictures. Together, these courses form an ideal/strong foundation for any student wishing to pursue a more advanced study of cinema and media at Oberlin.

CINE 290 Introduction to the Advanced Study of Cinema is required for all Cinema Studies majors and is a prerequisite for all advanced courses in the major (for those who declared before July 2012, CINE 299 Persistence of Vision, fulfills this requirement). Students should take at least one General Interest Course (two are recommended)  before taking CINE 290.  CINE 290 should be taken 1) during the sophomore year, 2) before declaring the major, and 3) before studying abroad/away.  CINE 290 may not be taken in either of the final two semesters at Oberlin and still count toward the major.

CINE 295 Cinematic Storytelling Workshop, a foundational course that explores narrative and its role in cinema, is not required, but students are encouraged to take it (and take it early in the major). Students are encouraged to take CINE 290 before taking CINE 295.

Production courses are not required for graduation in the major. After taking at least one General Interest Course (two are recommended), students who wish to pursue production must begin with CINE 298 Video Production Workshop I, which is a prerequisite for all advanced production courses (see Advanced Courses below for listings of advanced production courses). Students may take no more than one production course in a given semester at Oberlin (students in the Prague, Tisch, or other production programs are exempt). Production courses are selective and enroll during the first week of classes; interested students should consult with advisors and/or course instructors prior to applying for admission. Production courses require specific equipment and include lab fees. In addition, students must sign and abide by a Facilities Use Contract to gain access to Cinema Studies production facilitites. 

Recommended preparation for CINE 295: CINE 290

Recommended preparation for CINE 290 and 298: at least one General Interest Courses (two are preferred)

Apollo Outreach Initiative Workshop


The AOI Workshop, geared for students who are interested in learning through teaching and community involvement, is specially designed to prepare majors to participate in the Apollo Outreach Initiative (AOI).  Students may enroll in the AOI Workshop as many times as they wish, but they may count it towards the major only once (either as a 200-level elective, if taken once, or as a 300-level production course, if taken more than once).

Students taking the AOI Workshop for the first time must register for the full course (CINE 284F). Students repeating the AOI Workshop are encouraged to register for the half course (CINE 284H).

Successful completion of CINE 284F is required for students who wish to work as staff at the Apollo Outreach Initiative’s Summer Media Workshop.

Advanced Courses


Advanced Courses are classes taught by Cinema Studies faculty at the 300 level.  Majors must take at least four Advanced Courses to graduate, three of which must be taught by the Cinema Studies faculty (the fourth may be from a study-away program); and at least two must be in critical studies, not production courses. Many Advanced Courses require consent of the instructor. 

All graduating Cinema Studies seniors may submit senior projects in production or critical studies to be considered for award recognition at the end of their senior year.

Prerequisite for Advanced Courses that are also critical studies courses: CINE 290 or consent of instructor.

Prerequisites for Advanced Courses that are also production courses: CINE 290, CINE 298, and consent of instructor.

Private Readings


Private Readings are available to junior and senior majors who have completed introductory coursework in the Program.  Students seeking to arrange Private Readings should contact professors directly.

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