Students who choose the Critical Studies option immerse themselves in film literature, screenings, conversations, and cultural events that expand their understanding of how films are created, distributed, exhibited and watched. As films can be viewed, interpreted, and appreciated in so many different ways, students learn how to weave together the strands of film history, aesthetic style, and political context as they create their own analysis of films.
As freshmen and sophomores, students explore the terminology, interpretive questions, and conceptual frameworks that help them develop their independent voices as film critics. Through courses that explore film analysis, history, and diversity, Critical Studies students hone their skills in film research, analysis, reading, and writing. Upper division coursework includes continued exploration into the theoretical approaches that are unique to the study of film.
As juniors and seniors, students take seminar courses typically taught by critical studies faculty in their areas of research interest, from East Asian Cinema to Film Sound Criticism to Film and the 1960s. Reading and writing about film studies scholarship in these specialized areas leads to rich dialogues, presentations, and research investigations. These experiences, for Critical Studies students, culminate in a senior project in which students produce scholarly research of their own design.
Some students choose to be “double optioners” who complete both the Production and Critical Studies options. This combination, we believe, has produced students who are extremely knowledgeable and engaged with film production as well as the history and theory of the medium. In response to the success of these students and our desire to further integrate Critical Studies and Production, the double option has inspired the Film Studies faculty to discuss curricular changes for the future.