Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2016

Published In

Introduction To Film And Media Studies


Introduction To Film And Media Studies course description:
The invention of cinema at the end of the 19th century and the rapid developments of digital technologies most noticeable in our increased use of social networking tools on mini-screens mark a period in which communications technology shaped and shape our world and moving images evolved from the photographic to the digital. This course explores the specificity, history, and function of media forms, focusing on the language of cinema and the critical repertoire of film/media theories. As an art, a text, a technology, a commercial product, a psychological experience, and a social practice, cinema presents fascinating contradictions for study. This lecture/discussion course, intended as a general introduction and as the first credit towards a minor or a major in Film and Media Studies, has two basic goals. First, it will develop skills in film analysis. You will become fluent in the vocabulary of film form and learn to construct an argument about what a film's sounds and images mean and how it structures and achieves its meanings. Second, it will provide an introduction to the theories, methods, and concerns of film and media studies as a discipline, preparing you for further work in the field. The course will emphasize specific aspects of film style and narrative form through analysis of scenes from the films screened each week and from a range of outside examples. Each week will introduce historical, cultural and theoretical topics relevant to the films shown while focusing on the films' self-reflexivity of their medium, and considering the politics of image-making from the postwar period to today.

Funding Agency

Swarthmore College Provost Office

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


Professor Sunka Simon was awarded a Digital Humanities Curricular Grant from the Provost's Office for use in her fall 2016 course, Introduction To Film And Media Studies (FMST 01). The course syllabus, assignment instructions, and completed student examples are made freely available here courtesy of the author.