The study of film is primarily concerned with motion picture history, theory and criticism. These areas are approached through intensive critical analysis of individual films, through research into the primary documents of filmmakers and the film industry, and through the construction of theoretical models of film forms and styles, national cinemas, film genres, and the economics of the film industry. Film production is meant primarily for students studying history, theory and criticism as a way to enhance their understanding of the practical decisions filmmakers confront. The program is not designed for students whose sole interest is in film production.

Recent and forthcoming graduate level seminars include:

  • Globalization and French National Cinema (Professor Kelley Conway)
  • Agnès Varda (Conway)
  • Metacritical Poetics (Professor Ben Singer)
  • Documentary Theory (Professor Vance Kepley)
  • Film Stylistics (Professor Lea Jacobs and Emeritus Professor David Bordwell)
  • Film and Allegory (Professor Jeff Smith)
  • Cognition, Emotion, and Evolutionary Aesthetics (Singer)
  • Film Historiography (Kepley)
  • The Hollywood Blacklist (Smith)

Recent and ongoing dissertation topics have examined:

  • Creating a Movement: An Institutional History of New Queer Cinema (Chelsea McCracken)
  • An Aesthetic of Contradictions: Jacques Demy, Choreography, and the Musical Genre (Jenny Oyallon-Koloski)
  • Marketing the Real: The Creation of a Multilayered Market for Documentary Cinema (Nora Stone)
  • Science Fiction and the American Film Industry (Brad Schauer)
  • The Hollywood Social Problem Film (Pearl Latteier)
  • Robert Altman before M*A*S*H (Mark Minett)
  • Stalinist Cinema in the Soviet Union (Maria Belodubrovskaya)
  • The Cinema of Errol Morris (David Resha)
  • The Invention of Robert Bresson: Style and Taste in the French Cultural Market for Quality Cinema, 1934–1959 (Colin Burnett)
  • Eastman Color: Technology and Aesthetics (Heather Heckman)
  • The Experience of Video in American Art of the Seventies (Eric Crosby)

Booth Wilson (2017)
The most European cinema: Yakov Protazanov across borders, 1909-1930
Shenzhen University, China

Chelsea McCracken (2017)
Riding the Gay New Wave into New Queer Cinema: revealing the contexts that created a movement
Beloit College

Derek Long (2017)
Reprogramming the movies: distribution strategy and production planning in the early studio system, 1915-1924
University of Illinois

Jenny Oyallon-Koloski (2017)
An aesthetic of contradictions: Jacques Demy, Choreography, and the musical genre
University of Illinois

Amanda McQueen (2016)
After “the Golden Age”: an industrial history of the Hollywood musical, 1955-1975

John Powers (2016)
Conjuror’s box: technology and aesthetics in postwar American avant-garde cinema
Washington University, St. Louis

Andrea Comiskey (2015)
The Sticks, the Nabes, and the Broadways: U.S. Film Distribution, 1935-1940
Franklin & Marshall College

Heather Heckman (2014)
"Undervalued Stock: Eastman Color's Innovation and Diffusion, 1900-1957"
University of South Carolina

Mark Minett (2013)
"Expanding the Standard Story: Rethinking "Early Altman" and the Elaboration of Classical Hollywood Storytelling"
University of South Carolina

Billy Budd Vermillion (2011)
"Art Cinema in Eastern Europe, 1956-1981"
University of Illinois

Colin Burnett (2011)
"The Invention of Robert Bresson: Style and Taste in the French Cultural Market for Quality Cinema, 1934–1959"
Washington University in St. Louis

Maria Belodubrovskaya (2011)
"Politically Incorrect: Filmmaking under Stalin and the Failure of Power"
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Bradley Schauer (2010)
"Science Fiction and the Exploitation Tradition in Hollywood, 1950-1986"
University of Arizona

David Resha (2010)
"The Cinema of Errol Morris"
Birmingham-Southern College

Charlie Michael (2010)
"French Blockbusters: Globalization, National Cinema and the Discourses of ‘Cultural Diversity.’"

Pearl Latteier (2010)
"The Hollywood Social Problem Film, 1946-1959"
Johnson Health Tech