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)

Brandon Colvin (2018)
Making It Real: Performance Styles and Contexts in Contemporary American Microbudget Cinema
University of Arkansas-Little Rock

Matt Connolly (2018)
Underground Exploiteer: John Waters and the Development of a Directorial Brand, 1964-1981
Minnesota State University, Mankato 

Eric Dienstfrey (2018)
The Stereo Impulse: High Fidelity Cinema and the Making of Modern Surround Sound Aesthetics
University of Texas-Austin

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

Chelsea McCracken (2017)
Riding the Gay New Wave into New Queer Cinema: revealing the contexts that created a movement
State University of New York, Oneonta

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

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

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

Maria Belodubrovskaya (2011)
Politically Incorrect: Filmmaking under Stalin and the Failure of Power
Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago

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

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

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

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

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