Film Studies offers an array of special topics courses each semester. Check out our poster and see below for more details.
FS 101 Introduction to Film Studies
Learn the basics of film history and analysis with this engaging introductory course. Students will learn the skills needed to think critically and write analytically about the cinema by studying a wide variety of films from across the globe.
FS 235 Classical Hollywood Film History
This course will examine the history of Hollywood during the studio era, 1920-1960, focusing on artistic, technical, and economic developments. Readings and writing assignments will give students the ability to grasp the intersections between these three areas. Because it is a class on film history, there will be two major assignments using primary sources: a studio profile and an exhibition history of a town in the United States. These assignments have been created to allow us to examine the relationships between production, distribution, and exhibition and to understand the varied ways in which Hollywood films were viewed.
FS 250 / LAS 332 Latin American Film
This course introduces students to the major films and cinematic trends of twentieth and twenty-first century Latin America. Students will examine how the films emerge from their specific national contexts but also from a shared regional/Latin American experience. Through a range of commercial and non-commercial films from Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America, we will analyze how Latin American cinema interpreted or reacted to major historical and political issues of the region including revolutions, military dictatorships, drug trafficking, urban violence, and border-crossings. The course will also offer an overview of the development (or underdevelopment) of national film industries in contemporary times. Students will acquire an understanding of the major issues and topics of Latin American cinema, its film industries, and contemporary Latin American history.
FS 251 Japanese Anime
A study of Japanese anime (animation) from its origins to the present, with particular focus on its socio-historical context. Included in the course will be anime made by such directors as Tezuka Osamu, Miyazaki Hayao, Otomo Katsuhiro, Takahashi Rumiko, Matsumoto Leiji, Anno Hideaki, Rintaro, Kon Satoshi, Takahata Isao, and Oshii Mamoru. Both short-form and feature-length anime will be considered, as well as representative works from various genres, including mecha, romance, historical, and supernatural. The connections between manga and anime will be addressed, as will various aspects of anime production, technology, economics, and distribution. Among the questions raised in the course will be: (1) How do anime address what it means to be Japanese, and to be growing up and living in Japanese society, and (2) How do anime address what it means to be human, as opposed to, for example, a cyborg or a mutant? The course is taught in English, and all films have English subtitles.
FS 252 Queer Cinema
Queer Cinema traces work by queer filmmakers working within the Hollywood studio system, on its periphery, and in the global context beyond it. Students will examine how Hollywood filmmakers were able to subvert cinematic codes to tell stories that remained unrecognized by dominant ideology in films like Queen Christina or A Florida Enchantment, how gay filmmakers like Kenneth Anger used popular music and imagery to express desire, and how queer art cinema established a canon with films like Happy Together and Paris is Burning. The course is linked to the International Film Festival, in which films in each of the six languages taught at Ursinus are shown. Therefore, students will gain an understanding of queer cinema in a global context, and reflect on the role of film festivals in setting a trajectory for this cinema and disseminating new voices.