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Film and Screen Studies Track

From movie theaters to TV sets to smartphones, our contemporary world abounds in screens filled with moving images. The Film and Screen Studies Track in the English and Textual Studies major allows you to explore the rich and diverse histories of such “screen culture” and to develop the skills to interpret it. In our increasingly mediated world, the critical ability to analyze screen-based media—film, video, television, or digital games—has become a valuable skill for many professions and fields of study.

Our courses in film and screen studies examine the cultural, social, and political contexts of these media forms and texts, using a range of critical, theoretical, and historical approaches to study them.

ETS offers five lower-division courses designed to develop foundational skills in film and screen studies: ETS 154 Interpretation of Film, ETS 145 Reading Popular Culture, ETS 146 Interpretation of New Media, ETS 170 American Cinema, and ETS 171 World Cinema. At the upper-division level, our courses range from the study of specific genres and traditions — such as Classical Hollywood, documentary film, and digital games — to the exploration of important concepts in screen culture — such as nation, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, time, performance, and witnessing.

The wider ETS curriculum provides ample opportunities to explore the longer histories of performance, sound, narrative, poetics, and genre that have informed and shaped screen media in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The Film and Screen Studies track develops analytical and writing skills around film and screen media that are critical to a range of professions and careers, including arts criticism, advertising, media advocacy, media law, media management and production, film sales and distribution, game development and research, market research, librarianship and curation, archiving and preservation, publishing, and teaching.

Opportunities in Film and Screen Studies

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Once a month the Department of English organizes a film screening club for students interested in expanding their cinema knowledge, discussing movies, and eating pizza. The selection of films is guided by student input, with past films including Oscar-nominated shorts, the documentary I Am Not Your Negro, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Majors and non-majors should contact Steven Doles at smdoles@syr.edu if they are interested in attending.

Syracuse University also allows students to learn about film and media outside of a traditional classroom setting. The annual Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival exhibits award-winning films addressing social justice issues around the globe, while the Digital Scholarship Space provides a central, configurable classroom for the development and study of digital media and video games. Students who choose to write distinction papers or pursue Honors Program Capstone Projects have the opportunity to conduct library research in the Special Collections Research Center, where they can explore a treasure trove of primary material from holdings such as Cartoons and CartoonistsBroadcasting HistoryRecorded Sound and Music, and Pulp Literature and Science Fiction.