Cinema and Media Studies Pedagogy
by
Paul McEwan
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0135

Introduction

Film pedagogy is an underdeveloped field of study. While there are a wide range of books and resources available for teaching English, mathematics, and other subjects, there are relatively few for teaching film. In addition, areas like literary pedagogy or second language acquisition are full-fledged subfields, in which it is possible, for example, to earn a PhD. To acquire that status an area of study needs to have a range of positions staked out, primary research on teaching methods and their effectiveness, and a critical mass of instructors. At the moment, film studies has only the last of these three requirements. To be fair, it is important to acknowledge the considerable Atlantic divide when it comes to film pedagogy. The United Kingdom has had a very different experience, with considerable research on pedagogy beginning in the 1970s. In some ways, however, this initial flurry of activity has quieted. For example, the journal Screen Education was published between 1959 and 1968, and again between 1971 and 1982, but it is no longer a going concern. Film and media education has long been a part of the British education system, particularly at the secondary level, in a way that it rarely is in the United States, although at least some American schools are now adding courses. Although film pedagogy does not exist as a proper subfield, there are some good resources for new and established instructors alike. Many of the available materials are designed for instructors who have no previous training or background in film. While some of those contributions are included here, the emphasis is on works written by and for film scholars. There are two reasons for this choice. First, many of the books and essays for nonspecialists imply that one can be a decent film instructor by reading this single book or resource, or at least that there are no downsides to adding a new medium to your teaching repertoire with minimal preparation. Second, many of these works do not teach film as film, but as simply another kind of narrative storytelling. Teaching “film as film” need not mean an exclusive emphasis on the formal elements of cinema, like cinematography ormise-en-scène, but it does mean taking advantage of a century of serious thinking about what cinema is and how it functions. The academic study of cinema has grown very quickly since the 1970s, so quickly that there has been little time for reflection about pedagogical methods or goals. This seems likely to change as cinema studies moves past its institutional adolescence and into the privileges and duties of disciplinary adulthood.

General Overviews

Since the scholarship on film pedagogy is so limited, existing works can take on an outsize influence. Fortunately, the remarkable growth of film studies as an academic discipline since the late 1990s has been accompanied by a corresponding increase in the number of essays and resources dedicated to pedagogy, a development that seems likely to continue. Much of this work has been supported by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), which now has a committee on teaching and provides frequent opportunities for teachers to exchange ideas at its conferences. Some of these presentations have found their way into print or online, making them available to a much wider audience. In the earlier years of film studies, much of the discussion about pedagogy was centered on the importance and value of teaching film, which made sense for a field that was still trying to justify its existence in the academy. Now that the stature of film studies is more assured, the discussion has been able to shift from why teach film to what is the best way to teach film.

Overview Essays

Fischer and Petro 2012 is the only relatively complete attempt by film scholars to analyze the study of film in depth. This is not to say the collection is flawless, as some of the contributions neglect to discuss either students or classrooms. Cinema Journal has featured articles on pedagogy since the earliest days of its existence, and it has included special sections on teaching frequently since the early 2000s. These have formed a crucial supplement to the relatively few books on teaching cinema. Recent contributions include Spence 2004, McEwan 2007, Sandler 2009, and Hovet and Lathrop 2011. Hovet 2006 connects film pedagogy to historical film exhibition. Ritterbusch 2009 is somewhat uneven but inherently practical in its approach, while Grant 1983 is primarily focused on curriculum design and surprisingly relevant after more than thirty years.

  • Fischer, Lucy, and Patrice Petro, eds. Teaching Film. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2012.

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    This is the only recent and comprehensive attempt to offer resources for film teachers, and as such it is completely indispensable. Since Fischer and Petro are both film scholars of significant renown, they have the expertise to identify relevant issues in the classroom, and they have assembled a first-rate group of contributors, thirty-five in all, who offer advice on teaching in a range of subdisciplines, from Japanese cinema to film sound.

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    • Grant, Barry Keith, ed. Film Study in the Undergraduate Curriculum. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1983.

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      Grant’s groundbreaking collection is, as the title suggests, concerned with the structure of film studies courses and programs within various academic environments. Despite the age of the collection, scholars who find themselves the only “film person” in a department or college will find plenty of support and ideas here.

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      • Hovet, Ted. “The Teacher as Exhibitor: Pedagogical Lessons from Early Film Exhibition.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 6.2 (2006): 327–335.

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        By connecting the teacher’s role to historical models of exhibition, including early film lectures and Japanese benshi, Hovet forces us to consider the positive and negative similarities between film teaching and models of entertainment.

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        • Hovet, Ted, and Elizabeth Lathrop, eds. “Mini-Dossier: Teaching Our Research . . . and Researching Our Teaching.” Cinema Journal 50.3 (Spring 2011): 83–96.

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          A collection of short essays on pedagogy in a variety of postsecondary teaching environments. The contribution by Frank Tomasulo, “Researching Your Teaching: A Mini-Manifesto,” is particularly useful for encouraging scholars to rethink the relationship between the two poles of their work.

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          • McEwan, Paul, ed. “In Focus: Teaching ‘Difficult’ Films.” Cinema Journal 47.1 (Fall 2007): 93–116.

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            This special section of Cinema Journal was intended to function as a kind of “advanced” lesson in film pedagogy, and focuses on particularly troublesome classroom challenges: race, gender, the avant-garde, exploitation films, “indecipherable” films, and films far removed from most students’ experience (e.g., Bollywood). The short essays tackle each of these challenges in turn, providing effective advice for approaching these films in the classroom.

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            • Ritterbusch, Rachel S., ed. Practical Approaches to Teaching Film. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2009.

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              A short but wide-ranging collection of articles based directly on the authors’ experiences teaching various film-related courses. Many articles contain syllabi, assignments, and honest assessments of what has worked in classrooms and what has not.

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              • Sandler, Kevin, ed. “Teaching Dossier: Assignment Design.” Cinema Journal 48.3 (Spring 2009): 73–101.

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                Firmly practical in its approach, this dossier of short essays offers concrete examples, including essay prompts, that film teachers can use in the classroom.

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                • Spence, Louise, ed. “In Focus: Teaching 9/11.” Cinema Journal 43.2 (Winter 2004): 90–126.

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                  This special section includes more than just film studies, and the range of thoughtful responses to the challenge of teaching film and media after 9/11 make this a valuable contribution. Many of the short essays deal with notions of cinematic and historical truth, while others are concerned with questions of trauma. B. Ruby Rich’s essay, “After the Fall: Cinema Studies Post 9/11,” is a discussion of a classroom “reexamination of films that represent, counter, or analyze earlier moments of national trauma or historical redefinition” (p. 111).

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                  Reference Resources

                  The four websites listed here provide a broader range of resources for teachers, including links to syllabi, curriculum plans, and basic vocabulary lessons. The Teaching Media site is relatively new, but it is adding resources at a substantial pace and is quickly becoming essential. The Teaching Resources page on the Society for Cinema and Media Studies website provides a series of links, some more useful than others. It has been replaced to some extent by the excellent and growing Teaching Media site. Although dated, one of the most useful is Yale Film Studies: Film Analysis Web Site, which offers accessible vocabulary for teachers and undergraduates alike. With its collection of syllabi and directory of film studies programs, Screensite is essential for anyone designing a new curriculum.

                  • Screensite.

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                    The “On Education” section of this site contains links to college programs in film and textbooks, but most useful are the hundreds on online syllabi for courses in film, television, gender studies, and digital humanities and new media.

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                    • Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Teaching Resources.

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                      This collection of weblinks is not always updated, but when the links work the site does provide a starting point for web resources on film teaching.

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                      • Teaching Media.

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                        A relatively new collaborative website that offers sample syllabi, assignment ideas, and teaching dossiers on special topics. It is growing quickly and is already the best single source for teaching-related materials for film and other media on the web. In addition to user-submitted classroom materials, it features longer “Teaching Dossiers” on specific problems under the imprimatur of Cinema Journal and is the home of the online journal Teaching Media Quarterly.

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                        • Yale Film Studies: Film Analysis Website 2.0.

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                          This website is not updated frequently, but it provides a reasonable introduction to basic film vocabulary, with film clips available as appropriate.

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                          Textbooks

                          There is no academic subfield of “film pedagogy” in the way that second language acquisition is a recognized subfield, with its own periodicals and debates. To the extent that there are any published debates on how to teach cinema, the arguments are presented in the form of competing introductory textbooks. This is not to suggest that every textbook is primarily an argument about pedagogy. The variety of texts likely has more to do with a desire for market share among publishers than it has to do with polarized debates among scholars and teachers. There are, however, some fundamental differences in textbook approaches that reflect competing ideas about what cinema is and how it should be taught. Most introductory textbooks begin with discussions of the formal elements of cinema, arguing that it is this language that most distinguishes film study from the study of other art forms. Since nearly all students have done some literary study, they usually arrive more adept at talking about narrative and theme than mise-en-scène or editing. Starting with form thus has the effect of making film unfamiliar, and forcing students to rethink their already lifelong relationship with cinema. If they have a vocabulary to talk about form before they turn to narrative or theme, they are better able to describe the ways in which films create impressions in the viewer without seeing films as transparent windows into fictional worlds. In contrast, other critics have made the point that beginning with an emphasis on form leads students to think about film as too far removed from the social context of its production. If formal elements are the foundations of film study, in this view, we are more likely to continue to think of form as the most important facet of a film, and more likely to downplay or ignore cinema’s functions in society more broadly. Thus, it makes sense to emphasize the social from the outset and let students pick up the vocabulary along the way.

                          Primarily Formal Approaches

                          The most popular textbook is undoubtedly the form-oriented Bordwell and Thompson 2013, now in its tenth edition. Others built on a model similar to Bordwell and Thompson are Barsam and Monahan 2012, Corrigan and White 2012, Pramaggiore and Wallis 2011, and Giannetti 2014. Sikov 2010 is a shorter text that would work as a supplement in a course that is not an introduction to film.

                          • Barsam, Richard, and Dave Monahan. Looking at Movies: An Introduction to Film. 4th ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 2012.

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                            Even more focused on film form than Bordwell and Thompson 2013, but with a strong chapter on film technology and production, as well as plenty of color illustrations. Available with a DVD supplement and a short guide, Writing about Movies, written by Karen Gocsik and Barsam.

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                            • Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson. Film Art. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013.

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                              The most popular text, for good reason, Film Art is primarily formal in its approach, but with strong sections on genre, documentary and avant-garde films, and film history. Its numerous revisions have left it clear and concise, with many up-to-date examples from current films.

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                              • Corrigan, Timothy, and Patricia White. The Film Experience: An Introduction. 3d ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2012.

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                                A very complete text in which the formal discussions are supplemented by chapters on the “organizational structures” of fiction and nonfiction films. Its greatest strengths are a chapter on film theory, a subject generally not included in such texts, and a final chapter on writing a film essay.

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                                • Giannetti, Louis. Understanding Movies. 13th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2014.

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                                  Primarily formal in approach, but what makes it particularly appealing is that most concepts are explained in short text boxes that focus on a particular film, accompanied by a relevant still picture. These descriptions are well written and clear and likely to spur students to watch films on their own.

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                                  • Pramaggiore, Maria, and Tom Wallis. Film: A Critical Introduction. 3d ed. Boston: Pearson, 2011.

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                                    In addition to the formal sections, a third of the book is titled “Cinema and Culture” and covers social context, ideology, stardom, genre, authorship, and industry.

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                                    • Sikov, Ed. Film Studies: An Introduction. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.

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                                      Perhaps a bit thin for a full-semester Intro to Film class, Sikov’s book is an excellent choice for a course where students need to learn film vocabulary quickly before moving onto the main topic of the course, such as a particular genre or national cinema.

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                                      Other Approaches

                                      None of these texts eschew the teaching of formal vocabulary, but several attempt, in various ways, to make form less central to the introductory film course, with the goal of making film study more focused on the social context and impact of filmmaking. Nichols 2010 includes all of the relevant vocabulary of cinematography (mise-en-scène, etc.), but tries to integrate the social aspects of cinema more forcefully. Lehman and Luhr 2008 is, like Nichols, focused on nonformal elements of cinema. Nelmes 2012 is much broader than the various American entries, while Geiger and Rutsky 2005 is better described as a collection of introductory essays than a traditional textbook.

                                      • Geiger, Jeffrey, and R. L. Rutsky. Film Analysis: A Norton Reader. New York: W. W. Norton, 2005.

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                                        This is a collection of essays on individual films, many written by prominent scholars including Tom Gunning on A Trip to the Moon, Chris Faulkner on The Rules of the Game, and Jane Feuer on Singin’ in the Rain. A helpful reference book or supplement, its usefulness as a primary text would depend on how many of the included films are part of the course.

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                                        • Lehman, Peter, and William Luhr. Thinking about Movies. 3d ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.

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                                          Although they do not avoid formal analysis, Lehman and Luhr build their text around race, gender, social class, sexuality, and the auteur theory. The book also includes a useful chapter on “Series, Sequels, and Remakes.”

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                                          • Nelmes, Jill, ed. An Introduction to Film Studies. 5th ed. Abingdon, UK, and New York: Routledge, 2012.

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                                            The least US-centric of the major textbooks, Nelmes’s textbook has been expanded in recent years to include a chapter on cinema of the African diaspora, including African American cinema. This complements strong offerings on Indian, Latin American, and British cinema.

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                                            • Nichols, Bill. Engaging Cinema. New York: W. W. Norton, 2010.

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                                              An attempt to move film study away from formalism, in which Nichols concentrates on cultural analysis and approaches based in semiotics. The book has no frame enlargements or illustrations.

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                                              Film Writing

                                              Corrigan and White 2012 (cited under Primarily Formal Approaches) already includes a chapter on film writing, one that Corrigan 2011 expands significantly. Gocsik, et al. 2013 is a supplement to Barsam and Monahan 2012 (cited under Primarily Formal Approaches), but it also works on its own. Becker 2009 and Kern 2009 are both part of an excellent Cinema Journal dossier on assignment design (Sandler 2009, cited under Overview Essays).

                                              • Becker, Christine. “Defamiliarizing and Refamiliarizing Film and Television Texts.” Cinema Journal 48.3 (Spring 2009): 90–94.

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                                                Becker summarizes some of the writing prompts she gives her students to make the familiar unfamiliar, and vice versa. These include writing through the eyes of someone in the past or the future, or writing from the perspective of an archivist, filmmaker, or critic.

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                                                • Corrigan, Timothy. A Short Guide to Writing about Film. 8th ed. Harlow, UK: Longman, 2011.

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                                                  A remarkably thorough guide to film writing for undergraduates that could serve students over multiple years. As with many textbooks, the primary weakness is the high cost. Students would be just as well served by slightly older and cheaper editions.

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                                                  • Gocsik, Karen, Richard Barsam, and Dave Monahan. Writing about Movies. 3d ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 2013.

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                                                    A bit more of a general essay-writing guide than Corrigan 2011, with less film-specific information. Key advantage is that it is much cheaper.

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                                                    • Kern, Anne. “Spinning the Well-Wrought Urn: Developing Successful Course Assignments.” Cinema Journal 48.3 (Spring 2009): 74–79.

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                                                      In this short essay, Kern describes compelling assignments she has used in her courses, including screening journals that require students to write about the context of their film viewership, and weekly film reviews that are peer edited.

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                                                      Film History

                                                      One of the conundrums of teaching film history is figuring out how much students should know about films they will not see in class. In most survey courses, students watch one feature per week once the course moves past about 1915, and of course they must understand the ways in which those films are or are not representative of the time and place in which they were produced. This can lead to textbooks that are filled with endless lists of film titles, few of which students can remember or use. Such texts are often great reference books for instructors, but they are less useful to students, who have trouble figuring out what is important. Compare this to the typical approach in literature survey courses, where students read the primary literature and some secondary scholarship, but almost never a textbook that tries to summarize all the books written in an era. As a relatively young discipline, film studies is still figuring out its own canon, its own history, and appropriate pedagogical methods, making it a challenging but exciting subject to teach.

                                                      Survey Course Textbooks

                                                      Most undergraduate film curricula offer film history as a two-semester sequence that is divided chronologically, with the dividing line around 1950. Even with a full academic year, these courses generally feel rushed and superficial. It is probably best not to depend too heavily on a single textbook, and to supplement with relevant essays on history and theory to provide depth, while using the textbook for the “big picture.” Thompson and Bordwell 2009 is the most complete undergraduate textbook, including sections on documentary, avant-garde, and international cinema, although teachers who are skeptical about the formalist approach of the authors’ Film Art textbook (Bordwell and Thompson 2013, cited under Primarily Formal Approaches) will likely have the same concern here. Cook 2004 narrows the focus to narrative cinema, but is still heavy on lists of names. Texts that emphasize their relative brevity are Mast and Kawin 2011, Giannetti and Eyman 2010, and Gomery and Pafort-Overduin 2011. Nowell-Smith 1996 is somewhat dated now, but it features some excellent individual essays. Lewis 2008 and Belton 2012 are strong entries for courses on American cinema. For instructors in the United States, it is difficult to justify limiting a film history course to American films, since these are what students already know best. Instructors in American Studies, or teachers in other countries, might have more reason to offer an exclusively American course.

                                                      • Belton, John. American Cinema, American Culture. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012.

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                                                        Still organized chronologically, but more thematic than Lewis 2008. Belton also includes enough film vocabulary instruction for the book to form the basis of a cinema course in American studies.

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                                                        • Cook, David A. A History of Narrative Film. 4th ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 2004.

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                                                          Less comprehensive than Thompson and Bordwell 2009, Cook’s volume drops the avant-garde and documentary films to simplify the focus. And while clearer than Thompson and Bordwell 2009, some sections are still heavy slogging for students.

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                                                          • Giannetti, Louis, and Scott Eyman. Flashback: A Brief History of Film. 6th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2010.

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                                                            A much quicker survey of relevant films, with the innovative idea to include short boxed summaries of major films as a way to clarify important titles. Narrative in focus, with no color illustrations.

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                                                            • Gomery, Douglas, and Clara Pafort-Overduin. Movie History: A Survey. 2d ed. New York: Routledge, 2011.

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                                                              Short and well illustrated, Movie History is ideal for a one-semester survey course. Instructors are likely to find it thin in the second (post-1950) half of a traditional survey.

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                                                              • Lewis, Jon. American Film: A History. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008.

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                                                                A clearly written survey that is particularly strong in its analysis of American cinema since the 1960s, an area in which Lewis has considerable expertise and draws on his own research.

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                                                                • Mast, Gerald, and Bruce F. Kawin. A Short History of the Movies. 11th ed. Boston: Longman, 2011.

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                                                                  Mast and Kawin try to move some of the film lists to the ends of chapters as “further viewing,” which helps streamline the text. Also available as an “Abridged Edition” (2011) that is less than 500 pages.

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                                                                  • Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey, ed. The Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

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                                                                    The strength of this collection is the caliber of the individual contributors, which makes it more useful for individual essays than as a student textbook.

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                                                                    • Thompson, Kristin, and David Bordwell. Film History: An Introduction. 3d ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009.

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                                                                      Rich and comprehensive, this is clearly the best-written history of cinema. As a textbook for lower-level undergraduates, though, it can be overwhelming.

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                                                                      Film Historiography

                                                                      Arguments about the status of history in film study are as broad and contested as those in the field of history itself. Allen and Gomery 1985 is still the best introduction to the context of these arguments, and it could be used by students, although likely not in an introductory or survey course. Tomasulo 2001 is a short “how-to” for teaching survey courses.

                                                                      • Allen, Robert C., and Douglas Gomery. Film History: Theory and Practice. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985.

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                                                                        Ideal for upper-level undergraduates and beginning graduate students, this book lays out competing epistemological positions in the study of history and relates them to the particularities of cinema study, offering concise examples and describing a wide range of methodologies.

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                                                                        • Tomasulo, Frank. “What ‘Kind’ of Film History Do We Teach?: The Introductory Survey Course as a Pedagogical Opportunity.” Cinema Journal 41.1 (Fall 2001): 110–114.

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                                                                          Tomasulo lays out the broad range of methodological approaches and critical perspectives that can undergird a film history course, and he argues that students benefit when exposed to as many of these approaches and perspectives as possible.

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                                                                          Film Theory

                                                                          Film studies is a relatively unique discipline in that film theory courses are often offered at the end of undergraduate programs rather than in the first or second year of studies, as is common in other humanities and social science fields. This seems to be a by-product of cinema studies’ development in the midst of psychoanalytic, semiotic, and critical theory in the 1970s, which makes many key texts difficult for students to read and understand. Good textbooks are therefore essential. One of the few articles on teaching film theory is Branigan 2012, which nicely balances a meta-explanation of theory with practical classroom advice. Rather than providing a selection of theories to be taught, Branigan 2012 considers what it means to teach theory, and how best to approach it. Textbooks that explain theory for undergraduates include Stam 2000 and Elsaesser and Hagener 2009, while Casetti 1999 is better for graduate-level work, since it assumes previous knowledge and attempts to organize divergent film theories. Collections of original articles include Braudy and Cohen 2008, Corrigan, et al. 2011, and Stam and Miller 2000. These are relatively similar and have a fair amount of overlap. Most film theory courses involve readings of primary texts, and most collections will include key articles with short section summaries.

                                                                          • Branigan, Edward. “Teaching Film Theory.” In Teaching Film. Edited by Lucy Fischer and Patrice Petro, 26–39. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2012.

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                                                                            The “classroom practice” includes a detailed description of Branigan’s techniques, including close readings of selected text and attention to grammar and style.

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                                                                            • Braudy, Leo, and Marshall Cohen. Film Theory and Criticism. 7th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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                                                                              This popular collection has been updated regularly since 1974 and is not missing much other than Tom Gunning’s essential “Cinema of Attractions.” Strong offerings on genre and technology.

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                                                                              • Casetti, Francesco. Theories of Cinema, 1945–1995. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999.

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                                                                                A fascinating reconfiguration of postwar film theory. Casetti offers a structure that divides arguments about film into ontological theories, methodological theories, and field theories. Too sophisticated for undergraduates, this is a text better suited for graduate-level study.

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                                                                                • Corrigan, Timothy, Patricia White, and Meta Mazaj. Critical Visions in Film Theory: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011.

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                                                                                  More contemporary in focus than Braudy and Cohen 2008, this volume’s strength is in the short summaries that accompany every article and provide necessary context for students and instructors. These include bulleted “Reading Cues and Key Concepts” to increase student comprehension.

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                                                                                  • Elsaesser, Thomas, and Malte Hagener. Film Theory: An Introduction through the Senses. New York: Routledge, 2009.

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                                                                                    Categories include “Cinema as Window and Frame,” “Cinema as Mirror and Face,” and “Cinema as Skin and Touch,” with appropriate theories and texts summarized within each chapter. An innovative reorganization that makes theory accessible without sacrificing sophistication.

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                                                                                    • Stam, Robert. Film Theory: An Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000.

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                                                                                      A necessary companion volume to Stam and Miller’s anthology of primary sources (Stam and Miller 2000), this volume offers readable and thorough summaries of all major film theories.

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                                                                                      • Stam, Robert, and Toby Miller. Film and Theory: An Anthology. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000.

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                                                                                        A solid overview of theory, but the best reason to choose it is that it matches neatly with Stam 2000.

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                                                                                        Teaching Film and Video Production

                                                                                        There is a wide range of technical manuals and textbooks for teaching film and video production. Some are frequently updated, and some become dated along with the technology they describe. Choosing an appropriate resource often has more to do with the equipment one has at one’s disposal than with a philosophical orientation to teaching. In contrast, the works below are primarily about the nature of teaching production and the complex theoretical and ethical questions to which such teaching gives rise. Such discussions assume that teaching production is not only, or even primarily, the imparting of technical skills. Rather, successful production education helps students become creative, intelligent, and ethical producers of media. Most production teachers also recognize the importance of integrating theory and practice to help students produce better work, and to help them make connections to the rest of their curriculum. Geuens 2000 and Sabal 2001 are solid overviews of the challenges of teaching production courses at the undergraduate level, while Oren 2012 provides the perspective of a screenwriting teacher and makes a convincing case for screenwriting as a part of developing student’s critical understanding of cinema. Coles 1997 and Wayne 2003 deal specifically with the need for documentary students to think through the ethical issues of documentary before they point their cameras at anyone. Wayne 2003 is one of the best examples of the work published in the Journal of Media Practice, which publishes on a range of production teaching issues. Brown 2011 is a cinematography textbook suitable for a wide range of production classes, from introductory to advanced.

                                                                                        • Brown, Blain. Cinematography: Theory and Practice. 2d ed. Oxford: Focal, 2011.

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                                                                                          There are dozens of introductory texts for film production students, many of which have something to recommend them. Brown’s is one of the best, with a nice balance of technical detail and aesthetic advice, and many color photos.

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                                                                                          • Coles, Robert. Doing Documentary Work. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

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                                                                                            Perhaps the most sophisticated overview of what it means to make documentaries. In particular, Cole forces readers to think through their own positioning as documentary makers. What does it mean, ethically, to decide to tell someone else’s story? Providing no easy answers, this work is essential for student filmmakers in fiction and nonfiction alike.

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                                                                                            • Geuens, J.-P. Film Production Theory. New York: State University of New York Press, 2000.

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                                                                                              Geuens’ thoughtful book is s series of reflective essays on the purposes of film school and on the various technical elements (lighting, staging) that production programs attempt to teach.

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                                                                                              • Journal of Media Practice. 2000–.

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                                                                                                A peer-reviewed journal dedicated to practical work in media teaching and research that offers a range of articles on various facets of teaching production, from sound mixing to production ethics.

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                                                                                                • Oren, Tasha. “Teaching Screenwriting as Criticism.” In Teaching Film. Edited by Lucy Fischer and Patrice Petro, 337–344. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2012.

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                                                                                                  An intriguing overview of the ways in which script analysis in a writing class can double as a deep form of film criticism.

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                                                                                                  • Sabal, Rob, ed. Special Issue: Teaching Film and Video Production. Journal of Film and Video 53.1 (Spring 2001).

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                                                                                                    A collection of essays focused on rethinking production pedagogy for both documentary and fiction films, this special issue features probing articles on diversity and representation, women in film production, and the professor as censor.

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                                                                                                    • Wayne, Mike. “Reflections on Pedagogy: Documentary Theory and Practice in the Classroom.” Journal of Media Practice 4.1 (2003): 55–61.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1386/jmpr.4.1.55/0Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                      Summarizing his “Documentary: Theory and Practice” course for undergraduates, Wayne provides an overview and concrete models for teaching students to think through documentary production before they begin shooting, with the aim of producing projects that demonstrate substantial research, analytical probing in relation to the subject matter and/or the formal strategies and conventions of documentary genres, and formal sophistication.

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                                                                                                      Teaching Diversity and Difference

                                                                                                      There is obvious value in using film and television images to teach the politics of race, gender, social class, and sexual orientation. In addition, there are deep bodies of work on these issues and their relation to film and media, and many teachers will choose to use some of that writing rather than the more limited selection of scholarship that deals specifically with using film to teach diversity in the classroom. It is no simple matter to expose students to problematic imagery, and the selections here all provide ways for instructors to think through what it means to present such images for critique, as well as the many risks that such images present in the classroom. For example, presenting negative images of minorities in a classroom can easily end up reinforcing stereotypes rather than combatting them. A strong understanding of the rich body of film theory writing on spectatorship and reception is absolutely crucial before trying to teach diversity and difference using film.

                                                                                                      Multiculturalism

                                                                                                      All of these essays try to tackle the question of what diversity means in a classroom, as well as how teachers might teach ethically and appropriately for their students. Carson and Friedman 1995 summarizes the theoretical stakes at a key moment in the development of the idea of multiculturalism in the 1990s, while Giroux 2001 surveys the challenges of using film to teach difference. McEwan 2007 offers practical advice for teaching difficult racial representations in film. McBride 2004 includes some advice on teaching across cultures, while Kleinhans 2009 demonstrates the richness that can come from a more diverse classroom.

                                                                                                      • Carson, Diane, and Lester D. Friedman. Shared Differences: Multicultural Media and Practical Pedagogy. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                        Writing in the middle of passionate and divisive 1990s debates about the place of multiculturalism in the university, Carson and Friedman and their contributors bring nuance and clarity to a polarized argument. Friedman’s introduction, which lays out the assumptions of multicultural pedagogy, is still an essential foundation nearly two decades later.

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                                                                                                        • Giroux, Henry A. “Breaking into the Movies: Pedadogy and the Politics of Film.” JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory 21.3 (Summer 2001): 583–598.

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                                                                                                          An overview of the risks and rewards of using film to teach the politics of difference; Giroux is particularly concerned about the relationship between the pleasure of cinema as entertainment and, quoting Margaret Miles, the “learned pleasure of analysis” (590).

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                                                                                                          • Kleinhans, Chuck. “Teaching Undergrad Courses with Majors and Nonmajors.” Cinema Journal 48.3 (Spring 2009): 80–83.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1353/cj.0.0117Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                            Although, as the title makes clear, this is not primarily an essay about teaching diversity, Kleinhans’s detailed account of teaching Hong Kong cinema to students from a range of academic and cultural backgrounds offers useful strategies for recognizing our own cultural blind spots and limitations.

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                                                                                                            • McBride, Kecia Driver, ed. Visual Media and the Humanities: A Pedagogy of Representation. Tennessee Studies in Literature 42. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                              This collection is broader than film, but the second half has a number of valuable entries on the benefits of including film in a variety of humanities course. These essays explore the notion, in various ways, of teaching across cultures.

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                                                                                                              • McEwan, Paul. “Racist Film: Teaching The Birth of a Nation.” Cinema Journal 47.1 (Fall 2007): 98–101.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1353/cj.2007.0052Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                Concerned primarily with the risks of including virulently racist images in the classroom, the article argues that, if carefully presented, the educational payoffs of the film are generally worth it.

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                                                                                                                World Cinemas

                                                                                                                As the contributions below make clear, the very notion of “world” cinema shifts depending on where we are and who our students are. Gamm 2004 and Andrew 2012 are explicitly concerned with teaching world cinema, the former for upper-level high school students and the latter for American undergraduates. Majumdar 2012 uses the example of teaching Indian cinema to interrogate the aims of teaching “world” cinema and of survey courses. Meir 2014 reminds us that teaching diversity through film means very different things depending on the students sitting in front of us.

                                                                                                                • Andrew, Dudley. “Teaching World Cinema.” In Teaching Film. Edited by Lucy Fischer and Patrice Petro, 145–157. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2012.

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                                                                                                                  Andrew’s decades of experience teaching film provide the backdrop for a detailed discussion of what it means to teach “world” or “international” or “global” cinema, and also what these various terms imply.

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                                                                                                                  • Gamm, Kate. Teaching World Cinema. London: British Film Institute Education, 2004.

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                                                                                                                    Another in the British Film Institute series for high school teachers, but deep enough to be useful to teachers of undergraduates.

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                                                                                                                    • Majumdar, Neepa. “Teaching Indian Cinema.” In Teaching Film. Edited by Lucy Fischer and Patrice Petro, 92–100. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2012.

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                                                                                                                      Majumdar’s thoughtful overview of the challenges of teaching Indian cinema also functions as a treatise on what it means to teach a national cinema, and as a critique of the survey method of teaching film courses.

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                                                                                                                      • Meir, Christopher. “Teaching Non-Western Cinemas in a Multiracial, Developing World Context, or What to Do When Your Students Are ‘the World’.” In Special Issue: New Approaches to Teaching World Cinema. Edited by Diane Carson and William Costanzo. Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier 2.1 (Winter 2014).

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                                                                                                                        Part of an excellent teaching dossier on the Teaching Media site (cited under Reference Resources); Meir’s reflections on teaching at a university in the Caribbean are an essential reminder that “teaching diversity and difference” is not a synonym for “teaching white students about people of color,” and he offers a perspective that will be useful in a variety of teaching contexts.

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                                                                                                                        Gender and Sexuality

                                                                                                                        Feminist theory has transformed film studies and film teaching since the 1970s, although works like Citron and Seiter 1981 are reminders of persistent problems for women in film, particularly on the production side. There are fewer contributions on masculinity or queer studies and their relation to film pedagogy, but the two listed below are useful starting points for further research. Orwin and Carageorge 2001 is concerned with teaching women in a production context, updating the concerns raised by Citron and Seiter 1981, while Hall 2005 offers some introductory-level questions and themes for analyzing masculinity. Turim 2012 is an efficient overview of the myriad ways to add women’s and feminist perspectives to film studies classes, and Modleski 2007 offers specific examples that would useful across the curriculum. Bronski, et al. 2006 digs much deeper into queer representations in film, and discusses how to move students beyond simply looking for “positive” representations.

                                                                                                                        • Bronski, Michael, Terri Ginsberg, Roy Grundmann, et al. “Queer Film and Media Pedagogy.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 12.1 (2006): 117–134.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1215/10642684-12-1-117Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                          A transcript of a roundtable on queer film and media pedagogy, this wide-ranging article considers both fundamental questions and the specifics of changing student expectations over time (“students are now far less interested simply in discussions of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ images and more concerned with surveying ‘queer film’ in broader social and political contexts, but through a ‘queer’ lens” [p. 121]). Other topics include global queer cinema and whether queer criticism “is becoming just another approach to visual language” (p. 131).

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                                                                                                                          • Citron, Michelle, and Ellen Seiter. “The Woman with the Movie Camera.” Jump Cut 26 (December 1981): 61–62.

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                                                                                                                            Citron and Seiter’s essay on the gender biases in production classes is unfortunately still relevant after three decades. They offer clear and practical options for overcoming these biases by seeing them as part of larger patterns in the way that film production is taught.

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                                                                                                                            • Hall, Matthew. Teaching Men and Film. London: British Film Institute Education, 2005.

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                                                                                                                              An overview of questions of masculinity in cinema, including violence, feminism, and queer theory. For British high school students, but useful, with suitable adaptations, for undergraduate curriculum design.

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                                                                                                                              • Modleski, Tania. “Misogynist Films: Teaching Top Gun.” Cinema Journal 47.1 (Fall 2007): 101–105.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1353/cj.2007.0056Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                By using Top Gun (1986), Modleski makes an eloquent case for including gender analysis in all courses rather than just “women and film,” and she also provides a useful roadmap for challenging films that students find intensely pleasurable.

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                                                                                                                                • Orwin, Anne, and Adrianne Carageorge. “The Education of Women in Film Production.” Journal of Film and Video 53.1 (Spring 2001): 40–54.

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                                                                                                                                  A detailed analysis of the particular challenges for female students in the world of film production. Includes discussion of the ways in which film technology is gendered as a male domain, and of the social pressure women face to be compliant, which creates challenges in the creative back-and-forth of a film set.

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                                                                                                                                  • Turim, Maureen. “Teaching Feminist Film Theory; or, Women and Film.” In Teaching Film. Edited by Lucy Fischer and Patrice Petro, 40–50. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                    Turim offers a range of useful suggestions for adding women’s perspectives to film courses, including works on feminist theory, women filmmakers, and female spectatorship.

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                                                                                                                                    History of Film Pedagogy

                                                                                                                                    The study of film pedagogy has developed in very different ways in different countries. In particular, there is a strong Atlantic divide, given that there were significant works, and a dedicated journal, published quite early in the United Kingdom. That journal, Screen Education, published between 1959 and 1968, and again between 1971 and 1982, provided a crucial space for the justification and development of film pedagogy. While some articles provide still-relevant advice for contemporary teachers, the journal is now primarily useful for understanding the history of film pedagogy. Lusted 1986 summarizes much of the earlier debates in Screen Education, while Bolas 2009 puts the development of the journal in a much broader context. Polan 2007 is a history of film pedagogy on the other side of the Atlantic, a history that is supplemented by Zryd 2008.

                                                                                                                                    • Bolas, Terry. Screen Education: From Film Appreciation to Media Studies. Bristol, UK: Intellect, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                      Bolas traces the development of film education in the United Kingdom, beginning in midcentury, primarily using the manifestations of Screen Education as his guide, but providing much outside context to explain how the journal came to exist and to chart its influence.

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                                                                                                                                      • Lusted, David. “Why Pedagogy?” Screen 27.5 (September 1986): 2–16.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1093/screen/27.5.2Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                        An introduction to a special issue of Screen on pedagogy, Lusted’s overview is a quick and clear summary of the relevant debates up to the time of his writing.

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                                                                                                                                        • Polan, Dana. Scenes of Instruction: The Beginnings of the U.S. Study of Film. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                          Polan’s book is primarily concerned with the earliest film education in the United States, up until the 1930s. As such, it fills a crucial whole in our understanding of film’s uses in American academia, since most current programs were not established until well into the second half of the 20th century.

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                                                                                                                                          • Screen Education. 1959–1968, 1971–1982.

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                                                                                                                                            There were two runs of this journal, this first beginning in the late 1950s, until the journal became Screen in 1969. Screen Education was relaunched as a separate journal beginning in 1971 and ran for a further eleven years. In featured a range of arguments about methodology, theory, and politics.

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                                                                                                                                            • Zryd, Michael. “Experimental Film and the Development of Film Study in America.” In Inventing Film Studies. Edited by Lee Grieveson and Haidee Wasson, 182–216. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1215/9780822388678Save Citation »Export Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Zyrd’s article documents the importance of avant-garde and experimental film in the development of film study in the academy between the 1960s and the 1980s, and as such his essay is crucial for understanding this key period. Those interested in the development of film studies will likely find the entire Grieveson and Wasson collection useful.

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