Film and Media Studies is a vibrant interdisciplinary field. It studies traditional visual and audio-only forms, such as film, television and radio, as well as new media such as podcasts, video installations, interactive video projects, video games, augmented reality, animation, streaming video, and other forms that will undoubtedly emerge in the future. Given the explosive growth in the variety of moving-image media, and their penetration into entertainment, art, science, and public discourse, the study of film and related media must encompass a variety of theoretical approaches and must cultivate a number of specific skills in production and analysis. Production and analysis feed into each other, together providing the necessary tools for understanding why and how the moving image generates meaning in the world. The field of film and media studies thus unites numerous aspects of production, theoretical lenses of analysis and interpretation, and critical understanding of the complex relations between media and larger social and cultural forces.
Students interested in Film and Media Studies will naturally take different paths through the numerous relevant courses offered at Williams. It is, however, strongly recommended that they seek a balance between production courses (most of which are offered by Art Studio, Computer Science, and Theatre) and theoretical courses (offered by numerous departments in Divisions I and II). This will help students to think critically both about and with moving images, in the same way that they think with and about words.
Currently, students interested in film and media can major in the field only through the Contract Major. Guidance on course selection (with or without the aim of completing the Contract Major in Film and Media Studies) can be sought from the faculty with whom students take the first couple of film and media courses. In addition, Professor Stephen Tifft has volunteered to serve as an advisor to students interested in this field.