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Major in Screen Studies
We’re anything but camera shy.
Action! That’s the word that best describes the academic life of a screen studies major at Clark. Here, you’ll dive deep into the history, theory, and aesthetics of film, television, and new media. In addition to historical and theoretical studies, you’ll step behind the camera as you learn from hands-on experience how to develop a movie from concept to screenplay to premiere.
Of course, film and video productions can never be separated from the society from which they emerge. Our curriculum encompasses the cultural, economic, and technical developments that influence motion pictures and all video art, both domestic and international.
Learn in the classroom. Learn in our editing suites. Direct your own education.
Why Choose Screen Studies at Clark?
- Beyond traditional film studies: Clark’s screen studies major incorporates the history and theory of television, along with other new forms of digital media.
- Engage in hands-on, practical, collaborative work in digital video production and make narrative films, experimental films, and/or documentaries.
- Gain experience as an intern at a media organization in New England, New York, or California.
- Create and collaborate with other majors in Clark’s Visual and Performing Arts Department (V&PA), including students majoring in art history; media, culture, and the arts; music; screen studies; studio art; and theatre arts.
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Your Will. Your Way.
The Major Path
Thirteen courses are required to complete the major. You will enroll primarily in courses on the history, theory, and criticism of film, television, and other forms of motion picture media, as well as courses on screenwriting and video production. In addition to four foundation courses, two 100-level courses — in U.S. film history, international film history — are required. You will also take four advanced level courses of your choice from Screen Studies, one advanced-level film-making course, and one course in a creative medium from a different Visual and Performing Arts program. A capstone seminar or successful completion of an honors thesis completes your program.
Skills you will learn include:
- Close analysis of a full range of moving-image forms
- Historical writing
- Theoretical writing
- Ideological critique
- Filmmaking (including sound, lighting, editing, set design, etc.)
- Screenwriting (including the writing and revision of a 100-page, feature-length screenplay)
- Interdisciplinary collaboration (at all levels, but especially in advanced production courses)
Jason Michael Simpkins Memorial Endowment for Screen Studies
The Jason Michael Simpkins Memorial Endowment for Screen Studies was established by Larry J. and Michelle Simpkins in memory of their son, Jason Michael Simpkins, a member of the class of 2005. The award is to assist undergraduate students with the expenses incurred in completion of a film and/or a piece of written research. The recipients should possess high academic ability in screen studies and exceptional character, with an intention to pursue a career or higher education in screen studies.
Patricia M. Plamondon Undergraduate Award in Visual and Performing Arts
The Patricia M. Plamondon Award is given to juniors and seniors who have demonstrated their talent in and commitment to the arts and for whom the award will serve to enhance their studies, research, or project-related travel. The award is made annually by a vote of the full-time faculty of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.
Based in the Traina Center for the Arts, the screen studies program funds and maintains the Fuller Resource Library, home to the program’s extensive media collection which includes films on DVD and Blu-ray, archival 16mm and VHS items, and a digital repository of past student work. All collection material is available to view in the library, at either an individual media station or the group screening room.
Adjacent to the Traina center is Razzo Hall, a 194-seat recital hall/movie theater.
During the junior year, with program approval, students may pursue honors in screen studies. An honors project entails working closely with a professor to develop a thesis on a topic of your choice. Recent honors theses topics include the following:
- Raised on Promises: An Investigation of the American Coming-of-Age Film
- “Rat Girls,” a four-episode teleplay for an animated series
- Postmodern Pleasures: Bollywood’s Relevance in the Global Age
- “westing,” a student-created experimental documentary film
- Overcoming Sorrow: The Struggle of Peruvian Cinema and Its Promise of Progress in Claudia Llosa’s ‘The Milk of Sorrow’
Building your foundation
The Clark Experience
We structure our curriculum around Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP), which connects classroom learning with action through world and workplace experiences.
We’ve Got It Covered
Film Authors and Authorship
Examine the theory and practice of film authorship. You’ll explore the development of the idea that a film’s director serves as its author, and the formation of film authorship in emerging cultural contexts.
Experience how sounds and music work with (and against) moving images while you explore elements of narrative sound and audiovisual analysis, postproduction techniques, and historical sound and music conventions.
German Film and the Frankfurt School
Use psychoanalytic and Frankfurt School criticism to gain insight into masterpieces of German-language cinema, including those by expressionists, Nazi, and queer German filmmakers, and post-WWII directors.
Social and Cultural Issue Documentary Production
Analyze the elements of effective nonfiction storytelling, and explore the realities and decisions faced by documentary filmmakers. Then, create your own short documentary on a contemporary social or cultural issue.
Writing about Film: Methods of Film Analysis
Harness your inner film critic and challenge your writing skills by exploring and practicing the many ways of analyzing and interpreting film, including journalistic film criticism and analysis based in film theory.
Critical Perspectives on Television
Use various analytical approaches to examine the implications of television as a form of social communication, and develop an understanding of the ideological and structural dynamics that constitute popular culture.
Explore what the Department of Visual and Performing Arts has to offer.