CMS, Drama and Dance, ILVS discuss film studies major
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 02:10
Faculty members across university departments and programs are pushing for a bigger role for film studies in the School of Arts and Sciences curriculum, including tentative plans for a new faculty hire and eventually a new major in the concentration.
The Communications and Media Studies (CMS) Program, the Department of Drama and Dance and the International Letters and Visual Studies (ILVS) Program have been working with administrators such as Dean of Academic Affairs for Arts and Sciences Nancy Bauer to explore the possibility of a new faculty position, specifically an expert in film studies — something that has been missing from the Hill, according to Bauer.
“We are thinking about the possibility of hiring a [tenure track] faculty member who could help a major coalesce,” Bauer said. “We have a huge number of faculty interested in film
[but] we have never had faculty trained in film studies or who had film as the main thing they do.”
The three departments that offer the most film courses — CMS, Drama and Dance and ILVS — submitted a joint request for a new faculty position last year. The request was denied, but the programs’ directors are hopeful that a new request to be submitted to the deans in April will be approved, according to Director of the Drama and Dance Department Downing Cless.
“We were very much encouraged by the deans to resubmit that this coming April,” Cless said. “It is for a person who would be a Ph.D in film studies who would oversee the program and bring that kind of focused background to the program.”
CMS Director Julie Dobrow said the push for a focused approach to film studies stems from student interest.
“I think there’s a lot of interest in film studies around campus,” she said. “There are many different departments around campus where film courses are taught ... and film is certainly a very powerful way of conveying a lot of information.”
CMS currently offers a minor in film studies, but Dobrow said the minor’s role in any future reorganization of the program is unclear.
“We don’t really know where that’s all going to come out,” she said. “We’re just in the beginning stages of discussion on that.”
“We would have to gauge the interest,” Bauer added.
Jennifer Burton, professor of the practice in film under the Drama and Dance Department, sees an opportunity for faculty growth and the eventual possibility of a major.
“I am so struck with how students are engaged with the production of film and really all aspects,” she said. “There’s a new film community being developed. Students are already independently making these projects ... the current structure is supporting these students within classes that already exist, and the idea is having that go further and having it become an actual major.”
Bauer, who has served as a Drama and Dance faculty member teaching classes in film, said the discussion of a more pointed approach to the study of film falls in line with Tufts’ attempt to stay up to date with interest in the field both on and off the Hill.
Bauer’s daughter, she said, chose another school over Tufts for its more extensive film studies opportunities.
“It’s an issue that’s near and dear to my heart,” she said. “It’s just a part of where the world is going.”