New offerings may lead to a unique, interdisciplinary major
Lafayette is now offering students new academic avenues to study the history, theory, and practice of film and other forms of visual and audio media.
This will be the first semester in which students can major in English with a concentration in film and media studies or choose film and media studies as a minor.
According to Andy Smith, assistant professor of English and chair of American Studies, faculty members in anthropology & sociology, art, English, foreign languages & literatures, history, music, and philosophy have been offering courses looking at various aspects of film and media for many years.
Smith’s documentary film class, which culminates with the annual Student Film Festival, is one of the most visible examples of this academic work. The new minor and concentration will take all these isolated courses and integrate them into a more focused curriculum.
Offering a minor and concentration is a large step toward a possible film and media studies major at Lafayette. The College’s new strategic plan calls for a greater focus on the creative arts and is considering the development of a unique, interdisciplinary program in film and media studies. Smith is part of the committee tasked with developing the possible program.
The proposed major would not only build upon disciplines such as English and art, but also less obvious collaborations like computer science and theater, or engineering and music. The committee recommends the hiring of 1-2 full-time faculty members to support the proposed program, as well as hiring professors in other departments with some expertise in film and media. Also recommended would be the establishment of a dedicated teaching/production facility including a production lab, sound stage, and screening space.