English department launches global film minor

New minor focuses on gender, sexuality and more in foreign films


This fall, the English department launched a global film minor for students interested in the arts and cinema, following long-existent strides in the area of film studies. The minor is not exclusive to students in the department and opens doors to anyone interested in the interconnectedness of film and global issues.

It covers a breadth of curriculum dealing with themes like gender, sexuality, disability, human rights and climate change. Through these matters, students become familiar with film analysis, different artistic forms, cultural diversity and practices.

Tanya Shilina-Conte, global film minor coordinator and assistant professor of film and media studies, said the program’s purpose is to offer a comprehensive view of film studies from a global and multidisciplinary perspective.

"The study of global film serves to heighten awareness of transnational concerns in our increasingly networked world and to promote cross-cultural understanding," Shilina-Conte said.

Students can fulfill the minor through two 200-level courses and four 300/400-level courses, with a requirement to take one upper-level film production course.

The program encourages diversity among majors. The minor is housed through the English department.

"The minor might assist students' applications to graduate programs of study in the arts and humanities.” Shilina-Conte said. “For other students, the minor might provide a welcome contrast to their primary field, for example, management, engineering, biochemistry or exercise science.”

The English department offers a variety of courses that complement the minor, such as Contemporary Cinema, Film Genres, Modernism and Film, Film Theory and Shakespeare in Film I and II.

Students are able to fulfill class requirements through other departments, such as the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Department of Transnational Studies and Department of Media Study.

Christian Schnapp, a sophomore film studies major, believes studying global film is important and effective in learning about worldly cultures and events.

"With that sense of widened lingual and cultural malleability, one is certainly more likely to be qualified for jobs and fields that relate to international art, culture, business and so forth,” Schnapp said.

The minor has proved helpful, encouraging him to learn about the histories of places outside the U.S.

“In my case, film is an obsession, particularly global film, and I continue to this day a practice of devoting a two-to-three-month period to watching and studying every film that I can fit into my daily schedule from a specific country."

Schnapp said the specificity and importance of the filmic medium in global studies in general is dire.

"Films allow for an unbridled, incomparable immersion into all sorts of universes and realities,” Schnapp said. “Through this immersion often comes the learning and understanding of social climates, ways of life, different levels and degrees of culture and many other things.”

Anthony Defeo, a junior film studies major, said any career path or major could benefit from the global film minor.

"Anybody who wants to be an innovator in their field is going to interact with people from around the world,” Defeo said. “Relating to others through their national, ethnic, religious culture is a way to expand your worldview and get your foot in any door.”

Ema Makas is a staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com.