The film studies department will grow into an interdisciplinary program next year, the culmination of a nearly decade-long effort.
As a program, more courses will be offered and professors from other disciplines will receieve joint appointments in film studies.
When Tricia Welsch, chair of the film studies department, came to Bowdoin to replace the only member of the department in 1993, she sought to broaden the course offerings, and helped film studies become an approved minor in 2001.
While Welsch remains the only full-time member of the department, professors from across campus have shown support by crosslisting their courses with film studies.
For example, Welsch said that Aviva Briefel, associate professor of English, "teaches and writes about film, but she also writes about literature. Her vocation, her being named in the English department, doesn't make it clear that she's doing the film stuff."
As the department expands Welsch explained that she wouldd look to work with the professors she has become familiar with. "A good way to organize the department, for a future which includes more colleagues, is to pull closer the professors that we already have on board," she said.
As an established program, Welsch said she thinks that the film studies department will be able to provide more diverse classes and stabilize its curriculum.
The film studies department received an encouraging outside review in 2008 from unspecified professors at peer institutions, and was encouraged to integrate professors like Briefel from outlying departments.
Welsch will remain chair, and will welcome Briefel and Shu-chin Tsui, associate professor of Asian studies, as members of the department. These professors will now be listed as jointly appointed in their existing deparments of English and Asian studies respectively along with film studies. In addition, the program proposal outlines the basis of a program committee consisting of five faculty members "either jointly appointed in the department, offering classes in film studies, or serving as the chair."
Although there are only two film studies classes offered this semester, Welsch is planning four in the fall. She looks forward to having Sarah Childress, currently a film studies research associate, teaching in an adjunct capacity. Charlotte Griffin, assistant professor of theater, and Allison Cooper, a Itlaian research associate, will each both provide at least one film course a year.
Lindsey MacLeod '14 is a current film studies minor, and said she looks forward to the opportunities available in the department next fall.
"I would love to be a film studies major if it was offered," she wrote in an email to the Orient. "Bowdoin offers practical applications of pretty much every other art form and I would really like to be able to study the practical side of film—production—at Bowdoin."
"I feel like film studies fairly uniquely carries the kinetics of dance, the performance you get in theater, the narra-tive base from literature...We have technology and creativity that comes with the manipulation of technology," said Welsch. "In some ways film studies is a wonderful hybrid of all sorts."