Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture, 1 laboratory per week (60 total per quarter)
Advisory: Demonstrated proficiency in English by placement via multiple measures OR through an equivalent placement process OR completion of ESLL 125 & ESLL 249.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area V: Communication & Analytical Thinking
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student will interpret and evaluate a variety of contexts and ideologies within different film forms.
  • A successful student will demonstrate the ability to analyze and synthesize the language of moving image media.
  • A successful student will identify and analyze the technological components of film and video making.


An introduction to the critical analysis of film, television, and internet media. Explore and apply the core concepts and language of media theory, including approaches through semiotics, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, multicultural analysis, gender and sexuality.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Identify and examine major classical and contemporary film theories, including postmodern, post-structural, auteur, genre, formal, sexuality.
B. Identify and examine contemporary media theory and analysis, including reception/spectator theory, psychoanalytic, multicultural.
C. Analyze and interpret motion pictures and contemporary media through the application of the concepts of media theory and analysis.
D. Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural, economic, political, and technological factors that influence the media and in turn shape societies.

Course Content

A. Identify and examine the relationship between media representation and society
1. Media reception theory
2. Spectatorship and the media
3. Spectacle theory
4. Examine and critique the role of media industries
B. Examine and critique modes of media influence and power
1. Marxist ideology in media
2. Globalization and the media
C. Identify and examine key concepts of media analysis and theory
1. Structuralism and semiotics
2. Formalism and postmodern ideology in the media
3. Consumerism and the media
4. Psychoanalytical analysis
5. Post-structural theory
D. Identify and examine critical concepts of film analysis and theory
1. Auteur theory
2. Narrative and genre analysis
3. Russian montage
4. Modernism and realism
5. Critique through race and ethnicity
6. Critique through sexuality and gender

Lab Content

A. Screenings of films and videos, either on-campus or via the internet, including narrative fiction, fine art, and documentary, for completion of written assignments and exams.
B. Feedback on tests and assignments, either in-person or online via chat rooms, listservs.
C. Preparation and collaborative work on group projects.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. Forum-type room with projection booth, video projection system, amplified sound system. Internet access and laptop computer patch to system. Playback equipment formats required: DVD or Blu-ray disk.
B. Library for film research, books, scripts, videotape/DVD playback facility.
C. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with email software and capabilities; email address, JavaScript-enabled internet browsing software and videotape viewing ability as stated in (B).

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Writing assignments that require the student to construct, develop and defend an argument referencing the course media screenings and reading materials.
B. Objective exam(s) and quizzes that reference reading materials and lecture.
C. Writing assignments (including research paper, homework, essay exam) that demonstrate mastery of concepts in media analysis and theory.
D. Oral and multimedia presentations that require students to demonstrate key concepts.

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Lecture presentations covering course objectives in media theory and analysis.
B. Discussion and critique of assigned reading and representative media.
C. Cooperative learning exercises that require students to apply core concepts in media.
D. Group project presentation followed by in-class discussion and evaluation.
F. Screenings of media that illustrate a variety of media theories and techniques for analysis.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Branigan, Edward, and Buckland, Warren. The Encyclopedia of Film Theory. Routledge, 2015.
Braudy, Leo, and Marshall Cohen, eds. Film Theory and Criticism. Oxford University Press, 2016.
Corrigan, Timothy, Patricia White, and Meta Mazaj. Critical Visions in Film Theory. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011.
Stam, Robert. Film Theory: An Introduction. Wiley-Blackwell, 2000.
Ryan, Michael. An Introduction to Criticism: Literature, Film, Culture. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
Although several texts listed are older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, they remain seminal in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Critical film analyses in the form of journals or online discussion assignments.
B. Research or critical essay that requires student to select film(s) from viewing list and construct, develop and defend an argument referencing the film and the reading materials.
C. Examination that requires students to apply core concepts and issues of course content.
D. Quizzes that test understanding of reading material and lecture.


Media Production or Film Studies