FTVM 455 - Topics in Film Studies
Winter 2023, Section 001 - American Immigration on Film
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Film, Television, and Media Std (FTVM)
Department: LSA Film, Television, and Media
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Lab Fee:
Advisory Prerequisites:
FTVM 150 or FTVM (SAC) 236.
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/4/23 - 4/18/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This class explores the myths and narratives that American filmmakers have produced around the issue of immigration, using an abolitionist perspective informed by critical race theory, queer of color critique, Black, indigenous, and women of color feminisms, and ethnic studies. Questions to be covered include: How does the idea of the United States as a “nation of immigrants” operate in tension with histories of indigenous genocide and chattel slavery? How have the technologies and discourses of race, gender, sexuality, and ability shaped the idea of the model citizen? What other forms of migration and movement—gentrification, refugeeism, climate displacement, class mobility, incarceration, space exploration, or the road trip—structure the idea of America as the land of dreams?

We’ll center filmmakers who draw on marginalized histories, knowledges, and aesthetics in the service of imagining new forms of collectivity. Films may include those written and/or directed by Julie Dash, Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer, Terrence Malick, Kelly Reichardt, Werner Herzog, Isabel Sandoval, Thirza Cuthand, and Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera.

Course Requirements:

Expected weekly workload: read 1-2 scholarly articles (25-30 pages); view 1 film (90 mins to 2 hours); write a short response (250 words); and engage with your peers in class discussion. Major assignments will include a midterm essay (5-6 pages) and a final essay (10-12 pages).

Intended Audience:

Anyone interested in gaining familiarity with the past, present, and future of U.S. minority filmmaking and/or the cultural politics of American im/migration. 

It is recommended that students take an FTVM studies course (not production) - or a course in the Dept. of American Culture before taking this class. 

Class Format:

This will be an in-person discussion-based course.

The course meets in person and will not be recorded. Readings and films will be available on Canvas.

Assessment for this course will be asynchronous and will consist of submitting essays on Canvas. Any other homework will be submitted via Canvas during a designated time frame.


FTVM 455 - Topics in Film Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
002 (LEC)
 In Person
M 3:00PM - 6:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
003 (LEC)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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