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"Children in front of moving picture theater, Easter Sunday matinee, Black Belt, Chicago, Illinois" (Detail)
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The Committee on Cinema and Media Studies (CMS) at the University of Chicago is dedicated to pursuing innovative work in the history, theory, and criticism of film and related media, with additional strengths in video production and performance studies.
For students interested in Black cinema, the PhD and undergraduate programs in CMS present a range of courses in the field. In addition, CMS faculty members offer courses and advising on issues of race and cinema from a range of disciplinary approaches (see the lists of CMS committee members and resource faculty). The Master of Arts Program in the Humanities, with its track in CMS, enables students to pursue film studies in their coursework and thesis projects.
Graduate students may join one of the many graduate workshops, such as the Mass Culture Workshop and the Workshop on Race and the Reproduction of Racial Ideologies (where dissertation chapters and other works-in-progress, readings, and occasional lectures by outside visitors are discussed by students and faculty). In addition, students often participate in one or more of the University's interdisciplinary centers, such as the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture; the Center for Gender Studies; or the Center for East Asian Studies. Off-campus, students attend the Chicago Film Seminar, which brings together film and media scholars and critics from the Chicago area and major universities and colleges in the Midwest.
Students also take advantage of the University's and city's vast film and video resources. These include, on campus, DOC Films (the country's oldest student-run film society), the Experimental Film Club, the Race/Film Study Group, the student film production group Fire Escape, and the Renaissance Society's exhibitions featuring video art and installations. Off-campus resources include screenings at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Northwestern University’s Block Museum, Chicago Filmmakers, and Women in the Director’s Chair.
CMS sponsors events throughout the year featuring filmmakers and scholars, including workshops, lectures, conferences, and special screenings. All events are free and open to the public.