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Film Studies

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Emily Anderson

Associate Professor of English and Chair of Film Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts


How We Work

1. We watch a ridiculous number of films. Our students are hungry to watch and better understand film, so naturally our courses are designed to show films that offer an intense breadth of vision. In giving our students so much raw material, we’ve found that our classroom discussions are engaging on so many levels intellectually and emotionally.

2. We think from every angle. Film studies faculty members come from many academic disciplines, and as a result, our students learn to approach films in countless ways. Students learn from professors of English literature, creative writing, Gender and Women’s Studies, psychology, modern languages, and Asian Studies, just to name a few. Our professors cultivate not just academic, but personal interest in the study of film, and students feel this passion in the classroom. 

3. We believe films are a point of access to cultural traditions outside our own. Many of the films we study aren’t produced in English-speaking countries. By prioritizing a fuller scape of film, we have found that our students are uniquely gifted in analyzing films that appreciate a multitude of lives and challenge influences imposed on the filmmakers of today. 

4. We are ambitious learners. Our program attracts students that are prepared to take on material that they may not understand at first—that they might not even agree with or like—and we find these interactions with film are some of the most intriguing in our studies. We believe you can learn as much about film by watching something you hate as you can from watching something you love. And that in wrestling with that material, you may end up changing your mind entirely. In the hands of this community of learners, we look for films that work as complex, masterful windows into new territories of understanding.

5. Our alumni become accomplished screenwriters, producers, and directors. You’ll find Knox alumni working in both mainstream and independent film. Like Jakub Dulak ’17, who is a casting assistant at Planet Muzick TV, or Rachel Abarbanell ’02, who completed a post-baccalaureate fellowship in film studies at Knox and is now vice president of production at A Very Good Production, Ellen Degeneres’s production company. Film editor Chris Murrie ’95 worked on the Academy Award-nominated animated short Kubo and the Two Strings.

Get access to films, filmmakers, and scholars

Knox's Seymour Library has an enviable collection of nearly 3,500 films. This collection includes feature films, historical films and shorts, television serials, educational films, foreign films (especially Spanish, French, German, and Russian), animated films, and documentaries. And yes, these films are available to all of our students all of the time.

In addition, we regularly bring filmmakers and scholars to campus for lectures and screenings. Our guests often spend time with students in both formal and informal gatherings. Recent visitors include:

  • Marc Djaballah—professor of philosophy at Universite du Quebec a Montreal
  • Rachel Abarbanell ’02—film and television producer
  • Ernesto Ardito—Argentine documentary film director
  • Nicholas Bruckman—director of La Americana
  • Robert Buchar—professor of film production at Columbia College
  • John de Graaf—producer of Affluenza
  • Susan Dever—chair of media studies at the University of New Mexico 
  • Jan Huttner—Chicago film critic and founder of Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky—film critic for the A.V. Club, and director of Ellie Lumme
  • Motti Lerner—screenwriter and playwright at Tel Aviv University
  • James W. O’Keeffe—director and professor of cinematography at the University of Southern California
  • Michael Renov—professor of film theory at the University of Southern California
  • Astra Taylor—documentary filmmaker and director of Žižek!
  • Tisha Turk—media scholar and professor of English at the University of Minnesota, Morris

What former students have to say

“I felt pushed to challenge the moving images as well as the theory in my writing. I don’t think I would have finally had that intellectual breakthrough without being able to study film; it brought together all of my interests and pushed me to write my best work at Knox.”

“Each aspect of my film studies was memorable, valuable, and transformative. I learned so much and it completely changed my life. I have always loved watching movies, but now I can actually interact with them and I am no longer simply a passive viewer.”

“Film studies, especially combined with an English major, gave me a large portion of my vocabulary for cultural criticism, which has greatly enriched my life.”

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Printed on Sunday, April 21, 2024