Film & Media Studies in GSLL
From languages and literatures to film and media
GSLL has an unprecedented number of teachers and scholars of film and media studies. Faculty who teach courses in Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Czech, German, Hungarian, Polish, and Russian regularly offer classes that either include film or concentrate exclusively on cinema. Two GSLL scholars whose research focuses on film include Dr. Layne and Dr. Pollmann.
Dr. Priscilla Layne is interested in how directors and audiences invest film with an ability to reveal aspects of human life otherwise deemed hidden or mysterious, whether for voyeuristic, educational, sensational or regulating purposes. In her teaching and research, she primarily focuses on how race and gender are rendered in film and the ideological stakes tied to the legibility of such categories. She often combines a formalist approach with consideration of a film’s sociolcultural context. She also stresses a transnational understanding of German film that contemplates a film’s relevance both within German (film) history and within an international trajectory of film. Her current work addresses the influence of African American culture in postwar German film, however she is also interested in broader topics like Weimar cinema, New German Cinema, DEFA Film and Turkish German Film. In her spare time she enjoys writing subtitles so that she can give non-German speakers access to thought-provoking films like Quax in Afrika and Das Fest des Huhnes.
Dr. Inga Pollmann concentrates on the history of film theory, that is the development of ways of thinking about the aesthetics, reception, and politics of film as a medium. As a popular mass medium that is able to cast powerful imaginative spells on its audience, the cinema is embedded in the texture of everyday life, but also of critical thought, and Dr. Pollmann is interested in the ways in which ideas conceived of by other means (such as scientific proof or logical deduction) can be reformulated, developed, and even refuted in the cinema. While most of her recent work focuses on silent cinema of the 1920s, her interests range far beyond this period and include a wide variety of periods, styles and genres, including contemporary cinema, melodrama, and nonfiction films. Because of the international nature of film history, production, and reception, her work combines an interest in German and Austrian cinema with other important global film cultures, such as French, American, Russian, and Asian cinemas.
Majoring in GSLL, Minoring in Film
Film and media courses offered in the Department of German & Slavic Languages & Literatures regularly contribute to UNC-Chapel Hill’s Global Cinema Minor, based in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. This interdisciplinary, five-course minor enables students to explore the changing, global face of cinema in its aesthetic, economic, historical, linguistic, literary, and social contexts. Students select a flexible, rigorous, and exciting course of study of the place of film within and across human cultures. The minor aims to provide undergraduates with grounding in the history of cinema’s development across the world as well as current trends and developments in global film production. The minor places a particular emphasis on the development of students’ critical judgment and written expression. Undergraduate students majoring in any academic unit are eligible. For more information about events like the Global Cinema Minor’s film series or how GSLL courses can count to the film minor, contact Dr. Pollmann.