Film and New Media Studies Program gains traction, new courses

Wheaton’s Film and New Media Studies (FNMS) program is one of its newest — the first batch of seniors to graduate with the major walked at graduation this past May. Now that the new academic year has finally begun, it is easy to see that there are great things happening with FNMS here on Wheaton’s campus.

According to the Wheaton College website, the FNMS program provides its scholars with an interdisciplinary study of the theories and practices of “cinema and digital media.” Furthermore, “such media inform not only how we understand and value representation, but how we understand and value the ideas, peoples, places and cultures that we see represented.” Professors in many different programs and departments teach courses on relevant material each year, such as courses in film studies, film production, introductory computer programming, popular music, and even political advertising.

The FNMS program gains a new course this semester in ARTH 298: “Mediating Islam.” The course challenges the cultural representations of the Muslim diaspora in mass media in the United States, and is taught by Mellon Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow in Asian and Islamic Art History and Visual Culture Mona Damluji.

In what is perhaps the year’s most exciting event thus far, an announcement on the website last month revealed that Wheaton has been awarded a 500,000 dollar grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation to support interdisciplinary approaches to the arts and technology. According to the announcement, the grant will fund IMAGINE, or InterMedia Arts Group Innovation Network. Associate Professor of Film Studies and English Josh Stenger and Associate Professor of Art History and co-founder of the Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities (WIIH)Touba Ghadessi, will be the grant’s project managers for the  2014-2015 academic year.

Using the money from the grant, Stenger and Ghadessi will be able to create new FNMS courses, prepare spaces for these academically integrative efforts, and purchase more technologies for makerspaces such as the Wheaton Autonomous Learning Lab (WHALE) and the FiberSpace. These two spaces will eventually join together to form a new, larger area, Making@Wheaton, that will be more conducive to collaboration.