Understanding that cinema itself is a colonial construct, we recognize and deeply value our obligation to contribute to an equitable and just world. Film and Media Studies is particularly key to contemporary social change and we are committed to evaluating and problematizing old paradigms in pursuit of strategizing new ones. Multiple media industries have perpetuated stereotypic and problematic representations of Black, Indigenous, LatinX, LGBTQ++, Asian, women, the aging, those differently-abled, and more. Studying filmmaking or film criticism - like many disciplines within the arts and humanities - has longtime been cost prohibitive, operating within socioeconomically and racially unjust structures.
The technological invention and reinvention of image-making devices and the distribution platforms through which we consume media, relate directly to the complications we experience as contemporary humans: from inadequately nuanced mainstream human representation to portrayals of violence and mental health conditions to surveillance and implicit bias. We believe that a literacy of participatory media is a key step toward unwinding many of the social ills built into the fabric of and perpetuated by these systems.
As a department, Film and Media Studies affirms all people regardless of age, culture, (dis)/abilities, ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, marital status, health status, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Through our innovative pedagogical methods, we empower students to unlearn and redefine media literacy along with us, side-by-side, by complicating and questioning existing canons and by imaging possibilities for a full spectrum of voices and approaches. FMS encourages pedagogical approaches that support the students awakening and strengthening their own unique visual languages through curiosity, trial & error, and discovery rather than through prescription and formula.
We vow to dedicate ourselves to the investigation and promotion of an anti-racist, equitable environment where students of color feel supported in expressing ideas, perspectives, and creative voices. We vow to detech cinema and media arts from the inherited weight of representation set forth by painting, literature, and theatre - instead, opting to excavate new methods of time-based inquiry. We commit to the ongoing education of the faculty and staff as part of developing and growing a positive and supportive academic community. We will challenge ourselves in our teaching, research, and interactions to be open to different conventions and assumptions. We vow to foster an inclusive classroom environment, one where differences are respected and valued mutually.
We champion diverse voices and multiple perspectives. To this end, we commit to:
- Increase diverse voices in our visitors, in film and media examples in the curriculum, and in scholarship;
- Recruit more faculty of color when we are permitted to hire;
- Examine our curriculum class by class and offer peer critiques of the content to improve representation and voices;
- Listen to our student's interests through an open door policy and student survey;
- Conduct ongoing sensitivity training for faculty and staff that focuses on inclusive mentoring and teaching;
- Organize Town Hall Meetings to provide forums to hear valuable feedback from our students;
- Utilize student evaluations as a conduit of anonymous communication about greater diversity issues/strategies within the department;
- Create collaborative environments for our students and faculty to extract the nuances of our contemporary environment to resist racism;
- Work directly with our students to analyze the components of existing historical canons in an effort to diversify the ongoing framework of media histories.