Profile: Fordham English's Grad Film Group

Whether you are a scholar of cinema or simply a lover of film, Fordham’s graduate Film Group can offer something for you.

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The group formed in Spring 2014 at the initiative of Caroline Hagood, Will Fenton, and Matthew Lillo, after students were inspired by Moshe Gold’s class Horror and Madness in Fiction and Film. Since then, the group has met once a semester to watch films of diverse periods and genres. “We draw together graduate students from many different fields and backgrounds, as a venue to share their love of film and discuss important developments in the humanities through film and film theory,” said Elizabeth Light, who runs the group with fellow graduate student Caitlin Cawley.

Past screenings have featured Vertigo, The Red Shoes, and Near Dark. Prior to meetings, members read both contemporary and classic works of influential film critics and theorists, including Walter Benjamin, Julia Kristeva, and Slavoj Žižek, to supplement each screening and provoke conversation. Reading selections reflect both a broad scope and the latest trends in film scholarship, allowing members to explore up-to-date methods of film studies and preparing them to incorporate current criticism into their own work and target top journals for publication.

This semester, the group watched Let the Right One In, a stark, haunting Swedish vampire film that explores questions of violence, gender, and genre. Scholarship by Rochelle Wright and Anne Billson provided some background. The film was followed by a lively discussion and an excursion to Manhattan for the Graduate English Assocation’s "Beer & Books" event.

“One of the goals of our group is simply to build community, to provide a space for graduate students and faculty with shared interests to meet and converse,” said Caitlin Cawley. “That said, the group takes seriously its responsibility to represent film studies at Fordham.” The group’s members represent a wide diversity of interests and concentrations within the English department. Whereas some members joined the group simply because they love film, other members have found the material invaluable to their own research.

The group is funded annually by the English department, and has also received “invaluable guidance” from its faculty advisers, Moshe Gold and Shonni Enelow. Other professors have attended sessions related to their own research, such as Keri Walsh, who attended the showing of Vertigo when she was working on her book on American actor Mickey Rourke.

In the future, the group looks forward to expanding membership within the English department and elsewhere, such as the history and philosophy departments. The group also hopes to extend its reach to the Communication and Media Studies Department to incorporate a broader range of expertise and interest.

For more information, email Elizabeth Light at elight1@fordham.edu or Caitlin Cawley at ccawley5@fordham.edu.

 

THE FORDHAM FILM GROUP provides a venue where Fordham graduate students and faculty can engage the growing importance of film, digital, and new media studies in the academy, and helps foster a learning community for graduate students interested in film studies and criticism.