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Release: Feb. 29, 2000

UI creates new department of cinema and comparative literature

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Beginning Fall 2000, the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts will add courses and programs in film studies to the comparative literature program, resulting in a new department of cinema and comparative literature.

The new department will include all the faculty members from the current comparative literature program as well as several faculty who focus on film studies and on film and video production.

The department will offer a B.A. in comparative literature and a B.A. in cinema, as well as undergraduate minors in both those areas of study. Graduate programs in the new department will include master's and doctoral degrees in comparative literature and in film studies and Master of Fine Arts degrees in both translation studies and in film and video production.

University policy is to allow current majors the option of completing the degree to which they were admitted or to change to the new degree and department.

Frederick Antczak, associate dean for academic programs in the College of Liberal Arts, said programs offered by the new department will complement those offered by other departments, including American studies, English, communication studies, journalism, and the foreign language and literature departments.

"Although we expect a large number of students to be attracted to the new programs, we also know that students interested in media studies will continue to earn degrees from the department of communication studies, the School of Journalism and other units," he said. "We hope that interdisciplinary activities and opportunities will continue, and even increase, as a result of this new configuration."

Steve Ungar, chairman of the comparative literature program, said the primary benefit for students of the new configuration will be increased access to courses that cut across traditional disciplines. For example, students majoring in comparative literature will also have opportunities to study visual media, and students studying film will be able to enroll in courses in literary theory. Ideally students will be exposed to a full range of areas of study in the new department, including comparative literature, translation studies, film study, film and video production, and theory, criticism and interarts studies, Ungar said.