Media Studies is an interdisciplinary field that explores the histories, technologies, and social and cultural contexts of a range of contemporary media forms, including mechanical and electronic media such as film, video, television, print, and the Internet as well as other contemporary forms of culture. Media Studies at the Claremont Colleges presents students with an integrated approach to media production and the critical study of the media, seeking to understand the present state of media practices through an examination of their historical and technological development, an analysis of their genres, and a rigorous investigation of the theoretical approaches that have been brought both to the creative practices of media producers and the critical practices used by contemporary scholars.
Production is a key element of media studies, but the mode of production studied at the Claremont Colleges is not oriented toward traditional narrative film or television, or toward commercial models of new media; rather, we stress "independent" narrative forms, documentary, video and digital art, and community-based and activist media. Media Studies also understands critical scholarship as a form of media practice, seeking to confront not only the ways that the media construct the contemporary cultural environment, but also the ways in which we as producers and consumers are all constituted by the same cultural formations that we seek to challenge. Above all, the IMS Media Studies major seeks to explore the media from a perspective that eliminates the traditional boundaries between disciplines and between media theory and media production, thus illuminating new ways of seeing, thinking, and communicating in the world.
IMS is a cooperative program of the 5Cs established in July 2004. While informal coordination of courses, faculty and resources had taken place for several years, offering a rich look at the media in our society, IMS formalized these relationships, providing planning, organization and programming; and facilitating information and resource sharing. The two major components of IMS are the Academic Office and the Production Center. The Academic Office, under the direction of Tracy Biga MacLean, assists with long-term planning and serves student needs—providing internship support, graduate school advisement and study abroad opportunities. The Production Center, under the direction of Stephanie Hutin, is a professional standard post-production facility, providing 24-hour access to a wide range of the latest imaging, editing, animation, sound and graphics software, as well as multiple formats of video and film cameras.
Students majoring in Intercollegiate Media Studies elect to complete one of three tracks: Critical Studies, Film/Video and Digital/Electronic.