This is the official blog of MCS - the Media and Cinema Studies Program in the College of Communication at DePaul University (Chicago, IL). Here you will find the latest updates from our faculty members about new research and publications, conference talks, sponsored events and more.You'll also find updates from current students and alumni (including career paths, publications and media events).

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

MCS Grad Program Alumni Update: Sundance Film Festival

David Stewart, an alumni of the Media and Cinema Studies Graduate Program, is part of the crew who worked on a new documentary about director Hal Ashby that has been accepted to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

  Hal, directed by Amy Scott, is a documentary about the Oscar-winning director Ashby and his celebrated films [ which include Harold and Maude (1971), The Last Detail (1973), Shampoo (1975), Coming Home (1978) and Being There (1979)]. It will will be screened at the Sundance Festival as part of the 'U.S. Documentary Competition.' Stewart worked as an Archival Research/Post-Production Assistant on the film, finding rare photos, audio excerpts, and raw film footage for the production.

The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 18-28, 2018. For more details:

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Prof. Davis Wins Spirit of Inquiry Award

Congratulations to Prof. Blair Davis on being given DePaul University's Spirit of Inquiry award. The award recognizes "specific research, scholarly or creative achievements that exhibit commitment to that spirit of creative inquiry, which we endeavor to inspire in our students."

The award was given at DePaul's annual Convocation ceremony at the beginning of the Fall 2017 quarter.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Prof. Paul Booth in USA Today

Prof. Paul Booth was interviewed for a recent article on the resurgence of board games in USA Today:

“There is something very human about sitting around with other people for an extended period of time and all working together on something,” says Booth. “You could be competing or cooperating, but you’re all focused on the same thing.”

See the full article here:

Sunday, 16 July 2017

New MCS Course, Fall 2018: Gender and Popular Culture

Please join our new MCS Faculty member, Prof. Samantha Close, for her MCS 353: Gender and Popular Culture class this Fall!



Fall 2018

Prof. Samantha Close

This course investigates the way gender is constructed, maintained, and challenged within popular media.  It embraces an intersectional pedagogical method, whereby the entanglements of gender with race, class, sexuality, ability, and national culture are continuously analyzed throughout the quarter.

The course is organized into three main blocks.  In the first block, Seeing Gender, students will learn foundational theories of gender and communication and use them to challenge their instinctive ideas about gender.  We will practice applying these theories to analyze media representations of gender and media industry structure around those representations.  In the second block, Making Gender, we will turn to focus on how people create their own gendered representations to maintain and challenge social norms.  Students will practice expressing their critiques of gender through both writing and producing media.  In the third block, Living Gender, each week will focus in on a particular area of contemporary society.  We will explore in detail how gender is both created and challenged in these social arenas.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

New Publication from Prof. Davis: “Comics and Methodology”

Prof. Blair Davis has a new publication in the debut issue of iNKS: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society (Vol. 1, No. 1).


Entitled “Comics and Methodology,” Davis moderates a roundtable discussion between Bart Beaty, Scott Bukatman, Henry Jenkins and Benjamin Woo. The discussion first took place at the 2016 Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference, and was edited and expanded for the first issue of iNKS. The panelists discuss the various methods involved in both teaching and researching comics as well as how interdisciplinarity is involved, the state of the field of comics studies and academic publishing therein, different audiences targeted by comics scholarship and more.

The roundtable can accessed via Project Muse (access required): 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dr. Kelli Marshall writes new article for the Chronicle of Higher Education

Dr. Kelli Marshall published a new article in the Chronicle of Higher Education today about her legal struggles trying to publish a new book about actor Gene Kelly.

                                   Related image

A regular contributor to the Chronicle, Marshall describes the effects of a looming lawsuit on her work:

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Prof. Davis Edits Cinema Journal 'In Focus'

Cinema Journal Vol. 56, No. 2 features an 'In Focus' section devoted to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's Watchmen, edited by Prof. Blair Davis.


In Focus is a regular feature of Cinema Journal in which several short essays examine a case study from multiple perspectives. In addition to writing the introduction, Davis gathered together five scholars (Mark J.P. Wolf, Aaron Taylor, Drew Morton, Kathryn Frank and Dana Polan) to look at Watchmen's role within film, media and comics studies, exploring ideas about canonization, world-building, transmedia, adaptation, digital comics, authorship and academia.

The full section can be found here:

Monday, 6 February 2017

New MCS courses for Spring & Summer Quarters

The Media and Cinema Studies Program is offering three brand new courses between the Spring and Summer quarters:

Faculty: Judith McCray
Spring Quarter 2017
Mondays/Wednesdays, 1:30-3:00pm, Loop Campus

This course explores the how, what and why of “Impact” media and “Social Justice” documentaries that are intended to inform, uplift or inspire social change.  Sourcing contemporary issues and change agents takes much more than having a good idea and preliminary vision.  This course will cover the nuts and bolts of what makes a compelling impact film—how to develop an idea into a concept; how to expand a concept into a story with a viable message; how to secure expert sources and supporting subjects; how to determine and manage the conflict that is inherent in a social issue and necessary for good storytelling; and how creativity and audio/visual elements enhance the storytelling and messaging.  Students will examine and critique Chicago-based and other long-form media, while developing a concept and structure for their own social justice film.

Crosslisted with AMS 395
Faculty: Molly Schneider
Spring Quarter 2017
Tuesdays/Thursdays, 9:40-11:10am, Lincoln Park Campus

This course will be a survey of the concept of "quality" TV, exploring the ways the term "quality" has emerged and circulated at different periods in television history. The course will begin with early discourses of quality and progress through the political wave of the 1960s, the “quality” sitcoms of the 1970s and 1980s, police and legal dramas of the 1990s, the explosion of “quality” cable dramas in the late 1990s and 2000s, and, finally, the move to critically-acclaimed web-based series from Netflix and Amazon. We will address the notion of TV quality from industrial, cultural, and textual standpoints. What makes a program “quality” television, and who decides? How has the term changed and/or evolved? What textual and aesthetic strategies are associated with quality? What does it look like? What does it sound like? What are the commercial implications of quality? Who makes quality TV? Who watches quality TV, and who is depicted on quality TV? What are the limits of quality as a designation? Students in the course will address these critical questions as they explore quality as a important and complex topic in television studies.

Faculty: Jason Sperb
Summer II, 2017  (July 17 – August 20)
Tuesdays/Thursdays, 5:45-9:00pm, Loop Campus

This course will focus on the many ups and downs over the decades of Disney’s slow aesthetic, economic, and cultural growth, providing a foundation for better understanding the company today. In addition to analyzing particular Disney texts (some well-known and many not well-known), special emphasis will be paid to the many facets of the studio’s first critical and commercial success in the 1930s, its struggles with bankruptcy throughout the 1940s, and its hugely successful re-branding as a prominent component of a new post-war leisure culture in the 1950s and 1960s. Extensive attention will also be paid to the company’s considerable revival and expansion under the “Team Disney” leadership of the 1980s and 1990s, as well as some reflection on the recent investment in once-competing brands such as Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Public Talk by Prof. Davis

Prof. Blair Davis is giving a talk at the Morton Grove Public Library on Saturday January 21, 2017, 2 pm, on his new book Movie Comics. He will show and discuss clips from the 1940s film serials starring Superman, Captain Marvel, Batman and Captain America.

For more information:

Thursday, 8 December 2016

New Book by Prof. Davis - Movie Comics

New Book by Prof. Davis - Movie Comics

Prof. Blair Davis has recently published a new book, Movie Comics: Page to Screen/Screen to Page, from Rutgers University Press. Examining the ways in which movies and comics adapted each other between 1900 and 1960, Movie Comics is the first book to closely examine the relationship between the film and comics industries between 1930 and 1960, as well as how films and television programs were adapted into comic books in the Classical Hollywood era.

Publisher's Weekly calls Movie Comics "an enlightening, scholarly history. Davis treats his topic seriously while also celebrating the pleasures of these two lively arts." Comics scholar Scott Bukatman says "Movie Comics makes a crucial contribution to media studies not only by unearthing and exploring the very long history of comics adapted for the screen, but also by simultaneously covering the myriad ways that comics presented material originally produced for film and television. The real subject of this book is the never-ending saga of media mediating one another, and in Blair Davis’s most capable hands, it’s a tale meticulously researched and engagingly told." Film scholar Dana Polan says ""His proven talent for trenchant research well on display, Blair Davis not only chronicles comics' influence on cinema but shows innovatively the movies' frequent adaptation into comics. A masterful study."