Department or Program

Cinema and Media Studies

Additional Department or Program (if any)

Cinema and Media Studies

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Maurizio Viano


This thesis explores film theory’s two modes of existence as conceptualized by Theorists and Post-Theorists. While the former sees film as primarily an ideological apparatus and the audience as its passive or resistant consumer, the latter regards film as an empirical object and conceptualizes spectators from a cognitivist standpoint. I engage critically with various texts from Theory and Post-Theory to ask larger metatheoretical questions about film theory’s ontological character. In particular, I reflect on its nature and function through two angles—film theory’s relationship with politics and engagement with individual films.