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Kathryn Kalinak

Craig-Lee Hall (CL) 044​
(401) 456-8669
(401) 456-8028

Academic Background

B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)

I came to the college in 1980, hired to teach both in the English Department and in the new Film Studies program. Since then I have gone back and forth between these two disciplines, often trying to bridge them, as in my recent English 460 (Senior seminar) devoted to Disney Film and Children’s Culture as well as English 337: The West in America’s Cultural Imagination focused on novels as well as films about the American West.

In the Film Studies program, I teach Film 116, Introduction to Film, Film 220, the first half of the film history sequence (1895-1945); Film 219, the program’s introduction to film study for the major, gen ed courses in film, and many, many upper division courses in Major Directors, Major Genres, and National Cinemas. My area of expertise is film music and the thrust of my research involves how film music operates in variety of different types of genres and national cinemas as well as in the work of individual filmmakers. My first book, Settling the Score: Music and the Classical Hollywood Film (1992) situates the film score of the classical studio period in Hollywood in terms of historical, theoretical, and musical contexts. That research led me to How the West Was Sung: Music in the Westerns of John Ford (2007), which examined how the director John Ford, in his studio westerns, exploited music, especially song, in defining the geographical and ideological space of the American West. Film Music: A Very Short Introduction (2010) provides an overview of the discipline of film music as a global practice. Finally, I have edited two anthologies, one on music in the western, Notes From the Frontier: Music and the Western (2011), and one on sound in cinema, Behind the Silver Screen: Sound (forthcoming in 2015). Recent research includes an article on the Howard Hawks/Dimitri Tiomkin collaboration and Soviet Film Music in the 1930s.

At RIC, I am the chair of the English Department Honors and Scholarship committee and in this position hope to encourage more English majors to pursue an honors thesis. I am always ready and willing to talk about the honors program and hope to see many more students pursue this option.

Courses Taught

ART 590 Directed Graduate Study
ARTM 590 Directed Study Media Studies
ARTM 691 Thesis in Media Studies
ENGL 202 Introduction to Literary Study II
ENGL 460 Seminar In Major Authors & Themes
ENGL 591 Directed Reading
FILM 116 Introduction to Film
FILM 220 History of Film I
FILM 262 Film & Representation: Cross Cultural Projections – Japan and the United States
FILM 351 Akira Kurosawa
FILM 351 Cecil B. DeMille
FILM 351 D. W. Griffith
FILM 351 John Ford
FILM 351 Orson Welles
FILM 351 Walt Disney
FILM 352 Melodrama
FILM 352 Musicals
FILM 352 Westerns
FILM 353 Global Film Music
FILM 353 Hollywood Film Scores
FILM 353 Hollywood Studio System
FILM 550 Topics
FYS Film Music
ENGL 337 Ecocriticism and Film

Sample Publications

Behind the Silver Screen: Sound. Edited by Kathryn Kalinak. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, forthcoming March 2015.

Sound, the latest book in the Behind the Silver Screen series, introduces key concepts, seminal moments, and pivotal figures in the development of cinematic sound. Each of the book’s six chapters covers a different era in the history of Hollywood, from silent films to the digital age.

Music and the Western: Notes From the Frontier. Edited by Kathryn Kalinak. New York: Routledge, 2012.

Music in the Western presents essays by film studies scholars and musicologists on core issues in western film scores: their history, their generic conventions, and their ideological import. The essays cover the genre of the western from its generation and development in Hollywood to its international impact from Europe to Asia.

Film Music: A Very Short Introduction
. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

An introduction to the discipline of film music, Film Music: A Very Short Introduction is an overview of the history, theory, and practice of film music. It embraces a global perspective examining film music in Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East, as well as the US and western Europe.

How the West Was Sung: Music and the Westerns of John Ford.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007

James Stewart once said, "For John Ford, there was no need for dialogue. The music said it all." How the West Was Sung is a comprehensive analysis of the music in Ford's iconic westerns. Employing a variety of critical approaches and incorporating original archival research, the book explores the director's oft-noted predilection for American folk song, hymnody, and period music.

Settling the Score: Music and the Classical Hollywood Film
. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992.

Settling the Score situates the music that developed to accompany Hollywood films of the studio era in historical, institutional, cultural, musical, and theoretical contexts and examines the conventions and strategies underpinning the classical Hollywood model, the most powerful and influential relationship to have developed between music and film.

Awards and Affiliations

Mary Tucker Thorp Professor of Rhode Island College, 2011

Page last updated: January 21, 2019