I am an assistant professor of Film and Media Studies at Lafayette College, where I teach classes on film history, early and silent-era cinema, minor media practices (found footage, home movies, amateur works), visual culture, media archaeology, and sound theory. Before arriving at Lafayette, I directed the Film and Visual Culture program at the University of Aberdeen in northeast Scotland. I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a concentration in Film and Video Studies from Cornell University in June 2009. I received a B.A. in Comparative Literature and French from Emory University in 2002.
I am the author of Bad Film Histories: Ethnography and the Early Archive (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). In my research, I explore the ways we write and think about film history and archival research, and the development of film history as a field in film studies. I am also interested in the intersections between silent film and new media (and co-edited a book on the subject).
I was awarded a Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers for the 2021-2022 academic year and will begin research on a new book project, Images at the End of the World: Historicity and Mourning in the Twenty-First Century, at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. In this project, I examine the nature of the relationship between contemporary modes of visual representation and history. I am interested in the ways that new media function as historical artifacts—how they encourage us to mourn, experience nostalgia, or encounter the specters of past time—despite their seeming lack of artifactual authority. You can read more about my published and forthcoming research here.
I used to maintain a blog called Half/Films. Like a lot of blogs, it had a finite lifespan. It got its name from an archivist at the Filmmuseum in Amsterdam who used the term “half films” to describe the scraps of cinema I selected to screen. “Half films” inhabit the vast margins of the archives: untitled, unauthored, seemingly infinite in number, and unrestored even in their digital afterlives. I am still writing and thinking about “half films” even if I am no longer blogging about them. You can find the archives of my posts here.