Members of the Film Studies Steering Committee include Robin Blaetz, Nora Gortcheva, Bernadine Mellis, Amy Rodgers, Ajay J. Sinha, Paul Staiti, and Elizabeth Young.
Chair of Film Studies; Carl M. and Elsie A. Small Professor of English;
Elizabeth Young teaches courses on American literature, women’s writing, film, and visual culture. Her courses often focus on intersections among gender, race, and sexuality in U.S. culture and on combinations of literary and visual materials. Her scholarly research includes the books Black Frankenstein: The Making of an American Metaphor and Disarming the Nation: Women’s Writing and the American Civil War. Her current book project is on the representation of animals in nineteenth-century novels, taxidermy, and other cultural forms.
Professor of Film Studies
Robin Blaetz teaches Introduction to Film, History of World Cinema, Film Theory, and Experimental Film, as well as courses in various genres, including the Musical and Documentary. Her scholarly work centers on women and film; she has published an anthology called Women’s Experimental Cinema: Critical Frameworks (Duke University Press, 2007) and Visions of the Maid: Joan of Arc in American Film and Culture (Virginia University Press, 2001). Her current project explores the connections between the films of Joseph Cornell and his better known boxes.
Visiting Lecturer in German Studies
Nora Gortcheva teaches classes in German, Film, and Architectural Studies. In her work she investigates questions of medial geography and social experience – German cinema, architecture, and modernity; the essay film; mobility and migration in German, European and World Cinema; and most recently German installation and digital art. Nora holds a Joint Ph.D. in German and Film and Media Studies from Yale University, and a B.A. in German and Architectural Studies from Mount Holyoke College.
Five College Senior Lecturer in Film and Video Production
Bernadine Mellis teaches video production with an emphasis on documentary and experimental narrative. Her own films span political/personal non-fiction and experimental fiction. Her documentary, The Forest for the Trees, follows environmentalist Judi Bari’s civil case against the FBI. Bernadine also directed The Odyssey, a collaborative, queer adaptation of Homer's epic. Bernadine is currently working on two projects: a story about children of the New Left, and a documentary about alternative burial practices.
Assistant Professor of English
Amy Rodgers' research focuses on early modern literature and culture, audience and popular culture studies, theories of adaptation, and dance studies. Her publlications include essays on the Renaissance court masque, Hindi-language cinema director Vishal Bhardwaj, Shakespeare's history plays' influence on HBO's Game of Thrones, and performance genealogies that cross different communicative forms, particularly theater and dance. Her first monograph, A Monster With a Thousand Hands: The Discursive Spectator in Early Modern England is forthcoming with the University of Pennsylvania Press. She is a co-founder of the Shakespeare and Dance Project.
Ajay J. Sinha
Chair of Art History; Professor of Art History
Ajay Sinha teaches the history of Asian art at various levels, and seminars on Indian photography and Indian film. In his classes, students explore how the visual arts in India, China, Japan and other Asian countries reflect political and social formations, embody cultural values, and make visible the historical connections between local cultures and global networks, past and present, religious beliefs and secular life. He has published books and scholarly journal articles on the art and architecture of ancient India, and modern and contemporary art of South Asia including photography and film. Sinha is also a member of the Asian Studies Program and the Film Studies Program.
Professor of Fine Arts on the Alumnae Foundation
Paul Staiti teaches courses in American art and cinema. He has authored books and essays on John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer and other American artists. His most recent book, Of Arms and Artists, is concerned with the diverse ways in which painters responded to the crisis of the American Revolution. He co-curated the Copley show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Currently, in anticipation of an exhibition scheduled for Versailles and the Met, Staiti is researching the Americans who visited the court of Louis XVI.
Managing Liaison, Research & Instructional Support
Nick Baker is the Library and Technology Liaison to Architecture, Studio Art, Computer Science, Film Studies, and the Nexus Program. He manages a blended team of librarians and instructional technologists, and enjoys integrating art and technology through his work with the Makerspace in the Art Building.
Department Coordinator, Film Studies
Chair Spanish, Latina/o and Latin American Studies; Associate Professor of Spanish, Latina/o and Latin American Studies
Justin Crumbaugh teaches courses on contemporary Latin America and Spain, addressing topics such as the idea of "(under)development" as it has been questioned in the Global South, or the films of Pedro Almodóvar. Crumbaugh is also the author of Destination Dictatorship: The Spectacle of Spain’s Tourist Boom and the Reinvention of Difference (SUNY Press 2009) as well as numerous journal articles.
Professor of History
Deeply engaged in bringing history to wider audiences beyond the academy, Daniel Czitrom served as the historical advisor for Copper, an original dramatic series set in Civil War-era New York City (BBC America, 2011-13). He has also appeared as on-camera commentator for several documentaries, including The Rise and Fall of Penn Station (PBS, 2014) and New York: A Documentary Film (PBS,1999). Czitrom is the author most recently New York Exposed: The Gilded Age Police Scandal that launched the Progressive Era (2016), as well as Media and the American Mind (1982), and Rediscovering Jacob Riis (2008).
Chair of French; Professor of French
Samba Gadjigo's research focuses on French-speaking Africa, particularly the work of filmmaker Ousmane Sembene. In 2001, Gadjigo was instrumental in bringing the Senegalese filmmaker to MHC for screenings and discussions of his work.
Chair of Gender Studies; Associate Professor of Gender Studies
Christian Gundermann understands theory as a daily practice like breathing and eating. He teaches students in different contexts as diverse as the interpretation of films, the history of the queer movement, the questioning of the human/animal boundary, the historical study of horsemanship, the practice of body modifications, the connections between feminism and the sciences, the nexuses of power, knowledge, pleasure, and suffering etc. that there is no practice without theory, and that every theory is always already a practice.
Professor of Theatre Arts
Vanessa James is an international designer of sets, costumes and lighting for theatre and opera. She is an art director for feature films and television, has received an Emmy citation and been nominated for three Emmy awards. Examples of her work are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute library, and the New York Museum of the Moving Image. She is the author of two books of popular reference, The Genealogy of Greek Mythology, and Shakespeare’s Genealogies, both published by Penguin USA.
Chair of German Studies; Professor of German Studies
Karen Remmler’s interdisciplinary research and teaching in English and German focuses on the politics and cultures of memory in the aftermath of atrocity and war in European and transnational contexts; German literature, film, and sites of memory within transnational contexts; 19th century critical social thought through the lens of contemporary social critics; and the interrelationship between national processes of transitional justice and the work of memory in films by the descendants of genocide survivors and perpetrators in non-western contexts.
Associate Professor of Theatre Arts; Associate Professor of Gender Studies
Erika Rundle's research interests include theatre history; dramatic theory; performance studies; critical animal studies; Darwinian literary criticism; translation
David W. Sanford
Chair of Music; Elizabeth T. Kennan Professor of Music
David Sanford teaches courses in music theory, composition, music and film, and jazz history. As a composer, his works have been commissioned by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Speculum Musicae, the Meridian Arts Ensemble, and cellist Matt Haimovitz, and also performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Chicago Symphony Chamber Players, and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra under Marin Alsop among others. He is the leader of the contemporary big band, the Pittsburgh Collective.
Lucia, Ruth and Elizabeth MacGregor Professor of English
Donald Weber’s teaching and research interests include American literature, Multi-ethnic literature, South African literature and culture, and, most recently, the imaginative landscape of contemporary multicultural London. He is currently working on two large projects: a book mapping contemporary Jewish American literature and popular culture; and a book, titled The Anxiety of Belonging, about the fraught relation between “identity” and citizenship in contemporary British and Western European literature and film. He has just returned from a sabbatical as a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Modern Languages Research at the University of London.