People

Faculty

Robin Blaetz

Chair and Professor of Film Studies, Film Studies Steering Committee, on leave Spring 2017

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.

Professor Robin Blaetz in the Williston Library reading room

Bernadine Mellis

Five College Lecturer in Video Production, on leave Fall 2016

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.

EE Miller

Visiting Lecturer in Film Studies

Amy Rodgers

Assistant Professor of English

Amy Rodgers specializes in Early Modern Literature and Culture; Literary Theory; Audience Studies; Mass Culture and Popular Culture Studies; Film Studies; Medieval Drama; Contemporary Drama; and Playwriting and Dance History

Amy Rodgers Assistant Professor of English

Ajay J. Sinha

Professor of Art History, Film Studies Steering Committee, on leave Fall 2016

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.

 Ajay J. Sinha Professor of Art History

Paul Staiti

Art History Chair and Professor of Fine Arts on the Alumnae Foundation, Film Studies Steering Committee

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.

Paul Staiti

Elizabeth Young

Carl M. and Elsie A. Small Professor of English, Film Studies Steering Committee

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.

Elizabeth Young

Staff

Bridget Barrett

Department Coordinator, Film Studies

Emeriti

Debbora Battaglia

Professor Emerita of Anthropology

Debbora Battaglia has presented and published extensively on alterity, belonging, and future-making, most recently at intersections of science and technology, cosmopolitics, ethics, socioaesthetics, and nature/culture. Her books include E.T. Culture: Anthropology in Outerspaces (Duke UP), Rhetorics of Self-Making, ed. (University of California Press), and On the Bones of the Serpent: Person, Memory, and Mortality in Sabarl Island Society (University of Chicago Press), in addition to special issues and a monograph. Her current project moves into questions concerning interbeing ethics.

Contact: dbattagl@mtholyoke.edu

Thomas E. Wartenberg

Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Film Studies Steering Committee

Thomas Wartenberg specializes in the philosophy of film. He has written and edited a number of books in this area, including Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy and Fight Club, both published by Routledge. Among the courses he teaches are: The Philosophy of Film and Film Theory and Philosophy. Wartenberg's other areas of expertise include philosophy for children and aesthetics.

Gabriele Wittig Davis

Professor Emerita of German Studies

Gabriele Wittig Davis, retired in 2016,  taught courses in both German and English, in German area studies as well as European and film studies. Furthermore, her long-standing investigations into Romanticism and gender role redefinitions as well as her studies into concepts of race and ethnicity from the late 18th-century to the present contributed to offerings on gender and migration studies.

Affiliated Faculty

Justin Crumbaugh

Chair and 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.

Daniel Czitrom

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).

Daniel Czitrom

Samba Gadjigo

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.

Image of Samba Gadjigo

Christian Gundermann

Associate Professor of Gender Studies, on leave Fall 2016

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.

Vanessa James

Professor of Theatre Arts, Design

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.

Vanessa James outside near an iron fence

Karen Remmler

Professor and Chair of German Studies, Professor and Chair of Gender Studies, Professor of Critical Social Thought

Karen Remmler’s interdisciplinary research and teaching in English and German focuses on the politics and culture of memory in the aftermath of atrocity and war in European and Asian 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.

Professor Remmler in the CIruti Courtyard

Erika Rundle

Associate Professor in Theatre Arts and Gender Studies, Dramaturg

Erika Rundle's research interests include theatre history; dramatic theory; performance studies; critical animal studies; Darwinian literary criticism; translation

David W. Sanford

Chair and Elizabeth Topham Kennan Professor of Music - Composition, Theory

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.

David W. Sanford

Donald Weber

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.

Donald Weber, English