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Events and News

During the course of the academic year, Department of Film, Television, and Media hosts a number of events organized by graduate students and faculty alike. Our monthly speaker series brings a diverse range of prominent scholars to campus, often combining research presentations with professionalization sessions for graduates. In addition, our programming provides opportunities for graduate students to workshop their writing or to receive feedback on a conference presentation from faculty and peers. Faculty and graduates have also organized high profile public events from film screenings to academic symposia, and Department of Film, Television, and Media regularly collaborates with local institutions and cultural events, including the annual Cinetopia Film Festival and the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

FTVM Graduate Talks & Speaker Series 

Each semester, our "graduate student talk" venue provides our graduate students with the opportunity of sharing the results of their research with their peers and with faculty members, and of receiving constructive feedback.

Our monthly speaker series brings a diverse range of prominent scholars to campus, often combining research presentations with professionalization sessions for graduates. 

2021-22 Graduate Talks and Guest Speakers 


9/23/2021: Guest Speaker, Professor Caetlin Benson-Allott

10/7/2021: Guest Speaker, Kirsten Elling, Coordinator for Graduate Student Careers

10/21/2021: Grad Student Talk - Amber Hardiman

11/11/2021: Guest Speaker - Professor Nicole Starosielski

11/18/2021: Grad Student Talk - Tanite Chahwan

1/6/2022: Grad Student Talk - Richard Mwakasege-Minaya, PhD (FTVM 2019)


Caetlin Benson-Allott - Professor of English and Film and Media Studies, Georgetown

Film and television create worlds, but they are also of a world, a world that is made up of stuff, to which humans attach meaning. Think of the last time you watched a movie: the chair you sat in, the snacks you ate, the people around you, maybe the beer or joint you consumed to help you unwind—all this stuff shaped your experience of media and its influence on you. The material culture around film and television changes how we make sense of their content, not to mention the very concepts film and television. But while scholars have spent decades studying how human identities, human bodies, and various technologies influence media reception, little attention has been paid to the material culture around the viewer and their screens. Focusing on the material cultures of film and television reception, The Stuff of Spectatorship argues that the things we share space with and consume as we consume television and film radically alter viewers’ sense of themselves, their media, and their world.




Kirsten Elling - Coordinator for Graduate Student Career Advancement, Rackham Embedded Career Counselor

This workshop will focus on resources you can leverage to explore career options outside of the academy, as well as strategies to best position yourself for a variety of career trajectories.  We will cover approaches to networking, transferable skills, and key resources designed to support your exploration.  This workshop is open to students at all points in their graduate careers, and there will be plenty of time for your questions.

Amber Hardiman -- PhD student and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow 

In this talk, Hardiman compares two documentary series concerned with the life and crimes of the late Jeffrey Epstein, mega-rich financier and convicted sex offender. Throughout her analysis of each docuseries, namely, Lifetime's Surviving Jeffrey Epstein (2020) and Netflix's Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (2020), Hardiman evaluates the contours of an identifiably feminist documentary "voice" in the post-truth, digital streaming era. In addition to exploring how survivor perspectives are framed and amplified in each series according to the logics of their respective distribution networks, Hardiman unpacks the advocacy imperatives underpinning  documentary and journalistic "voice" more generally. In so doing, she explores the advantages and pitfalls involved in documentary remediations of gendered violence, and how these stack up against mainstream journalistic coverage of these same social issues. Ultimately, this talk works to apprehend what documentary as a form offers to feminist filmmakers and producers concerned with the politics of sexual violence, through an analysis of what a feminist documentary "voice" may (or may not) look like through the lens of these two case studies. 



Nicole Starosielski - Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University

This presentation draws from Nicole Starosielski's forthcoming book, Media Hot and Cold, a feminist qnd queer rewriting of media theory in the context of digital systems and climate change. It tracks the shifting thermal regimes that structure modern media, from print to digital infrastructures. While media have always been shaped by temperature, computational media are systematically re-embeds network production, distribution, and access into both colonial geography and into the hands of hyperscale media companies. Starosielski calls for a critical temperature studies that can address the connections between thermal contexts and media technologies. 


Tanite Chahwan, PhD Student 


In this talk, Tanite will introduce Egyptian  Melodrama as a genre that thrives on complexities -- especially in Gamal Abdel Nasser’s era of “reform and modernization” (1954) -- by putting women on the forefront, as representatives of a nation that was much oriented towards conservative Islamic traditions.

How did Nasser’s “modernization” of Egypt clash with religious traditionalism that is so much integrated within the nation’s cultural identity, on-screen, via gender roles? And how does the nuclear family and motherhood (or its absence), play into this?


Richard Mwakasege-Minaya, PhD (FTVM 2019)

The media has long been a site of political contestation for social groups in the U.S., particularly during the period that overlaps the social movement era and the Cold War. Cuban exiles have participated in this struggle in the service of their most dedicated goal: the liberation of their island-nation from communism. This presentation is an overview of Countercurrents of Revolution, a book-length study of the ways in which Cuban exiles, and their allies, have impacted U.S. media for their geopolitical ends. Cuban organizations have mounted concerted media campaigns, alerted U.S. authorities to enact censorship, emboldened media professionals to express anti-communist sentiments, and partnered with right-wing broadcasters to disseminate propaganda, all to sully the reputation of the Cuban Revolution. In doing so, Cuban exiles bolstered the U.S. conservative movement by supporting right-wing broadcasters and organizations, for example, by acting as experts and eyewitnesses to the ills of communism via Cuba.