FTVM Spends the Summer Publishing, Presenting, and Winning Accolades! 

Professor Jim Burnstein 



On July 14, 2022, Professor Jim Burnstein held a Zoom interview with Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director Ron Shelton about his book The Church of Baseball. The book is about the writing and making of the movie Bull Durham

This event was sponsored by the Dearborn Public Library

Associate Professor Hollis Griffin


Associate Professor Hollis Griffin publislhed  "'I Always Knew I Wasn't Gonna Be Long on This Earth': Pose and the AIDS Crisis" in Ryan Murphy's Queer America (Routledge, 2022), Brenda Weber and David Greven, eds. and "It's a Sin: AIDS as Incipient Crisis" in European Journal of Cultural Studies (July 2022).

Associate Professor Matthew Solomon


Associate Professor Matthew Solomon published “The Materiality of Film Magic: Georges Méliès’ Escamotage d’une dame chez Robert-Houdin (1896),” in Magic: A Companion, ed. Katharina Rein (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2022) and the review essay “Books, Candles, a Cassone, and a Length of Cord: ‘Too-Close Viewing’ Hitchcock’s Rope," in the Hitchcock Annual, no. 25 (2021). 


On June 2, 2022, Solomon presented on “Georges Méliès’ ‘A Trip to the Moon’” at the Detroit Observatory in Ann Arbor. 


photo credit, at bottom, Olivier Bahizi

Assistant Professor Swapnil Rai 



In June, Assistant Professor Swapnil Rai participated in a two-day workshop on Digital India and State Making organized by the Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania where she presented her work on authoritarian populism and its intersections with digital media.

PhD Candidates Vincent Longo and Marissa Spada Successfully Defend Dissertations

Longo's dissertation A Hard Act to Follow: Live Performance in the Age of the Hollywood Studio System argues that scholars should not equate the demise of vaudeville as a cultural industry in the early 1930s with the disappearance of live performance in movie theaters in the United States, which continued with much success in many large luxurious downtown theaters until the 1950s. Doing so has concealed variety theater as a critical shaping force in the industrial history of studio era Hollywood, the star system, and the experiences of theatergoers. The dissertation recasts the Hollywood studios as multimedia conglomerates (not just film companies) which came to control variety stage entertainment and create studio-run live performance circuits. These live performance circuits supported a more diverse star system, where diverse performers received star billing unlike in films of the period. These performances also make visible the experiences and tastes of audiences of color who sought out these performances. The project begins detailing the experiences of these under-researched audiences who were an important, but largely overlooked part of the movie palace experience.

Spada's dissertation, Camera Beauty: Makeup and the Art of Image Making in Studio Era Hollywood explores how screen makeup developed in the American motion picture industry, and how these developments subsequently shaped normative beauty standards and practices. Between the years 1927 and 1937, the art of screen makeup underwent critical transitions attendant to the maturation of the Hollywood studio system, its increasingly realistic modes of representation, and the growing omnipresence of its star culture. Additionally, during this decade, the mass cosmetics industry grew exponentially and symbiotically alongside these changes in Hollywood, despite the economic devastation of the Great Depression. She argues that it was during these years that the relationship between beauty, makeup, and the cinema took root in American culture, alongside the growth of the Hollywood studio system, and the standardization of its technologies and creative practices.

Doctoral Candidate Sean Donovan

The virtual monument interface of Stonewall forever

PhD Candidate Sean Donovan published the article "Over the Corporate Rainbow: LGBTQ Film Festivals and Affective Media Networks" in the journal New Review of Film & Television Studies (May 2022).  In an effort to track the complex circulation of affect still present within LGBTQ film festivals, this article troubles this critique of commodification and investigates the networking of LGBTQ film festival affect amongst contexts of significant socio-historical importance like group belonging, pride, and activism.


This article was awarded the 2021 SCMS Queer and Trans Caucus Chris Holmlund Graduate Student Writing Prize

PhD Student Grace Wilsey

PhD student Grace Wilsey was honored to place second in the Society for Cinema and Media Studies' Student Writing Award earlier this summer. Her essay, "The Count, the Tramp, and the Detective: Navigating Temporal Disorientation in Narratives of Technological Change," explores how technological development relates to social perceptions of temporality through analysis of three texts: the 1844 novel The Count of Monte Cristo, the 1936 film Modern Times, and the contemporary television series Watchmen.

PhD Student Brinni Gentry

Brinni Gentry served as chair for a panel on cross-racial performance and racial masquerade in which she presented her paper "'Wild Woman': Doubled Mimesis and Imperial Fantasy in Doraldina's Hula"  at the 11th Women and the Silent Screen Conference which was held in New York City.

Gentry also published a paper entitled "TikTok’s ‘Republicansona’ Trend as Cross-Party Cross-Dressing: Legible Normativity, (In)dividual Representation and Performing Subversive Ambiguity" in the journal Convergence. Deploying affect theory, Deleuzian critiques of neoliberalism, affordance theories of algorithmic culture, critical race theory, queer epistemologies of discursive space and textual analysis of Republicansona content, this article interrogates the operations of not just TikTok but of an increasingly right-leaning America.

The article is available online and will be printed in a forthcoming special issue

PhD Alum Kayti Lausch

PhD Kayti Lausch's dissertation--“Building a Climate of Righteousness: Religious Television Networks in American Culture”--was selected as the winner of the 2022 SCMS dissertation award.

Lausch's work expands upon recent interest in religious and conservative media, challenging our biases and presumptions about both. While such networks have been understood and have understood themselves as fringe and oppositional players in the evolving media scape, Lausch's media industry's approach, repositions those networks within broader commercial, textual, and regulatory dynamics. Text, context, and concept interact fluidly in this account. Against 3 accounts of the inevitable rise of a conservative religious media ecology, Lausch's writing moves assuredly through underutilized and semi-censored archives to excavate a far more nuanced tale.

FTVM Mitchell Scholars in the NEWS!

The Mitchell Scholars and our John H. Mitchell Visiting Professor from Fall of 21, Janet Leahy, were featured in several local articles this year - including one in the LSA Magazine, one in MLive, and one in the Michigan Daily

Click here to learn more.