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Guest Scholars 2021-2022



Lynn Spigel -Frances Willard Professor of Screen Cultures, Northwestern 

This talk presents selections from Lynn Spigel’s forthcoming book TV Snapshots: An Archive of Everyday Life (Duke University Press, August 2022). The talk explores snapshots of people posing in front of their television sets in the 1950s through the early 1970s. Like today’s selfies, TV snapshots were a popular photographic practice through which people visualized their lives in an increasingly mediated culture. Drawing on her collection of over 5,000 TV snapshots, Spigel shows that people did not just watch TV; instead, they used the television set as a setting for the presentation of self, family, and gender. 

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.


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.