Film & Media Welcomes Nicole Starosielski and Iggy Cortez

Nicole Starosielski (L) and Iggy Cortez (R).

June 14, 2023

The Department of Film & Media is pleased to announce that two new faculty members will be joining us in the fall:

Nicole Starosielski’s work on digital infrastructure and environmental implications of the digital has been groundbreaking in the field of Global Digital Media Studies, helping to reshape the discipline in the last decade. Her first book, The Undersea Network (Duke UP, 2015), counters discourses alleging the immateriality and resilience of the internet and its primarily urban character. She examines the large network of undersea cables that are the infrastructure and hence material grounding of the internet itself, transporting data globally while remaining hidden from everyday experience. This network follows the earlier routes of telephony and telegraphy that are complicit with colonialist imperatives. Starosielski’s second monograph, Media Hot and Cold (Duke UP, 2021), is an innovative interconnection of global warming, ecological issues, and digital media through an examination of temperature and its impact on the stability of infrastructure and the materiality of media. Here she analyzes the history of the thermal properties of various pre-digital media (photography, film, etc.) as well as of digital media. Professor Starosielski’s teaching includes courses on digital media and her specialization in eco-criticism, film, cultural studies, and media production.

Iggy Cortez has an extensive reputation for his meticulous film analyses and knowledge of World Cinema. His book manuscript, Wondrous Nights: Global Cinema in the Nocturnal Sensorium, investigates representations of nighttime in films across the globe, arguing that technologically mediated perception and emerging sociopolitical sensoriums are inseparable. Night signals a precarious visibility, a transitional state or threshold, and a cyclical experience that are symptomatic of the redefinition of cinema in a society of proliferating digital media. The low-light affordances of digital cameras expand the potential of visibility to the bodies of marginalized others and the areas that often remain hidden in urban territories. Cortez shows how specific questions of form, technics, and atmospherics are immanently related to the production of, and resistance to, variegated structures of raciality. He not only attends to the representation of racialized bodies as sociological facts but also views mediation, technology, and aesthetic/cinematic form as fundamental to the interrogation of race. Cortez has also been active as a curator, programmer, and cultural advisor. Professor Cortez has a wide range of teaching experience including large introductory world film history undergraduate courses, upper-level undergraduate seminars on race in film and media theory, documentary, global queer cinema and media, screen performance and the global body, and graduate seminars on cinema and work and comparative media analysis and practice.

A warm welcome to Nicole and Iggy!