Robert Alford’s dissertation, “’To Know the Words to the Music’: Spatial Circulation, Queer Discourse and the Musical,” historicizes the relationship between homosexuals and musicals, and theorizes how popular song enabled forms of spatial and linguistic mobility that allowed queers to pass as normative subjects. His interests beyond film theory and history include queer theory, new media theory, theories of sound and the voice, sociolinguistics, ethnomusicology and phenomenology. Robert has published in Screen and Qui Parle, and has an article forthcoming in Cultural Critique.
Nicholas Baer (PhD, 2015) is Assistant Professor of Film Studies at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He co-edited the award-winning The Promise of Cinema: German Film Theory, 1907–1933 (University of California Press, 2016) and Unwatchable (Rutgers University Press, 2019). Baer has published on film and media, critical theory, and intellectual history in journals such as Cinéma & Cie, Film Quarterly, Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Seminar, and October, and his writings have been translated into six languages. For a list of his publications, please click here.
Eliot Bessette received his Ph.D. in 2020. His dissertation, “Thinking Through Fear in Film and Haunts,” advances a new form of philosophically productive close readings of the emotion of fear, as elicited by horror cinema and immersive theatrical haunted house attractions, or “haunts.” His research has appeared or is forthcoming in JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, New Review of Film and Television Studies, and ReFocus: The Films of William Castle (Edinburgh University Press). He has also written reviews and analyses of haunts for a popular audience at Haunting.net. He received an MA in Cinema and Media Studies from UCLA and an AB in Cinema and Media Studies and English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago.
Jennifer Blaylock (PhD 2019) is a Lecturer at the School of Film & Media Arts at Cleveland State University and an Affiliate Scholar in Cinema Studies at Oberlin College. She is currently working on her book project, Making Media New: Race in African Media History, a postcolonial media archaeology that analyzes discourses about new media technologies in Africa from the early twentieth century to the present. Her research is forthcoming in Journal of African Cinemas and boundary 2. In addition to her PhD in Film & Media Studies, Jennifer holds an MA in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and a BA in Anthropology from University of California, Berkeley. Her research has been funded by US Fulbright, the UC Humanities Research Institute, and the UC Consortium for Black Studies in California.
Harry Burson is a PhD candidate in Film & Media with a Designated Emphasis in New Media at UC Berkeley. He works in the areas of film and media theory, sound studies, and media archaeology. His dissertation, “The World in Stereo: Sound, Space, and Immersion” examines the emergence of stereophonic sound in terms of its potential to produce new forms of acoustic space and aural perspective through multi-speaker audio. The project explores how stereo reshapes understandings of space and spatiality that suffuse the contemporary global media environment.
At Berkeley, he co-organized the conferences Medium/Environment and High/Low: Taste, Quality, and Resolution in Film and Media. He also was an organizer of the Unintelligible: Noise Against Capture Conference at UC Santa Cruz as a founding member of the University of California Humanities Research Institute “Critical Research in Sound Studies” Working Group. He currently co-runs the Townsend Center working group on Sound Studies at Berkeley.
He is a 2020-21 Fellow at the Lemelson Center of the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History, and a 2020-21 Doctoral Fellow at the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, and Technology.
Alex Bush is a PhD candidate in Film & Media and a 2017-18 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Fellow. Her dissertation, “Cold Storage: A Media History of the Glacier,” examines the role played by visual and communications media in bringing nature into a Western mode of historical thought. She has authored articles forthcoming in Cinema Journal and in the collection Unwatchable (ed. Baer, Hennefeld, Horak & Iversen). At Berkeley, she has co-organized conferences on seriality and on expanded notions of media, and worked as chief translator for the sourcebook The Promise of Cinema: German Film Theory, 1907-1933, (UC Press, 2016). She holds a M.A. in Critical Studies from the University of Southern California, and an A.B. in Literature from Harvard University.
Kaitlin Clifton Forcier is a PhD candidate in the Department of Film and Media at UC Berkeley, with a Designated Emphasis in New Media. She researches and teaches on the history and theory of screen media, with a focus on the intersections of computation, popular media, and film and video art. Her dissertation, “The Infinite Image: Digital Media’s Boundless Aesthetic” analyzes iteration and endlessness in digital media, from the 1960s to today. These continually unfolding images are a pervasive form in digital culture, from the feedback loop of video art to the ongoing iterations of the animated screensaver, the “infinite scroll” of web browsers, and the looping of contemporary film and video art in the gallery. Her project considers how this “infinite aesthetic” underpins notions of digital culture as inexhaustible.
She has served as the graduate student representative to the Executive Committee of the Berkeley Center for New Media, co-organizer of the Townsend New Media Working Group, and graduate liaison for the Berkeley Art, Technology and Culture Colloquium. She has presented her research at numerous international conferences and her research has been supported by grants from the Mellon Foundation, the Berkeley Center for New Media, the Berkeley Center for International Studies, and the UC Berkeley Graduate Division. Prior to her studies at Berkeley she worked in the nonprofit arts sector and for the PBS series Art in the Twenty-First Century.
Elisa Giardina Papa is an Italian artist whose work investigates gender, sexuality, care and labor in relation to neoliberal capitalism and the borders of Global South. Her work has been exhibited and screened at MoMA (New York), Whitney Museum [Sunrise/Sunset Commission], Seoul Mediacity Biennale 2018, Unofficial Internet Pavilion of 54th Venice Biennial, XVI Quadriennale di Roma, rhizome.org [Download Commission], The Flaherty NYC, Institute for Contemporary Art, Milano (ICA MILANO), among others. Giardina Papa received an MFA from RISD, and a BA from Politecnico of Milan. She lives and works in Berkeley (CA), and Sant’Ignazio (Sicily). Giardina Papa is a founding member of the artist collective Radha May. http://www.elisagiardinapapa.org/
Lisa Wells Jacobson is a PhD candidate in Film & Media focusing on contemporary American and German film and television. Her dissertation, “Spy Craft: Analog Espionage in The Americans,” investigates the show’s nostalgia for a distinctly pre-digital kind of careful, painstaking effort that goes into everything from digging a hole to coordinating information networks to building a marriage. Before joining the PhD program in Film, Lisa received an MA in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley as well as an MA (Research) in Art & Literature from Leiden University in the Netherlands and a BA from Brown University. She also has strong interests in pedagogy and teaching analytic writing.
Tory Jeffay is a PhD student in Film & Media. She is interested in the politics and aesthetics of nonfiction filmmaking, technologies of digital film production, and surveillant uses of digital media. She holds a B.A. in Film Studies from Yale University. Prior to coming to Berkeley, she worked as a documentary editor in the Bay Area.