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 earned his PhD in Film & Media from UC Berkeley in 2015, with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory. Currently, he is Assistant Professor of Film Studies in the Department of Arts, Culture, and Media at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Before moving to the Netherlands, he was Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago.
In his forthcoming monograph, Baer places films of the Weimar Republic in conversation with the “crisis of historicism” that was widely diagnosed by German intellectuals in the interwar period. The project challenges the historicist tenets of New Film History and expands the field of Film and Philosophy, probing the nexus between cinema and historical-philosophical inquiry. Baer’s research has been supported through yearlong fellowships from the Fulbright Program, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and Leo Baeck Institute / Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. His work on the project was also recognized with the Karsten Witte Prize for best article in film studies.
Baer has co-edited two volumes of film and media theory: the multi-award-winning The Promise of Cinema: German Film Theory, 1907–1933 (University of California Press, 2016) and Unwatchable (Rutgers University Press, 2019). He has published 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 Visiting Assistant Professor 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 has appeared in the Journal of African Cinemas and is forthcoming in 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.
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.