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Alumni Graduate Students

Jessica Ruffin


Dissertation: “A World Divided: Schopenhauer, Aesthetics, and Cinematic Experience”

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Jessica Ruffin is a PhD candidate in Film & Media, with designated emphasis in Critical Theory. She holds an MA in German Literature and Culture from UC Berkeley (2018) as well as an MA in Humanities from University of Chicago (2008). Her interdisciplinary research brings together aesthetic philosophy, media theory, spectatorial theory, and media archaeology towards inquiry into ethical relation and aesthetic experience. Her dissertation, “A World Divided: Schopenhauer, Aesthetics, and Cinematic Experience,” draws upon the aesthetics and ethics of Arthur Schopenhauer in order to reframe the early stages of German-language media and cultural theory and to reimagine their figures of ethical relation in light of feminist and critical race theories.

Recipient of the Critical Theory Dissertation Fellowship and the Daniel E. Koshland Art of Teaching Writing Fellowship, Jessica has published work in Millennium Film Journal, TRANSIT and qui parle. She has presented in panels and seminars at the Society of Cinema and Media Studies annual conference, World Picture, Object One, the Princeton-Weimar and Berkeley-Köln Summer Schools, and the University of Chicago Cinema and Media Graduate Conference. She is former editor of Millennium Film Journal (2008-2013) and qui parle (2018-2019) and currently serves on the board of Aubin Pictures, a nonprofit social justice media company based in New York City.