Associate Professor of Cinema Studies
Undergraduate Appointment: Department of Visual Studies (UTM)
Graduate Appointment: Cinema Studies Institute (St. George)
CCT 3024, UTM
PhD, New York University, Cinema Studies, 2003
MA, New York University, Cinema Studies, 1996
BA, University of Maryland at College Park, English, 1994
My work, as both a scholar and a teacher, is largely concerned with ontological questions—not how images come into being, as is more common in film studies, but how our being, individually and collectively (who we are, what we think, what we can thus do together) is constituted by images. While my work is informed by continental philosophy and traditions of critical theory that have been critical of vision and representation, my work tends to privilege the emancipatory potential of images insofar as they present us with ways—whether as an idea or as a material site—of being together. The themes of my teaching and research include various aspects of film style, colour, friendship, globalization, the problems of epistemology, the burden of metaphysics, as well as avant-garde film and video practices.
Current Research Projects
I am currently at work on two book projects. The first, A Theory of Regret: The Thought of Bureaucracy pursues the unexpected, and in most cases unwelcome, relation that pertains between theories of thinking in continental philosophy and bureaucratic logics, insofar as both are typically defined in terms of withdrawal. If the bureaucrat is the one who disappears behind an appearance, which is shown to us simply as a distraction, then what are we to make of the fact that most claims for thinking also privilege the moment in which we ourselves fall away from appearances? If in thought we fall away from appearance while remaining an appearance for others, expressly so that we might reflect on what is before us with respect to something that has already passed or that might be done next, what will it mean for us to carry on describing the bureaucrat as stupid, when his/her actions mimic the very logic of thinking? For one, we will have to admit the bureaucrat is not, strictly speaking, stupid, if “stupid” implies an inability to withdraw from appearance. A Theory of Regret is an attempt to reckon with the consequences of that very problem, so that we might find modes of resistance that do more than merely produce in us a state of melancholic fixation on the thing that should have been but has nevertheless gone missing. Instead, it will be shown that regret, which helps us to distinguish between non-voluntary and involuntary states (pace Aristotle), enables us to think the future as something more than a mere perfecting of what once seemed good but did not quite work the first time.
The second book, The Labour of Friendship: Olivier Assayas and Global Style, offers a broad theory of globalization as both a promise and a problem of labour, especially when “work” is performed as an act of friendship. I am developing this idea in relation to close readings of the work of Olivier Assayas, whose films regularly enact the friend/enemy relation as a question of image production and reception. Assayas’s films and the thinking about friendship that one finds there is used to complicate questions of sovereignty and the friend/enemy problem so importantly described by Jacques Derrida in his later work.
CIN 303 Global Auteurs: Assayas, Hou, Haneke
CIN 306 The Comedic Image
CIN 401 Topics in Cinema Studies: Film Noir and the Problem of Style
CIN 401 Topics in Cinema Studies: Crime and Cinema
CIN 1005 Special Studies in Cinema: Colour and the Moving Image
CIN 1005 Special Studies in Cinema: The Thought of Film: Cinema and the Mind
Neither God Nor Master: Robert Bresson and the Modalities of Revolt (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011).
Co-editor, with John David Rhodes, On Michael Haneke (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2010).
Co-editor, with Angela Dalle Vacche, of Color, The Film Reader (New York and London: Routledge, 2006).
“Color, Melodrama, and the Problem of Interiority,” Companion to Rainer Werner Fassbinder, ed. Brigitte Peucker (London: Blackwell, forthcoming, Spring 2012): 159-180.
“Moving through Images,” in The Place of the Moving Image, eds. John David Rhodes and Elena Gorfinkel (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011): 299-316.
“Bureaucracy and Visual Style,” Michael Haneke, ed. Roy Grundmann (London: Blackwell, 2010): 301-320.
“Art/Cinema and Cosmopolitanism Today,” in Global Art Cinema, eds. Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010): 109-124.
“Pain and the Limits of Representation,” expanded and reprinted in On Michael Haneke, eds. Brian Price and John David Rhodes (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2010): 35-50.
“Heidegger and Cinema,” in European Film Theory, ed. Temenuga Trifonova (New York and London: Routledge, 2008): 108-121.
“The Latest Laocoon: Medium Specificity and the History of Film Theory,” in Handbook of Film and Media Studies, ed. Robert Phillip Kolker (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008): 38-82.
“Color, the Formless, and Cinematic Eros,” reprinted in Color, the Film Reader, eds. Angela Dalle Vacche and Brian Price (London and New York: Routledge, 2006): 76-87.