Prof. Meghan Sutherland headshot

Meghan Sutherland

Associate Professor
Film/Media Philosophy, History of American TV & Popular Entertainment, Political Theory

Professor Sutherland's research draws on film and television studies, continental philosophy, and political theory to consider the nature of the relation between aesthetic and political forms of representation in a range of different contexts, but with a special emphasis on television, new media, and avant-garde film and video. Along similar lines, the courses she teaches explore stylistic and technological links between visual culture and political discourse, the relation between moving images and the organization of space and place, and the role that popular aesthetic forms play in the constitution of social bodies, in each case attending to both historical and theoretical registers of these relationships to consider the shifting nature of their entwinement.

Download Prof. Sutherland's CV

Current Research Projects

Professor Sutherland is currently working on a book manuscript called Variety, Democracy, and Spectacle. This study stages a theoretical and historical reappraisal of the spectacular aesthetic codes of variety entertainment—a form it traces from 19th-century popular theatre to 20th-century television and 21st-century Internet platforms such as YouTube—to propose that the aesthetic codes associated with such spectacles, far from simply structuring “empty” or meaningless forms of generic entertainment, in fact play an ontological role in producing the historical referent to which we implicitly point when we engage in any political discourse about who the people are or what they need.

Courses Taught


CIN 202  An Introduction to Cinema Studies
VCC 309  Society and Spectacle
VCC 340/VCC205  Monsters
VCC 338  Picturing the Suburbs
VCC 400  Advanced Project: Geographies of the Moving Image
VCC 427  Participatory Media


CIN 1005  Special Studies in Cinema: Media/Participation
CIN 1005  Special Studies in Cinema: The Society of the Spectacle Today

PhD, Northwestern University, Media, Technology, and Society, 2007
MA, John W. Draper Program for Humanities and Social Thought, New York University, 2003
BFA, New York University, Cinema Studies and Art History 2001


The Flip Wilson Show (Wayne State University Press, 2008).

Essays (refereed)

“Populism and Spectacle,” Cultural Studies (January 2012), 1-16,

“On the Grounds of Disaster,” in The Place of the Moving Image, eds. John David Rhodes and Elena Gorfinkel (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 339-361.

“Death, with Television,” in On Michael Haneke, eds. Brian Price and John-David Rhodes (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2010), 167-189.

“Monstration and Spectacle,” in Film Theory at the Very Beginning and the Very End, eds. Enrico Biasin and Jane Gaines (Udine: Forum/University of Udine, 2010), 437-444.

“Rigor/Mortis: The Political Life of Zombie Cinema,” Framework 48, no. 1 (Spring 2007): 64-78.

Essays (non-refereed)

“What Debord Can Teach Us about Protest,” The Guardian, Online Philosophy Series, 2 April 2012,

“Acategorical Imperatives: A Conversation with Sam Lipsyte,” (with Brian Price) in World Picture 6 (Winter 2011),
“Suburbia and the Popular Imagination,” in Cul-de-Sac: Catalogue for the Varley Art Gallery/Art Gallery of Markham, June 2011, 15-29.

“An Empty Set,” FlowTV: An Online Journal of Television and Media, Volume 11, no. 12 (Spring 2010). <>

“Thinking the Box,” FlowTV: An Online Journal of Television and Media, Volume 11, no. 7 (Spring 2010). <>

“Being on Television,” FlowTV: An Online Journal of Television and Media, Volume 11, no. 3 (Winter 2009). <>

“About Opsis,” World Picture 4 (Spring 2010). <>

“Not a Ground but a Horizon: An Interview with Ernesto Laclau,” with Brian Price, World Picture 2 (Fall 2008). <>

“On Debord, Then and Now: An Interview with Olivier Assayas,” with Brian Price, World Picture 1 (Spring 2008). <>

“The Art of Impurity: An Interview with Emmanuel Bourdieu,” with Brian Price, World Picture 1 (Spring 2008). <>

“The Word for a Thousand Pictures,” World Picture 1 (Spring 2008). <>


Cinema Studies Institute
World Picture Journal