Work and leadership
In addition to being a professor at Johns Hopkins University, I am the director of The Center for Advanced Media Studies (CAMS). CAMS is a Johns Hopkins based center that organizes workshops, lecture series, and screenings/gallery installations in the field of media studies. It is generally geared toward graduate students with an interest in media studies, but open to the JHU community and the Baltimore community at large.
Presently, I am also serving as the Second Vice President of the University at Buffalo's Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA). NeMLA is a non-profit organization made up of educators and scholars that focuses on language, culture, and literature.
Installation of 'Community of Parting' by Jane Jin Kaisen.
Media in the Age of Apophenia: Why the Study of Media Art
and Theory is more Important Today than Ever
Seeing, Believing, Suffering: The Body as Medium in Religion and Contemporary
Media Practice in
Editors Alexander Darius Ornella, Stefanie Knauss, and
NOMOS: 2014 (read)
COURSES AT JHU
Film Theory and Critical Methods
Film Theory and Critical Methods surveys critical approaches to the study of film. Each week we examine a different theoretical approach to filmic representation, with emphasis variously placed on a style, genre, region of production, or period. We will be examining global film traditions from East Asia to Latin America, Western Africa, Europe, and North America. During the semester we will also host some filmmakers in the classroom or via Monday evening screenings either via zoom or in person (if possible). Seminar discussions will incorporate examples from films that students both view on their own, as well as during the Monday evening screenings, which are mandatory for all seminar participants.
Media Artist in Residence Jane Jin Kaisen
This seminar is a team-taught class between Clara Han (Anthropology) and Bernadette Wegenstein (MLL). In this class we will prepare the artist residency of Jane Jin Kaisen, a visual artist born in Jeju Island, South Korea and raised in Denmark. In the first part of the semester, we will cover theoretical questions raised in Jane Jin Kaisen’s work such as cross-cultural adoption, diaspora, migration, war, gender and sexuality, and translation. In the second part we will involve students practically in questions of media arts curation for the artist’s exhibit planned for April 5-9, 2022, at the Parkway Theatre, featuring three of her recent and acclaimed installations and films: The Woman, the Orphan, and the Tiger (2010), Apertures/ Rifts (2016), and Community of Parting (2019. In this class students will be closely involved with JHU's Center for Advanced Media Studies (CAMS), and the Baltimore Stavros Niarchos Parkway Theatre’s artistic director Christy LeMaster. They will also meet the artist Jane Jin Kaisen during her residency.
Contemporary Latin American Cinema: History, Theory, Practice
This seminar presents a transnational history of Latina American cinema from the 1960s to the present, with a special regard to its global influence. Starting with the Cuban Revolution and the subsequent founding of the ICAIC, we'll examine how politics and aesthetics shape each other. We'll discuss the manifestos and films of the so-called New Latin American Cinema, including Tercer Cine, Cine Imperfecto, and Cinema Novo; the filmography made during the continent's various dictatorships; and post-dictatorship debates on memory. We'll also engage with a recent theoretical and cinematic production on gender, sexuality, the non-human, and new cinematic postcolonial approaches. In December, we will visit the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema of Havana to continue discussions in the setting of Latin America’s largest film festival.
Global Feminist Filmmaking: A Theory in Practice Seminar
This seminar examines recent emerging narrative and documentary global feminist filmmakers, applying feminist theory, intersectional theory, cinéma vérité, theory of nonviolence, and intersubjectivity to understand their work. Each week, we will examine one filmmaker’s approach to their own personal practice of feminist filmmaking, and either interview them during our class or screen a pre-recorded zoom interview. In this seminar students will go beyond a theoretical feminist film criticism to one introduced into a lived and living feminist film practice. The filmmakers in question are Marialy Rivas (Chile), Elisabeth Scharang (Austria), Habiba Djahine (Algeria), Patricia Ortega (Venezuela and Argentina), Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya), Naomi Kawase (Japan), Sandra Kogut (Brazil), Kirsten Johnson (USA), TT the Artist (USA), Patricia Ramos (Cuba), Susana de Sousa Dias (Portugal), Claudia Llosa (Peru), Alina Marazzi (Italy), Rosine Mfetko Mbakam (Cameroun and Belgium).
Rumors, Conspiracy Theories and Disinformation
Our present is said to be rife with more rumors, conspiracy theories and disinformation than ever before. Is this moment so different from previous, historical moments of crisis? Haven't these modes of expression always been present, albeit at the margins of the political order? What does it say about knowledge to have multiple “regimes of truth” (Foucault)? How does a new media landscape based in algorithmic modularity, and particularly social media, change the set up from an old analogue media economy? This course, co-taught by a literary theorist, an anthropologist, and a media theorist, aims to provide a diversity of theoretical and methodological perspectives to help us examine the current state of reality.
Science, Medicine, Media
Much of our understanding of science and medicine is filtered through what we casually refer to as “the media”: newspapers, magazines, television shows, films, and electronic social media. But the scientific world relies on its own media to produce and circulate knowledge: from scientific journals and conferences, to agar plates and petri dishes, cloud chambers and electrophoresis gels. Medical technologies from the stethoscope to the echocardiogram likewise mediate the perception of the body in health and disease, and increasingly our own understanding and perception of our bodies and our health is mediated via screens, scans, and images — without which we cannot even imagine ourselves anymore. Students will learn theoretical tools to critically assess the technologies that mediate our knowledge of our own bodies and the broader world, as well as practical tools in media production and visual storytelling (video, podcast, website etc.) to bring these analytics to bear on our broader understandings of science and medicine.
Italian Cinema: The Classics, the
Forgotten, and the Emergent.
This course traces the history of Italian cinema from the silent era to the new millennium, highlighting its main trends and genres, and reflecting on the major transformations modern and contemporary Italian society experienced over the twentieth and twentieth-first centuries. We shall examine iconic films such as Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves, Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura, and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Mamma Roma, that received international recognition and influenced other national, cinematic productions.
We shall also look at the work of less famous, or independent filmmakers who received less critical attention. While this class takes a historical approach, it also includes a theoretical component and introduces students to the specificity of the cinematic language, examining films in relation to the mise-en-scène, frame composition, camera movements, editing, and sound. This class is taught in English.