Assistant Academic Specialist
PhD. Moving Image Studies Program, Georgia State University (2012)
Drew Ayer’s research interests primarily include film and media, new media, and visual culture, but his work also explores animal studies, phenomenology, and theories of materiality. In May 2012 he completed his dissertation, entitled “Vernacular Posthumanism: Visual Culture and Material Imagination,” which diagnoses and theorizes the circulation of a posthuman image vernacular within contemporary culture.
Dr. Ayers’ current work investigates the phenomenology of technologies like motion-capture and remote surgery, and he continues to explore the role of the nonhuman in contemporary media and visual culture. His work has been published in Configurations, Scope, Film Criticism, The Velvet Light Trap, and In Media Res, and his essay on the deployment of digital space in the film 300 will be published in a forthcoming collection on special effects.
Prior to coming to Northeastern University Dr. Ayers taught classes on the topics of film analysis, film history, Stanley Kubrick, Krzysztof Kieślowski, David Cronenberg and posthumanism, and exploitation film.
Assistant Academic Specialist
Ph.D. Visual Studies, University of California, Irvine (2011)
Nathan Blake’s research interests include European Modernism and the interwar avant-garde, postwar cinema, digital media, the phenomenology of technology, and poststructuralist theories of masculinity. He has written on boxing films, including Edison’s Kinetoscopes, The Set-Up (Robert Wise, 1949), and Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980); the visual rhetoric of disabled veterans, including the annual Warrior Games; the mechanical prostheses of French physiologist Jules Amar, as well as the motion studies of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth; the “aesthetics of dismemberment” in Dada and Surrealist montage; combat videogames, such as America’s Army, KumaWar, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2; and contemporary therapy systems for PTSD and amputee rehabilitation, including Virtual Iraq and the Walter Reed Gait Laboratory.
His book manuscript Camera Consciousness: The Aesthetic and Prosthetic Legacy of World War I (currently under revision for publication) addresses the radical revisions to medical and social institutions, military training, and labor practices in Europe and the United States from 1914 to 1933—many of which were shaped through photography and cinema, and continue to inform today’s digital technologies and culture. He has also worked for non-profit arts organizations, in documentary film and television, and as a photographer and designer for an international branding agency.
Assistant Academic Specialist
PhD. Moving Image Studies Program, Georgia State University
Kristopher Cannon’s research examines new media and technologies, film, and visual culture. More specifically, his research relies upon theories of queerness, digitality, failure, object-orientated ontology, and phenomenology to interrogate how mediated and technological objects re/figure the visible forms of bodies and beings. In August 2013, he completed his dissertation, entitled Oblique Optics: Seeing the Queerness of Ec-Static Images, which explores the queerness of images through oblique methods to engage with visual culture. Oblique Optics considers how images reveal their queerness beyond the visible surfaces of bodies and things and reconsiders the ontology of bodies and beings through aesthetics of failure.
Dr. Cannon’s current work continues to examine aesthetics of failure through digital bodies, sonic visibility, and ontologies of non-human beings. His work has been published in Spectator, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Deleuze Studies, and in the edited collection Moving Data: The iPhone and the Future of Media. Before arriving at Northeastern University, Dr. Cannon taught courses on film and media aesthetics, film theory, gender and film, new media, and queer transnational cinema.
Ph.D Communication and Culture, New York University (2011)
Deseriis’ teaching and research focus on the social, aesthetic, and political uses of digital media. More specifically, he is interested in the emergence of new forms of subjectivity and authorship in the information society, the digital legacies of twentieth-century avant-gardes, and social movements media.
Titled Improper Names: Collective Pseudonyms from the Luddites to Anonymous his current book project brings together some of these threads by developing a genealogy of the “improper name,” which he defines as the adoption of the same pseudonym by organized collectives, affinity groups, and individual authors. Along with Giuseppe Marano, Deseriis is the co-author of Net.Art: The Art of Connecting (Milan: Shake), the first Italian book on Internet Art. His writings on hacktivism, Net Art, Italian autonomism, and the avant-gardes have appeared in journals such as the Journal of Communication Inquiry, Mute, Subjectivity, and Theory & Event.
In his teaching, Deseriis relies on a variety of pedagogical tools such as blogs and wikis that help students develop their own research as they receive feedback from and collaborate with their peers.
Ph.D. Communication Studies, McGill University (1997)
Murray Forman studies media and culture with a primary focus on popular music, race, and age. For over twenty years he has engaged in research about hip-hop culture, contributing to the emerging field of hip-hop studies.
He is author of The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) and Co-editor (with Mark Anthony Neal) of That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (Routledge, 1st edition 2004; 2nd edition, 2011). His most recent book is One Night on TV is Worth Weeks at the Paramount: Popular Music on Early Television (Duke University Press, 2012).
Forman serves on the advisory board of the Archive of African American Music and Culture at Indiana University and he is an editorial board member for several scholarly journals including, Journal of Popular Music Studies; Music, Sound and the Moving Image; Popular Music; Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society; and Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies.
His current research involves the issue of age and aging in hip-hop and the theorization of hip-hop culture in and as diaspora.
Professor Forman is an inaugural recipient of the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship at the Hip-Hop Archive, the Hutchins Center for African and African American research, Harvard University.
Terrence Masson is an animation and visual effects producer with 25 years of production experience which includes feature and film animation, broadcast, video games, interactive media and special venue. He came up through the ranks on more than 20 films including Hook, True Lies, Interview with a Vampire and three Star Wars movies; along with numerous interactive projects such as SimCity4, Bruce Lee, Batman Dark Tomorrow and Alter Echo. He developed the original CG pipeline for SouthPark in 1996 and his short film Bunkie & Booboo won first place in the World Animation Celebration in 1998.
From 2008-2012 he served as the Founding Director of the Creative Industries program , leading the vision and creation of all undergraduate Game Design and Interactive Media curriculum in the College of Arts, Media and Design. He continues to serve on and Chair numerous interdisciplinary committees developing University-wide team-based projects and curriculum with the new Media and Screen Studies Program.
An active volunteer with SIGGRAPH since 1988, Terrence served as 2006 Computer Animation Festival Chair, SIGGRAPH 2010 Conference Chair and is currently the ACM SIGGRAPH Outstanding Service Awards Chair.Terrence is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the Visual Effects Society and an ACM Distinguished Lecturer, and author of the industry standard “CG101: A Computer Graphics Industry Reference”.
Ph.D Communication, Temple University (1987)
Joanne Morreale is a media critic and historian whose scholarship includes work on political film, television comedy, and advertising. Her first two books were A New Beginning: A Frame Analysis of the Political Campaign Film (1991) and History and Criticism of the Presidential Campaign Film (1993). These brought together film, television and advertising theory and criticism to define and analyze the presidential campaign film genre. Her next book, Critiquing the Sitcom (2002) was an edited collection of scholarly essays that has become a standard text in the field of television studies. She is also the author of The Donna Reed Show (2012), which is part of the Wayne State University Press Television Milestones series. This critical study expands knowledge of both the female executive in early television and the merging of the film and television industries in the late fifties.
Currently Morreale is working on “Promotional Vistas: A Critical History of Advertising and Consumer Culture” (with P. David Marshall). This book is an historical analysis of the emergence of consumer culture from the 19th century to the present. It identifies many of the consumer objects, spaces and practices that define the cultural milieu (for example, medicines, department stores, clothing, furniture, self- promotion or political advertising), and assess how their roots in the past shape experiences in the present.
Joanne Morreale is Interim Director of the Media and Screen Studies program for academic year 2012-2013.
Ph.D. Communication Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2004)
Craig Robertson is a media historian with expertise in the history of information technologies, identification documents, print culture, and surveillance. In this research he defines media in terms of the recording, storage and circulation of information. His research engages with key debates in media studies, communication studies, history, and cultural studies.
His first book, The Passport in America: The History of a Document (Oxford University Press, 2010) was positively reviewed in a range of publications including the New York Times, Wilson Quarterly, Journal of American History, and Surveillance and Society. He is also the editor of two books. The most recent Media History and the Archive (Routledge, 2011) represents his interest in the archive as a site from which to critique the methods and practices of historical research.
He is a past chair of the Critical and Cultural Studies Division of the National Communication Association. Currently he is a member of the scholarly advisory committee for the New York Historical Society’s proposed exhibition and educational initiative centered on the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
Robertson is working on a book-length history of the filing cabinet in which he argues the filing cabinet is an important but largely neglected part of the history of information technologies.
Professor Robertson is on teaching leave in Fall 2012.
Sarah E. S. Sinwell
Assistant Academic Specialist
Ph.D, Communication and Culture, Indiana University (2007)
Sarah Sinwell’s research focuses on the intersections of film and new media studies, cultural studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Her essay entitled “Is Malkovich Malkovich: Sexual Identity on a String” has been published in Film and Sexual Politics and “Sex, Bugs and Isabella Rossellini: The Making and Marketing of Green Porno” has been published in Women’s Studies Quarterly. She has also published articles on independent films such as Gummo, L.I.E., and Mysterious Skin.
Examining contested spaces and disembodied voices within cinema, media and digital culture, her work centers on the ways in which constructions of gender, race, sexuality, class, and national identity are articulated and transgressed through online and digital frameworks. To this end, she has also written a number of essays on the representation of asexuality in the media and on the Internet.
Currently, Dr. Sinwell is working on a book-length manuscript entitled “Indie Cinema Online”. This project focuses on the changing nature of independent cinema within the context of new media and digital technologies. Focusing on the ways in which modes of distribution and exhibition are shifting with the advent of online streaming, YouTube, and simultaneous release strategies, this book analyzes the Sundance Channel website and independent cinema on YouTube, Hulu and Netflix as a means of redefining independent cinema in a digital era.
Tracy Heather Strain
Professor of the Practice of Media and Screen Studies
Ed.M. Technology, Innovation and Education, Harvard University (1995)
Tracy Heather Strain’s teaching focuses on documentary storytelling, production management, and history. She is a award-winning filmmaker and film/video director, producer, writer, and consultant with over 25 years of experience. Her latest broadcast documentary, Silicon Valley, a project she co-produced for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, reveals the early history of the famed technology region. Emerging media technologies including interactive documentary storytelling, online media, and digital humanities are among her other interests.
Strain is presently working on a multiplatform documentary project about the late playwright Lorraine Hansberry (with Randall MacLowry and Jamila Wignot) and a transmedia project—A Baker’s Dozen: 13 Essential Donut Stories. She is President and CEO of The Film Posse, an independent media production company located in Fort Point Channel’s Midway Studios, which she runs with partner/husband Randall MacLowry.