Senior Lecturer in Film Studies
MA, Sussex; D.Phil, Oxford
Arts One 1.41a
+44 (0)20 7882 8290
Early film; documentary; experimental cinema; the visual essay; critical animal studies; ecocinema; post-humanist theory; continental philosophy.
Since completing my DPhil in English Literature on Henry James and Emmanuel Levinas (University of Oxford, 2001), I’ve extended my interest in the relationship between ethics, literature, and film beyond the human. At the heart of my teaching and research across image and text are questions about the more-than-human dimensions of ethics, broadly defined as an openness toward the living world. In my first book, Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film (Columbia University Press, 2011), I develop a “creaturely” approach to literature and film based on the shared bodily vulnerability of human and nonhuman animals. The book’s theoretical backbone is the thought of the philosopher and mystic Simone Weil (1909-1943), whose idiosyncratic body of work informs much of my current research. My co-edited volume, Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human (Berghahn, 2013) intersects film studies and the emergent fields of ecocriticism and critical animal studies in order to illustrate a non-anthropocentric understanding of the cinematic medium. My most recent book, Maureen (Hen Press, 2016), is a work of creative nonfiction that explores the commonalities between vulnerable humans and animals in institutions like the nursing home and the factory farm. I am working on a new book called Vegan Cinema: Looking, Eating, Letting Be, drawing on Simone Weil’s analogy between looking and eating and her key concept of “attention.” The book argues for cinema’s paradoxical capacity to retreat from the objects it captures, frames, and records—a form of looking that refrains from consuming the objects of sight. This type of gaze is “conservationist” in that it acknowledges the autonomous existence of beings and things, and lets them be. This nonviolent gaze also offers an alternative to the modes of looking famously critiqued by feminist and postcolonial theorists. Nonviolent looking, in the realm of art, reflects the practice of veganism in the culinary realm. Both embody an impossible but politically valiant attempt to engage with the world without consuming it.
- Maureen. New York: Hen Press, 2016.
- Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human, co-edited with Guinevere Narraway. Oxford: Berghahn, 2013.
- Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.
Selected essays and chapters
- “Vulnerability,” in Critical Terms in Animal Studies, Lori Gruen, ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017 (forthcoming).
- “The Devastating Everyday in Chen Sheinberg’s Convulsion,” Teoria ve-Bikoret, 2016 (Hebrew; forthcoming).
- “‘Sparks Would Fly’: Electricity and the Spectacle of Animality," in Animalities: Literary and Cultural Studies Beyond the Human.” Michael Lundblad, ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016 (forthcoming).
- “Animal Rights Films, Organized Violence and the Politics of Sight,” in The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Politics. Claire Molloy and Yannis Tzioumakis, eds. London: Routledge, pp. 91-102.
- “Animal Life in the Cinematic Umwelt,” in Animal Life and the Moving Image, Laura McMahon and Michael Lawrence, eds. London: BFI, 2015, pp. 221-237.
- “Reflexive Realism in René Clément's Forbidden Games,” Yale French Studies 127, Animots: Post-Animality in French Thought, 2015, pp. 205-220.
- “Why Not Look at Animals?” Necsus 2015, http://www.necsus-ejms.org/portfolio/spring-2015_animals/
- “Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi’s Criminal Animals,” Screen 56.1, 2015, pp. 95-102.
- “Executing Species in Thomas Edison and Douglas Gordon,” in The Palgrave Handbook of Posthuman Film and Television. Michael Hauskeller, ed. London: Palgrave, pp. 311-320.
- “Three Worlds,” in Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human. Anat Pick and Guinevere Narraway, eds., Oxford: Berghahn, 2013, pp. 21-36.
- “Intersecting Ecology and Film,” in Screening Nature, Anat Pick and Guinevere Narraway, eds., Oxford: Berghahn, 2013, pp. 1-18.
- “‘Some Small Discrepancy’: Jean-Christophe Bailly's Creaturely Ontology,” Journal of Animal Ethics 3.2 (2013), pp. 176-187.
- “Turning to Animals Between Love and Law,” New Formations 76 (2012): pp. 68-85.
- "Simone Weil: Notes on a Timid Cinema" Vertigo 3.6 (2007): pp. 22-23, http://www.academia.edu/590568/_Simone_Weil_Notes_on_a_Timid_Cinema_
- “Pigscripts: The Indignities of Species in Marie Darrieussecq's Pig Tales." Parallax 12.1 (2006): pp. 43-56.
- “The Shape of Things to Come: Giorgio Agamben's The Open: Man and Animal.” The Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature 5.2 Winter (2006), http://www.brynmawr.edu/bmrcl/Winter2006/Agamben.htm
- FLM4200 Concepts and History
- FLM511 The Visual Essay
- FLM609 Ecocinemas: Nature, Animals, and the Moving Image
- MA in Film Studies Core Course
- MA in Documentary Practice
- May 2013 saw the launch of the AHRC-funded project Screening Nature Network (SNN). SNN showcased and explored early film and artist moving image on nature, ecology, and animals. Project partners: the Whitechapel Gallery, the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), the Goethe-Institut, London, Tate Modern, and the Horse Hospital.
- Digital Animalities is a 4-year project that brings together Principal Investigator Jody Berland (York University, Canada) and ten researchers from the UK, US and Canada to explore the significance of nonhuman life in the digital media landscape. Start date: January 2016.
Wednesday 1-3pm, or by appointment: email@example.com