Gerald Butters is a historian of film specializing in the intersection of race and gender in motion pictures. A Fulbright scholar, Butters has lectured on film in Romania, Luxembourg, France and Canada and at many American universities. His books include Black Manhood on the Silent Screen, Banned in Kansas: Motion Picture Censorship, 1915–1966, and the upcoming From Sweetback to Superfly: Race and Film Audiences in Chicago's Loop. He is editor of an anthology on Blaxploitation films. Butters received his Phd in History from the University of Kansas.


Corey Byrnes received a BA from Brown University in 2003, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge in 2005, and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. His research and teaching areas include the environmental humanities; 19th-21st century Sinophone literature, film, and visual culture; animal studies; and landscape and spatial studies. He is jointly appointed in the Alice B. Kaplan Institute for the Humanities and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, and is also a core-faculty member and Director of Graduate Studies in the Comparative Literary Studies Program. Professor Byrnes’ first book project, Fixing Landscape (Columbia University Press, 2019), won Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute’s First Book Award in 2018 and was awarded honorable mention for the American Comparative Literature Association’s 2020 Harry Levin Prize for outstanding first book in comparative literature. His second project is about “cultures of threat” and how they produce unfolding environmental and social futures between the United States and China and across the Pacific. Cultures of threat encompass forms of representation and lived practices through which an imagined future, when feared, comes to seem not only real but imminent. Unlike risk, threat describes not what is likely or unlikely to happen—the probable— but rather what could conceivably happen—the possible. It takes shape through speculative fictions of the plausible designed to create fear—and to incite action. “Cultures of Threat” theorizes the understudied mechanisms of threat in two multi-chapter case studies that reconsider the relationship between “rising China” and a global environmental imaginary in which it is treated as an existential threat.


Scott Durham

Scott Durham

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Currently teaching:
Postmodern Film

Scott Durham, associate professor of French, is the faculty director for the MALit program and chair of the French and Italian department at Northwestern. He has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in French and comparative literature since 1994, with a primary focus on 20th-century literature, film and the relationship between literature and philosophy. His scholarly publications since he completed his doctorate at Yale include Phantom Communities: The Simulacrum and the Limits of Postmodernism (Stanford University Press), Jean Genet: In the Language of the Enemy (a special number he edited for Yale French Studies) and numerous articles. He is completing work on a book with the working title The Archive and the Monad: Deleuze and the Resistance to Postmodernism.Durham earned his Phd from Yale University.


Elzbieta Foeller-Pituch (Assistant Director, Chabraja Center for Historical Studies, Northwestern University) is a literary historian who has published articles on contemporary authors such as John Barth and John Gardner, on Henry James, and on the international aspect of American studies. Her current research focuses on the reception of classical antiquity in American culture, a topic that stems from her research during an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship at Harvard University. Her most recent publication is a chapter in American Women and Classical Myths, ed. Gregory Staley (Baylor UP, 2009) on Athena as a cultural icon in the United States. She is working on a book-length study of the enduring influence of Greek and Roman myths in American fiction and culture. Elzbieta teaches classes on 20th-century experimental East European and American fiction, global and American postmodern fiction, and American 19th-century literary culture. Foeller-Pituch earned her Phd at the University of Warsaw.


Dilip Gaonkar

Dilip Gaonkar

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Dilip Gaonkar is a professor of culture and communication and the director of the Center for Global Culture and Communication. He also directs the Center for Transcultural Studies, an independent scholarly research network concerned with global issues. Gaonkar has two sets of scholarly interests: the intellectual tradition of rhetoric with both its ancient roots and its contemporary mutations and global modernities and their impact on the political. He is currently the executive editor of the journal Public Culture, and he has written and lectured widely on rhetoric, globalization, democracy, and the media. In addition to his work for the Department of Communications Studies, Gaonkar also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of African American studies, an affiliate faculty member in the graduate program in Screen Cultures in Asian Studies, and a senior affiliate fellow at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi, India.


Jay Grossman

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Jay Grossman teaches and writes about eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and culture, especially Emerson and Whitman, the history of the book, and the history of sexuality. He is the author of Reconstituting the American Renaissance: Emerson, Whitman, and the Politics of Representation, and co-editor of Breaking Bounds: Whitman and American Cultural Studies. A portion of his current work on the literary critic and political activist F. O. Matthiessen was published as "The Canon in the Closet: Matthiessen's Whitman, Whitman's Matthiessen" in American Literature; another, on the sexual and textual intersections between Whitman, Matthiessen, and T. S. Eliot, is forthcoming in a collection of essays from the Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Conference. Grossman received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.

My work centers on aesthetics and political affect. Specifically, I look at how, at the macro level, the moving-image work is expressive of larger social and economic shifts, while at the micro level, it registers and calibrates our affective relationship to everyday life. The moving-image objects I study range from postwar and contemporary art cinemas, to postwar auteurs, to contemporary television. In my first book, The Cinema of Economic Miracles, I proposed a new way of looking at the Italian art cinema of the 1960s, in light of both the profound spatial changes wrought by the economic miracle and the emergence of new social subjects. In ‘Breaking Bad’ and Cinematic Television, I perform a granular analysis of the series’ visual style in order to explore the ways in which it opens up to an allegorical examination of everyday life in neoliberal America. In the early 2000’s, I coauthored, with Richard Cante, a series of essays on gay pornography, which used the films to track the evolution of the post-Stonewall gay male subject in the wake of urban decay and renewal, globalization, and the rise of neoliberalism. Currently I’m beginning to explore the video essay (as critical intervention): I’ve just completed my first video essays, one of which is an accompaniment to my book on Breaking Bad.


Domietta Torlasco works at the intersection of film theory and practice. After receiving a PhD from the department of Rhetoric and Film Studies at Berkeley, she completed an MFA in Film, Video, and New Media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From 2003 to 2007 she was a Harper-Schmidt Fellow and a Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago.

Torlasco’s research and teaching interests include critical theory, psychoanalysis, and feminist theory, as well as Italian and French cinema, the SF and noir genres, and time-based media arts. She is the author of three books: The Time of the Crime: Phenomenology, Psychoanalysis, Italian Film (Stanford University Press, 2008), The Heretical Archive: Digital Memory at the End of Film (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), and The Rhythm of Images: Cinema Beyond Measure (University of Minnesota Press, 2021). Her video essays, which explore questions of domestic labor, borders, surveillance, and debt, have screened at national and international venues, including the Galerie Campagne Première in Berlin, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.



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