PhD    University of Pittsburgh, 2009
Critical and Cultural Studies, Doctoral Certificate in Film Studies

MA    Portland State University, 1998

BA     University of Oregon, 1995


Nostalgia, Nation and Masculinity: Clinton/Spielberg/Hanks

During the “Clinton Years,” masculinity crises and millennial anxieties intersected with an increasing fixation on nostalgic popular histories of World War II. The representative masculine figures proffered in Spielberg films and Hanks roles had critical relationships to cultural crises surrounding race, gender, reproduction and sexuality. Nostalgic narratives emerged as way to fortify the American nation-state and resolve its social problems. The WWII cultural trend, through the specter of tributes to a dying generation, used nostalgic texts and images to create imaginary American landscapes that centered as much on contemporary masculinity and the political and social perspective of the Boomer generation as it did on the prior one. The conceit of Clinton’s masculinity is used as the figural link between the male bodies represented in such popular 1990s films as Amistad, Saving Private Ryan and The Green Mile. Additional chapters focus on Tom Hanks’ star persona and masculine uses of the bodies of “others:” gays, African-Americans, women and fetuses.


Visual Literacy

Film Analysis

World Film History

Introduction to Film

Ideologies of Representation in Visual Culture

The Violent Image

Zombies in Context and Culture

TV Analysis: Trash, Technique, and Consuming American Culture

Film Genre: Culture, Cliché, and the Politics of Convention

Science Fiction Film: Political Space and Alien(nation)

Contemporary Film & Millennial Politics

Words and Images: Love-Identity-Origin-Loss

Professional Writing


Some of my areas of scholarly research included American Film History, Early American Cinema, Film Technology and Special Effects. I did my research at the Library of Congress Film Archives and figured out the first uses of special effects in American cinema. They were mainly blowing stuff up, even back then.

For my dissertation, my research included a lot of popular culture artifacts: magazine spreads, presidential campaign objects, White House press materials, museum artifacts, interviews, newspapers, reviews, pamphlets and advertisements, in addition to books and articles. Also, I watched so many movies. Carefully, over and over with a fine tooth comb.

All of my ideas are influenced by gender studies and critical race theory.

Presentation Topics:

  • A bunch of stuff about Teaching Online—like how to hold discussions, engage students and use media
  • Nonsense, Violence and the Body: Early American Trick Film (to 1903)
  • Gojira Godzilla: Atomic Trauma, National Disaster and the Remake
  • Special Affects and Aesthetics in 1950’s Atomic Cinema
  • The Autopsy of Cliché: Oedipal Obstetrics in Sleepy Hollow
  • Soldier/Fetus/Nation: The Triangular Metastasis of Masculinity in Saving Private Ryan
  • Asceticism and Secret: The Booke of Margery Kempe and Contemporary Culture

Here’s some audio of me on a Film Panel at WQED Pittsburgh. I’m talking about the documentary film Pushing the Elephant—about activism and trauma.