My intellectual interests span the fields of art history, cinema studies, and women’s history. I have always drawn on a wide range of visual sources, from posters and paintings to fashion design and films, in generating my scholarship. My first book, Blackout: Reinventing Women for Wartime British Cinema, studied the impact of wartime privations on the film screen, and particularly the role that womanhood played in representing the nation in crisis. Since then, I have focused my attention on the silent film era, analyzing its innovative aesthetics, its infatuation with things Egyptian, and its opportunities for both leisure and work for women. “Haptical Cinema” and “How the Cinema Contracted Egyptomania” suggested reasons for the prevalence of hieroglyphs, mummies and tombs on the screen. Red Velvet Seat: Women’s Writings on the First Fifty Years of Cinema, a hefty edited compendium, assembled women’s written accounts of cinema to understand the medium’s significance for them. As a historian with a strong commitment to the safeguarding of cultural documents, I was glad to become founding director of the department’s newest MA Degree, in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation, an area in which I continue to teach.
Author, Blackout: Reinventing Women for Wartime British Cinema (Princeton University Press, 1991); Editor, The Red Velvet Seat: Women’s Writings on the First Fifty Years of Cinema (Verso, 2007). Member of the National Film Preservation Board, Library of Congress. Holder of Junior Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford, a J. P. Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship, fellowships at the Remarque Institute, New York University, and the Internationales Forschungscentrum Kulturwissenschaften, Vienna, as well as a National Endowment for the Arts National Service Award, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant. Guest Professorships at University of Vienna and Harvard University.
M.Phil., Ph.D., Yale