Gene Tierney in Laura (dir. Otto Preminger, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1944)
I received my Ph.D. in film and media studies from Indiana University Bloomington, and I have taught at Syracuse University since the fall of 2015. As an associate professor of English in the College of Arts & Sciences, I am a member of the Film & Screen Studies faculty and also serve as an advising faculty member for the Goldring Arts Journalism Program in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
My research generally concerns the history and interpretation of studio-era Hollywood cinema, a period that falls between the late 1920s and the early 1960s. The more particular interests of my work lie in artistic practice, persona, and celebrity as interfaces between what has been called “classical” Hollywood and the culture of modernity in the middle of the twentieth-century. Currently, I am writing a book about actress Gene Tierney. Promoted as “the most beautiful woman in movie history,” Tierney starred in films such as Laura (1944), Leave Her to Heaven (1945), and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), and later became one of the first major stars who publicly underwent treatment for mental illness. This project examines her making, unmaking, and remaking at Twentieth Century-Fox during World War II and the years that immediately followed, seeking to understand an alternative history of war effort and postwar trauma that defined and regulated her image across a series of different roles: pin-up girl, working woman, domestic Army wife, mother, female psychiatric subject, and comeback star.