RESEARCH & TEACHING AREAS
U.S. narrative cinema and serial television; acting and stardom; costume and fashion; director styles and reputations; gender studies; genres and modes of screen media (film noir, melodrama, horror); modernism, modernity, and mass culture
Gene Tierney in Laura (dir. Otto Preminger, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1944)
I received my Ph.D. from the Film and Media Studies program at Indiana University Bloomington before joining the Syracuse University faculty in 2015. An associate professor in the Department of English, I am Director of Undergraduate Studies and teach in the Film and Screen Studies track. Outside of English, I serve on the advising faculty for the Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications program.
My research and teaching generally address topics in U.S. narrative cinema, with a historical focus on Hollywood cinema of the studio era (that is, from the late 1920s to the early 1960s). The critical concerns of my work center around 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.
Most recently, my research in these areas has led to the writing of a book titled Gene Tierney: Star of Hollywood's Homefront (Wayne State University Press, forthcoming 2022). 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.
I also have a secondary interest in serial television and, with Julie Grossman, am co-editing a collection on Showtime's Penny Dreadful (under contract with Palgrave Macmillan), which will include an essay by me on the adaptation of the Universal Classic Monsters film cycle.