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Alanna Thain

Associate Professor
Arts West 35
Office Hours: 
Wednesdays 10:30-12:30
514-398-4400 Ext 09349
Email Address: 
alanna [dot] thain [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Mailing Address: 

McGill University Department of English
853 Sherbrooke Street West
Arts Building
Montreal, QC H3A 0G5 CANADA

Degrees and Academic Title(s): 

B.A. Honours (McGill); Ph.D. (Duke University) (Program in Literature); Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and Chair of the Program in World Cinemas

General Research Areas: 
Cultural Studies
Teaching and Research Areas: 

Film theory; visual culture; theories of affect; cultural studies; philosophy of the body and movement; gender and sexuality; film production; animation; dance, performance and movement studies; David Lynch, Norman McLaren, Gilles Deleuze, Dave St Pierre, William Kentridge; research-creation; and post-cinematic practices.

Awards and Fellowships: 
  • FQRSC Établissement de nouveaux professeurs-chercheurs grant for “Le remix du corps et des genres : les croisements contemporains de la danse, du cinéma et de l'animation”
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Brown University (Pembroke Center for Research and Teaching on Women)
  • Resident Fellow, 2012-2014, Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas
  • SSHRC Partnership Grant, Immediations: Art, Media and Event (co-applicant with Erin Manning, PI, Concordia)
  • "Fabricating Aesthetics" L’Institut de Recherche en Histoire de l’Architecture grant, (Michael Jemtrud,Architecture, PI)
  • CFI Leader’s Opportunity Fund Award for the MIRL (Moving Image Research Laboratory) 2010-2014, ($997,614) (co-applicant with Thomas Lamarre and Michael Cowan)
Selected Publications : 

Bodies in Time: Suspense, Affect, Cinema. Forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press.

"Anarchopanda's Soft Subversions" Wi: Journal of Mobile Media 6.2  (July 2012) http://wi.mobilities.ca/anarchopandas-soft-subversions/

"Press Play" Society and Space July 2012 http://societyandspace.com/2012/07/06/alanna-thain-press-play/

“Death every Sunday afternoon: the virtual realities of Hirokazu Kore Eda's Afterlife"  Memory in Contemporary Global Film, edited by Terence McSweeney, and Amresh Sinha. London: Wallflower Press, 2012.

“Rabbit Ears: Locomotion in Lynch’s Inland Empire” In Francois-Xavier Gleyzon, ed. David Lynch in Theory. Prague: Litteraria Pragensia 2010. pp. 86-100.

Anarchival Cinema” Inflexions 4 (December 2010) “Transversal Fields of Experience” edited by Troy Rhodes and Christoph Brunner. Link:

“Insecurity cameras: Elevator Criminality and Time” Intermédialités14 (Fall 2010), special issue “Build/Batir” edited by Will Straw and James Cistneros

A texture in the desert of the real: Heterotopic Encounter in Denis Villeneuve’s Un 32 Aout Sur Terre” Nouvelles « vues » sur le cinéma québécois 11

All the Single Babies: Adorable/ Automaton?” In Medias Res Dance and Technology Theme Week April 26-30, 2010.

Against Full Frontal” Inflexions: A Journal of Research-Creation 2 (Fall 2008)

Affective Commotion: Minding the Gap in Research-CreationInflexions: A Journal of Research-Creation 1 (May 2008).

Wandering Stars: William Kentridge’s (Err)ant ChoreographiesParallax 14.1 (Winter 2008), Special Issue on “Installing the Body”

“The Intensions of Extensions: Compagnie Marie Chouinard’s bODY rEMIX/ gOLDBERG vARIATIONS” differences 19.1 (Winter 2008)

Exogenesis: Mind children and cultured images in Battlestar Galactica” Flow 6.12 (December 2007) Special Issue on Battlestar Galactica.

Funny How Secrets Travel: David Lynch’s Lost Highway
Invisible Culture 8 (Fall 2004)

Forthcoming publications:

"Tendering the Flesh: The ABCs of Dave St-Pierre's 'Contemporary Utopias'" Alanna Thain and Virginia K. Preston. Forthcoming in TDR, Winter 2014.

Special issue of Studies in European Cinema "Europe on Display" with Michael Cowan.

Current Research: 

Time Forms: Temporalities of Aesthetic Experience http://timefor.ms/2013/

The Moving Image Research Laboratory (MIRL) http://mirl.lab.mcgill.ca/

CFI-funded infrastructural laboratory for the investigation of relations between developments in moving image technologies and understandings of the moving body. Investigators: Michael Cowan (German), Alanna Thain (English), Thomas Lamarre (East Asian Studies).

Editor, Inflexions: A Journal for Research-Creation inflexions.org

Norman McLaren: 3 Films

A book length study of three of McLaren's key films and the increasing importance of mid century animation to the wider field of cinema studies after the digital turn.

Anarchival Cinemas

Research into post-cinematic practices of a newly mobile and expanded cinema, including William Kentridge's animated installation, Lucien Castaing-Taylor's Leviathan, Christian Marclay's The Clock, Guy Maddin's Séance project, and more.

Moving in an Experimental Night

A book project on contemporary intersections of dance performance and animation, including work by William Kentridge, David Lynch, Vera Chytilova, Norman McLaren, 4-D Art, Tino Seghal, Crystal Pite, and others.

Project on European Cinemas poec.mcgill.ca

SenseLab: A Laboratory for Thought in Motion http://senselab.ca/wp2