Program Director

Ara Osterweil 

Ara Osterweil is an Associate Professor in the English department who specializes in postwar cinema and art. Her research focuses on the representation of sexuality in American and world cinema, avant-garde cinema, the sixties, and queer and women filmmakers. A frequent contributor to Artforum and Fim Quarterly, Osterweil has also published essays in journals such as Camera Obscura, Millennium Film Journal, Framework, C Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, and Little Joe.

Osterweil's first book, Flesh Cinema: The Corporeal Turn in American Avant-Garde Film (Manchester University Press, 2014) examines explicit representations of the body in experimental cinema of the 1960s and 70s. She is currently working on another book entitled The Pedophilic Imagination: A History of American Film, which examines the central roles that the representation of erotic children and monstrous pedophiles has played in the development of Hollywood cinema.

In addition to offering historical courses on Revolutionary Cinema, Women Filmmakers, American Film of the 1960s, Postwar Italian Cinema, Race in American Film, and Avant-Garde Cinema, Osterweil offers classes on major figures such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Andy Warhol, Jean-Luc Godard, and Chantal Akerman. She also teaches two creative seminars, Image/ Sound/Text, and Experimental Autobiography and Portraiture.

In addition to being a scholar and writer, Osterweil is also an abstract painter. Both her writing and her painting can be viewed on her website:

Committee Members

  • Ara Osterweil, English
  • Alain Farah, Départment de langue et littérature françaises
  • Yuriko Furuhata, East Asian Studies
  • Lisa Stevenson, Anthropology
  • Ipek Türeli, Architecture

Faculty Members

Diana Allan

Diana Allan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Institute for the Study of International Development. She is a filmmaker and anthropologist who received her training at Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, and is the creator of two grassroots media collectives in Lebanon, the Nakba Archive and Lens on Lebanon. She was a recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship in film and anthropology, and her ethnographic films Chatila, Beirut (2001), Still Life (2007), Nakba Archive Excerpts (2008), Fire Under Ash (2009), and Terrace of the Sea (2010), have been screened in international film festivals and as gallery installations. Her recent ethnography, Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile (Stanford University Press, 2014) won the 2014 MEMO Palestine academic book award and the 2015 Middle East Section Award at the American Anthropological Association. Her current research–both written and filmic–explores the politics of Beirut’s informal economy.

Professor Eugenio Bolongaro Eugenio Bolongaro

Eugenio Bolongaro is Associate Professor in the Department of Italian Studies. His main interests are contemporary Italian prose fiction, Italian film, and literary theory. His book, Italo Calvino and the Compass of Literature, was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2003. He has published several articles on Italian literature and cinema in British, American and Italian journals. His current research focuses on the Italian “young cannibals” and ethics in literary criticism, as well as on the representation of homosexual desire in Luchino Visconti’s films.

Vanessa Ceia

Vanessa Ceia is an Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies and Digital Humanities in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures whose research focuses on representations of the body and subcultural and gender identities in Spanish and Portuguese cinemas and digital media. Ceia has published on the early underground cinema of Pedro Almodóvar and experimental films of Iván Zulueta, and is currently writing a book that examines representations of the body in mainstream and underground cinema, periodicals, and literary texts from and about the Movida madrileña, a hedonistic and punk-inspired cultural renaissance that emerged in Madrid after death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. Her book includes an accompanying digital humanities project that maps cultural hubs and creative networks in the Madrid of the Movida:

At McGill, Ceia teaches courses on Spanish and European cinemas, Pedro Almodóvar, queer Spanish cultural studies, spatial humanities, and digital culture. Ceia is also a member of the Gender, Sexuality, Feminist, and Social Justice Studies Advisory Committee and a core member of the Digital Humanities program.

Before joining McGill, Vanessa was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University and Visiting Scholar at Brown University. She earned her PhD from New York University.

You can read more about and find links to her work on her personal website:

Alain Farah

Alain Farah has published a book of poems, Quelque chose se détache du port, which shortlised for the Prix Émile-Nelligan. He has also published the novels Matamore no 29 and Pourquoi Bologne, a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award. He teaches contemporary French literature and creative writing.

Professor Yuriko Furuhata Yuriko Furuhata

Yuriko Furuhata (Ph.D. Brown University) is Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies and a faculty member of the World Cinemas Program. She works in the areas of film and media theory, Japanese cinema and media studies, visual culture, and critical theory. She is the author of Cinema of Actuality: Japanese Avant-Garde Filmmaking in the Season of Image Politics (Duke University Press, 2013), which won the Best First Book Award from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. She has published articles in journals such as Grey Room, Screen, Animation, Semiotica and New Cinemas. She is currently working on a book, tentatively titled The Rise of Control Room Aesthetics, exploring the historical connections between Japanese expanded cinema and computer art, multimedia environments, and networked information and security technologies.

Amanda Holmes

Amanda Holmes is Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies. She studies urban and spatial representation in contemporary Latin American culture. Her interests in film include New Argentine Cinema, landscape and film, and transatlantic cinema. She edited the volume, “Crossing Borders and Identities in Hispanic Cinema” for the Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 37.1 (2012), and she is currently finishing a book-length manuscript on architecture in contemporary Argentine cinema.

Bobby Benedicto

Bobby Benedicto is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies and the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. His research and teaching focus on the intersections of queer theory, critical race theory, death studies, urban studies, and film and media studies. His first book, Under Bright Lights: Gay Manila and the Global Scene (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Studies and received an Honorable Mention for the Ruth Benedict Prize for Queer Anthropology. His other writing has appeared in journals such as GLQ, Social Text, and Antipode, among others. His current book project, Fatal Sex, examines the aesthetics of death in twenty-first century queer art and media. He is also currently working on a SSHRC-funded project on the rise of authoritarian nostalgia in the Philippines and an FRQSC-funded project on dictatorship architecture and queer embodiment and performance.

Xiao Liu

Xiao Liu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies. Her research focuses on cybernetics, information technology and digital media, Chinese cinemas, science fiction and fantasy, and (post-)socialist media culture and critique. Her essays on cybernetics and digital media theory, melodrama and socialist politics, parody videos and information economy, and contemporary Chinese cinema have appeared in venues such as Grey Room, Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, China’s iGeneration and others. She is currently completing a project that examines the prehistory of the digital in China as a way to rethinking some key issues in our current discourses and theories of digital media.

Some of her recent courses include “Reinventing Cinema and Media in Post-Mao China,” “Media * Environment,” “Approaches to Chinese Cinema,” and “Readings in East Asian Media Studies.”

Giuliana Minghelli

Giuliana Minghelli joined McGill in 2014 as an Associate Professor of Italian in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Her research focuses on questions of history, ethics and memory at the intersection of literature, cinema and visual culture. She is the author of In the Shadow of the Mammoth: Italo Svevo and the Emergence of Modernism (University of Toronto, 2003) and Cinema Year Zero: Landscape and Memory in Post-Fascist Italian Film (Routledge, 2013). She edited The Modern Image: Intersections of Photography, Literature and Cinema in Italian Culture (2009) and co-edited with Sally Hill, Stillness in Motion: Italy, Photography and the Meanings of Modernity (Toronto UP, 2015). In 2014, she curated an exhibit on Italian colonialism at Harvard University: In Africa it is Another Story. Looking Back at Italian Colonialism, now transformed in an online digital exhibition. Currently, she is working on a research project on shame in post-war culture. Looking at the corporeality, aesthetics and politics of this emotion in lived landscapes, popular culture, and the still and moving image, the project explores the connections between post-war silence and contemporary historical imagination. Beside teaching courses on Italian cinema, popular culture and major auteurs like Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini, she taught seminars on modernism and visual media; landscape art and theory; cinema and photography; the avant-garde.

Derek Nystrom

Derek Nystrom is an Associate Professor of English who teaches in the Cultural Studies stream. He has taught courses on: 1970s and 1980s U.S. cinema; film and television theory; the U.S. war film as a genre; Robert Altman; Todd Haynes; Hollywood cinema during the Great Depression; the cinema of precarity; Marxist literary and cultural theory; class and labour in post-WWII U.S. film and literature; and introductions to film studies and cultural studies.

His essays have appeared in Cinema Journal, Postmodern Culture, Radical History Review, the Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, and elsewhere. His book, Hard Hats, Rednecks, and Macho Men: Class in 1970s American Cinema (New York: Oxford UP, 2009), was named as a finalist for the 2010 Richard Wall Memorial Award by the Theatre Library Association. His current book project is on 1930s classical Hollywood cinema and the question of precarity.

Professor Ned Schantz Ned Schantz

Ned Schantz (on Sabbatical for Fall 2016 and Winter 2017) is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, where he has been known to teach courses such as Introduction to Film Studies, Horror Film, A Year in Film (1950), Hitchcock, and American Film and Television of the 1950s. He is the author of Gossip, Letters, Phones: The Scandal of Female Networks in Film and Literature (Oxford 2008), and his recent articles include “Surprised by La Jetée,” Senses of Cinema 76 (September 2015), "Melodramatic Reenactment and the Ghosts of Grizzly Man," Criticism Volume 55, Number 4 (Fall 2013), and "Hospitality and the Unsettled Viewer: Hitchcock's Shadow Scenes," Camera Obscura 73 (2010). He is currently finishing a book on the problem of hospitality in Hitchcock.

Daniel Schwartz

Daniel Schwartz is an assistant professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. His research focuses on the intersection of urban studies, Russian and German cinema, and sound studies. Currently, he is at work on a book project, City Symphonies 1913-1931: Sound, Politics, and the Avant-Garde, which explores the relationship between audial practices and the composition of political communities in the work of figures such as Arseny Avraamov, Bertolt Brecht, Walter Ruttmann, and Dziga Vertov. Through both historical and textual analysis, he seeks to question the relationship between utopias and their use of everyday sounds, spaces, and practices as aesthetic materials.

Lisa Stevenson

More information to come.

Professor Will Straw Will Straw

Will Straw (on Sabbatical for Winter 2017) is Professor in the Department of Art History and Communications Studies. His film-related interests include the relationship between cinema and urban life. He has written recently on “single-night narratives”: films that take place in the course of one night. His other interests include film extras and cinematic crowds, the cultures of gossip and celebrity surrounding cinema and global versions of film noir. He is currently co-editing, with Janine Marchessault, the Oxford Handbook of Canadian Cinema. For more information on Will Straw’s publications and research interests, visit his website

Professor Alanna Thain Alanna Thain

Professor Alanna Thain: I teach film and cultural studies in the department of English. My work focuses on the philosophy of movement and bodies in cinema, as well as theories of affect and the image. My publications include work on David Lynch, South African animator and artist William Kentridge, Québecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, cinematic elevators, contemporary screendance and intermedial dance performance, post-cinematic practices and biotechnological bodies in science fiction TV.

My current book projects include “Suspended Reanimations”, a study of bodies, double and affect in cinema through the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, and “An Experimental Night”, on dance and screen and media in live dance performance. I also work on questions of the creative intersections of art and philosophy, as an editor of Inflexions: A Journal for Research-Creation. At McGill, I am a member of the Project on European Cinemas and the Moving image Research Laboratory.

My teaching interests include the encounter between theory and practice in small, experimental production classes, as well as courses on David Lynch, the French New Wave (then and now), Canadian Cinema, Affect and the Image, Cinematic Bodies, documentary film, Film Noir and Neo-Noir, animation, film and feminism and cinematic politics.

Ipek Tureli Ipek Tureli

Ipek Türeli is Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture. Her work lies at the intersection of visual culture, comparative urbanism, and architectural history. She has published on visualizations of the city in mass media-in photography, cinema, exhibitions, theme parks and museums-as well as the production and circulation of these media in the city.

Dr. Türeli uses cinema and documentary films as an integral part of teaching: Students engage cinema films as visual representations and cultural artefacts constitutive of the urban experience; they also get the opportunity to produce short digital films that use ethnographic methods and explore spatial stories from a user perspective—in courses such as Arch 684 Contemporary Theory I: “New Architectures of Spatial Justice,” Arch 566 Cultural Landscapes: “Miniature Worlds."

Xinyu Dong 

Xinyu Dong is assistant professor in the department of East Asian Studies. Her research explores the intersection between film history, media aesthetics and modern Chinese culture. Her book, The Comic Avant-garde: A Forgotten History of Chinese Cinema and Interwar Modernism (forthcoming 2020, Columbia University Press), looks at Chinese vanguard filmmakers' experiments with silent and early sound comedies in the 1920s and 1930s. She has published in MCLC, The Opera Quarterly, and co-edited with Jonathan Rosenbaum a special issue on comedy for the Journal of Chinese Cinemas (Vol. 12, No. 2, 2018). She has taught courses on introduction to film history, approaches to Chinese Cinema, topics in Chinese cinema and will offer courses on East Asian film genres and new wave cinemas.

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