Cinema and Media Studies

Laurie (Ella) Gant, Chair, Associate Professor of Art

B.S., University of Wisconsin; M.F.A., University of Texas at Austin
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Areas of expertise: video, performance, installation, photography, electronic media, and history and contemporary practices in each of those areas

Ella Gant entered the University of Texas at Austin as a traditional photographer and graduated with a specialization in the nontraditional area of performative installation work. Gant became the first student to receive a master's of fine arts from U.T. Austin under the mentorship of internationally respected film installation artist William Lundberg. She continues to explore intersections among established traditions and contemporary practices in the arts and education. Gant was a 2011 named Fellow in Digital/Electronic Arts from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, The Museum of Modern Art/Franklin Furnace/Artist Book Collection and Texas Folklife Resources.

Steve Humphries-Brooks, Chair, Professor of Religious Studies

A.B. William Jewell College; M.Div. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; M.Phil. Columbia University/Union Theological Seminary; Ph.D. Columbia University/Union Theological Seminary
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Areas of expertise: New Testament studies, literary and social-historical criticism of the Gospels, religion in film, early Christian mysticism, theories and methods for the study of religion

Stephenson Humphries-Brooks received a doctorate in religion from Columbia University/Union Theological Seminary, with a specialization in New Testament studies.  His teaching and research interests include literary and social-historical criticism of the Gospels, religion in film, early Christian mysticism, and theories and methods for the study of religion. His most recent book, Cinematic Savior: Hollywood's Making of the American Christ, examines how the life of Jesus has been portrayed in mainstream films. His current book project, Raging Gods – which is also a class — discusses the contributions of Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese to the religious culture in American film.

Angel David Nieves, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Co-Director, Digital Humanities Initiative

B. Arch., Syracuse University; M.A., Binghamton University; Ph.D., Cornell University
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Areas of expertise: race and the built environment, digital humanities, spatial humanities, heritage preservation, urban history, South Africa and Southern Africa, truth and reconciliation in post-conflict countries and diaspora studies

Angel David Nieves codirects Hamilton's Digital Humanities Initiative. He completed his doctoral work in architectural history and Africana studies at Cornell University. Nieves coedited the book, ‘We Shall Independent Be:’ African American Place-Making and the Struggle to Claim Space in the U.S., and is associate editor of Fire!!!: A Multimedia Journal of Black Studies, among other work. MSNBC.com and Newsweek have featured his digital research and scholarship. Nieves’ scholarly work and community-based activism engages with issues of memory, heritage preservation, gender and nationalism at the intersections of race and the built environment in cities across the Global South.


Patricia O'Neill, the Leonard C. Ferguson Professor of Literature and Creative Writing

B.A., California State University at Los Angeles; M.A. and Ph.D., Northwestern University
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Areas of expertise: Victorian and postcolonial literature, and contemporary and new media studies

Patricia O'Neill teaches about 19th-century British literature and women filmmakers. She received her doctorate from Northwestern University and is the author of Robert Browning and 20th Century Criticism (1995), editor of Olive Schreiner's 1883 novel Story of an African Farm (2002) and contributor of essays on globalization and cinema. O'Neill's current work is the creation of a digital archive that promotes knowledge and discussion of the poetry of Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali.

Kyoko Omori, Associate Professor of Japanese and Chair of East Asian Languages and Literatures

M.A. and Ph.D., Ohio State University
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Areas of expertise: modern Japanese literature, especially modernism and youth magazine culture; early 20th-century media, especially cinema and radio; and censorship and the Occupation Era, 1945-52

Kyoko Omori earned her doctorate from Ohio State University. Her research focuses on 20th-century literary and popular culture, with an emphasis on mass media. Omori is completing a book titled Detecting Modanizumu: New Youth Magazine, Tantei Shôsetsu, and The Culture of Japanese Vernacular Modernism. She has been awarded research grants from The Miller Center for Historical Studies and the McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland, and several postdoctoral fellowships. Omori, who was trained in language pedagogy, received the national Hamako Ito Chaplin Award for excellence in teaching Japanese.