Cinema and Media Studies


Angel David Nieves, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Africana Studies

Areas of Expertise: race and the built environment, digital humanities, spatial humanitites, heritage preservation, urban histry, South Africa and Southern Africa, truth and reconciliation in post-conflict countries and diaspora studies.
Angel David Nieves currently co-directs Hamilton's Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) an $800,000. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant-funded project. More >>

Nieves taught in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at the University of Maryland, College Park, from 2003-2008. Nieves completed his doctoral work in architectural history and Africana Studies at Cornell University in 2001.

His co-edited book, ‘We Shall Independent Be:’ African American Place-Making and the Struggle to Claim Space in the U.S. (2008), examines African American efforts to claim space in American society despite fierce resistance. Nieves has published essays in the Journal of Planning History; Places Journal: A Forum of Design for the Public Realm; Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies; and in several edited collections, most recently in Places of Pain and Shame: Dealing With Difficult Heritage (2009). He is also associate editor of Fire!!!: A Multimedia Journal of Black Studies, an online journal of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. His digital research and scholarship have also been featured on MSNBC.com and in Newsweek.

Nieves’ scholarly work and community-based activism critically 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. In 2010 he received The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Ella Gant, M.F.A., Associate Professor of Art

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 non-traditional area of performative installation work. More >>

In 1988 Gant became the first student to receive her M.F.A. from U.T. Austin under the mentorship of internationally respected film installation artist, William Lundberg, as he was launching the art department's groundbreaking Transmedia program. 

Gant joined the Hamilton faculty in 1991 and continues to explore intersections among established traditions and contemporary practices in the arts and education.

She 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.

Gant's work has been shown at national and international venues including Exit Art, New York City; the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Calif.; Great Hall, Washington, D.C.; and in Berlin, London, Melbourne, Los Angeles and San Francisco International film festivals.

Scott MacDonald, Ph.D., Visiting Professor of Art History

Areas of Expertise: film history; documentary, experimental and avant-garde film; cinema and place; and 20th century American literature.
Named an Academy Scholar by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in 2012, Scott MacDonald teaches Introduction to the History and Theory of Cinema; A History of Avant-Garde Cinema; Facing Reality: A History of Documentary Cinema, and regularly curates Hamilton’s annual F.I.L.M. (Forum on Images and Language in Motion) series. More >>

He is author of 14 books, including A Critical Cinema: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers, now in 5 volumes, and Adventures of Perception: Cinema as Exploration, as well as essays and interviews in film and literary journals. His newest book, American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary: The Cambridge Turn is in production at University of California Press.

He has curated and presented film events for the Museum of Modern Art, the Harvard Film Archive, the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, and the National Gallery of Art, among other venues.

MacDonald received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1970 and has taught at Utica College, Bard College, University of Arizona, Colgate University and Harvard University. In 1999 he was recognized by Anthology Film Archives in New York City for his efforts on behalf of film preservation. He has taught regularly at Hamilton since 1981.

Deborah Pokinski, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Art History and Chair of Art History

Areas of Expertise: American art and architecture, especially of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; modern art; and women in art.
Deborah Pokinski, who earned a Ph.D. in modern art history from Cornell University, joined the Hamilton faculty in 1978. More >>

Her research interests include the history of American architecture, especially late 19th century; history of turn of the century American painting; and women in art. Pokinski is currently working on a study of the images of women in the work of turn of the century American artist William McGregor Paxton.

She is the author of The Development of the American Modern Style (1984); five biographical essays in Lives and Legacies: Artists, Writers and Musicians (2001); and co-editor with John McEnroe of Critical Perspectives on Art History (2002).

Pokinski curated two exhibitions at the Emerson Gallery in collaboration with art history concentrators: "Whistler and His Contemporaries:Prints of Venice" (2003-04) and Elihu Root, Jr., Class of 1903: Lawyer-Painter" (2004). Pokinski also co-curated Sculpture Space Inside Outside, an Emerson Gallery-sponsored exhibition of outdoor sculpture in honor of the 30th anniversary of Sculpture Space in Utica, N.Y.

Kyoko Omori, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Japanese

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 in 2003. Her research focuses on 20th-century literary and popular culture, with an emphasis on mass media. More >>

Omori is currently completing a book titled Detecting Modanizumu: New Youth Magazine, Tantei Shôsetsu, and The Culture of Japanese Vernacular Modernism. In addition, her recently published articles and book chapters include “The Art of the Bluff: Youth Migrancy in the Pacific Rim, Interlingualism, and Japanese Vernacular Modernism” (2009), “Narrating the Detective: Nansensu, Benshi’s Oral Performance, and the Absurdist Detective Fiction of Tokugawa Musei” (2009), “Rajio hôsô no sengo: ‘Hanashi no izumi’ to ‘Nichiyô goraku-ban’” (The Allied Powers’ Education and Censorship Strategies in Post-WWII Japan: Radio Broadcasting in the late 1940s: 2008), “‘Finding Our Own English’: Migrancy, Identity, and Language(s) in Itô Hiromi’s Recent Prose” (2007).

She has been awarded research grants from The Miller Center for Historical Studies and the McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland, as well as postdoctoral fellowships from SSRC/JSPS, the Japan Foundation, and the International Research Center for Japanese Studies. Omori was also trained in language pedagogy and is a recipient of the Hamako Ito Chaplin Award, a national award recognizing excellence in teaching Japanese.

Zhuoyi Wang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures

Areas of Expertise: Chinese cinema.
Zhuoyi Wang received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Washington at Seattle. His research interest is in Chinese film history. More >>

Wang has taught at various institutions, including the Summer Chinese School at Middlebury College, the Department of Modern Languages and Literature at Kenyon College and the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Washington. His teaching interests include Chinese history, film, literature and language.

Susan Mason, M.S., M.A., Director of Education Studies Program

Areas of Expertise: instructional design, development and delivery; curriculum development; and adult learning and development strategies.
Mason, who came to Hamilton in 1991, is responsible for planning, implementing, and assessing all activities associated with Hamilton's minor in education studies. More >>

As a consultant she also designs and delivers communication management skills seminars for a variety of profit and nonprofit organizations.

Tina Hall, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Literature and Creative Writing

Areas of Expertise: creative writing, 20th century literature, experimental women's writing, and postmodern gothic.
Tina May Hall earned an M.F.A. in fiction from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. More >>

Tina May Hall earned an M.F.A. in fiction from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. Her novella, All the Day's Sad Stories, was published by Caketrain Press in the spring of 2009.

Hall was named the 2010 winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, one of the nation’ s most prestigious awards for a book of short stories. Hall’s book, The Physics of Imaginary Objects, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2010. Hall's fiction has appeared in The Collagist, Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, descant, Water-Stone Review, and other literary journals.

Hall's fiction has appeared in 3rd bed, Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, descant, Water-Stone Review, and other literary journals. She has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. Hall's teaching interests include monsters, the gothic, technology’s relationship with the body, contemporary fiction and experimental women writers.

Doran Larson, Ph.D., Professor of Literature and Creative Writing

Areas of Expertise: 20th century American literature, the history of the Anglo-American novel, fiction writing, nonfiction writing and prison writing of the U.S., South African and Ireland.
Doran Larson teaches courses in prison writing, the history of the novel, 20th-century American literature, and creative writing. More >>

He has published articles on Herman Melville, Theodore Dreiser, Henry James and popular film. Since November of 2006, he has taught a creative writing course inside a maximum-security state prison. Larson's essays on prison writing and prison issues have been published in College Literature, Radical Teacher, English Language Notes and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is the editor of two forthcoming volumes:  The Beautiful Prison, a special issue of the legal journal, Studies in Law, Politics, and Society; and Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America.  He is also the author of two novels, The Big Deal (Bantam, 1985), and Marginalia (Permanent, 1997). Larson's stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, Boulevard, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Alaska Quarterly Review and Best American Short Stories. The Iowa Review published his novella, Syzygy, in 1998. He has also published travel writing, magazine features, and paid op-eds.

Vincent Odamtten, Ph.D., Professor of Literature and Creative Writing

Areas of Expertise: African literature with a focus of Ghanaian and women's literature; 20th century Caribbean literature; African American literature; science fiction; literary criticism; and use of digital technology in the study of literature.
Vincent Odamtten joined the Hamilton faculty in 1985, after earning a Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. More >>

While he specializes in African, Caribbean and African American literatures, Odamtten also teaches science fiction and postcolonial criticism. He has published an acclaimed book, The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo (1994), and has contributed articles to a number of critical anthologies, including Emerging Perspectives on Ama Ata Aidoo (1998), Challenging Hierarchies: Issues and Themes in Colonial and Post-Colonial Narratives (1997), Of Dreams Deferred, Dead Or Alive: African Perspectives on African-American Writers (1996) and Language in Exile: Jamaican texts of the 18th & 19th Century (1990).  In 2007, Broadening the Horizon: Critical Introductions to Amma Darko, a collection of articles edited by Odamtten, was published in England. In 2012 he published an article "Not Just for Children Anymore: Aidoo's The Eagle and the Chickens and Questions of Identity" in Essays in Honour of Ama Ata Aidoo at 70. Currently, he is researching the life and times of Togbi Sri II, Paramount Chief of the Anlo-Ewes of Southeastern Ghana, as part of a multimedia narrative project.


Patricia O'Neill, Ph.D., Professor of Literature and Creative Writing

Areas of Expertise: Victorian and postcolonial literature, and contemporary and new media studies.
Patricia O'Neill teaches 19th century British literature and Women Filmmakers. More >>

She received her Ph.D. 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.

Martine Guyot-Bender, Ph.D., Professor of French

Areas of Expertise: literature and film of 20th and 21st century France; literature and film of the Nazi occupation of France; post-war cinema, particularly social documentary from the 1970s to today; Patrick Modiano and Amelie Nothomb; and narrative representation of war and poverty.
Martine Guyot-Bender, who holds a doctorate from the University of Oregon (1991), specializes in 20th-century French Studies. More >>

Guyot-Bender teaches contemporary France and all levels of language. She has directed the Hamilton in France program five times, most recently in 2007-2008.

Guyot-Bender is the author of Poétique et politique de l'ambiguité chez Patrick Modiano (1999), and the co-editor of Paradigms of Memory: The Occupation and Other Hi/stories in the Novels of Patrick Modiano (1998). Her recent publications include articles and book chapters on cultural stereotypes (Sites, Summer 2001); French popular fiction (French Popular Culture, 2003); and French cinema and media (Women in French, 2004; Sites, Fall 2005). She has also published articles on Belgian-born novelist Amélie Nothomb, and on Simone de Beauvoir’s social novel ‘Les belles images’ in a special issue of Lendemains, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of de Beauvoir’s birth (December 2008).

In addition, Guyot-Bender has presented many conference papers and contributed encyclopedia entries on popular culture during the Nazi occupation in France. A co-editor of Women in French Newsletter and a Cornell University visiting regional scholar since 2003, she is currently conducting research on French militant documentary film.

Edna Rodriguez-Plate, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies

Areas of Expertise: Hispanic cinema, contemporary Hispanic Caribbean literature, and culture and Cuban studies.
Edna M. Rodríguez-Plate completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico, did master’s work at Purdue University and her Ph.D. at Emory University. More >>

Her research and teaching begins with basic questions about identity, from individual identities to a collective social-national identity: How are identities constructed, represented and contested culturally, in films, literature and the mass media? How is ideology produced and how does it affect our sense of the world, our world? Rodríguez-Plate is the author of Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity, and several articles on Cuban film, and Caribbean literature.

Stephenson Humphries-Brooks, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies

Areas of Expertise: New Testament studies; literary and social-historical criticism of the Gospels; religion in film; early Christian mysticism; and theories and methods for the study of religion.
Humphries-Brooks came to Hamilton in 1983 as a visiting instructor of religion. He received the Ph.D. in religion from Columbia University/Union Theological Seminary with a specialization in New Testament studies. More >>

Teaching and research interests include literary and social-historical criticism of the Gospels, religion in film, early Christian mysticism, theories and methods for the study of religion. Humphries-Brooks' early research and publication concentrated on the Gospel of Matthew. His most recent book, Cinematic Savior: Hollywood's Making of the American Christ (Praeger, 2006) examines how the life of Jesus has been portrayed in mainstream films. His current book project, Raging Gods, also a class—RelSt 421—discusses the contributions of Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese to the religious culture in American Film.

Brent Plate, Ph.D., Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Areas of Expertise: religion and media; religion and popular culture; comparative religions; blasphemy and controversial art; and religious life in the U.S.
S. Brent Plate joins Hamilton as visiting associate professor of religious studies. His teaching and research focus on how ways of seeing affect ways of being religious. More >>

His teaching and research focus on how ways of seeing affect ways of being religious. What humans look at, the type of images created, and how humans learn to see images, are all shaped by cultural, biological and religious environments.

Investigating "religious visual culture," Plate's work is interdisciplinary, moving between developments in cultural anthropology, art history, film studies, and increasingly cognitive science, along with his home discipline, religious studies. Book-length publications include Religion and Film (Wallflower Press, 2008), The Religion and Film Reader (2007), Blasphemy: Art that Offends (2006), Walter Benjamin, Religion, and Aesthetics (2005), Re-Viewing the Passion: Mel Gibson's Film and Its Critics (2004), and Representing Religion in World Cinema (2003). Plate is also co-founder and managing editor of the journal, Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief.

More about S. Brent Plate >>