|Department:||English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
|Resources:||English Language and Literature
Film and Media Studies Program
PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013
MA, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
BA, Oberlin College, 2002
Areas of Specialization
• Historical Poetics
• Style, Narrative, and Genre
• Intermediality, Adaptation, and Transmedia
• New Hollywood and the Hollywood Renaissance
• Television Studies
• Comics Studies
• Film Studies
Recently Taught Courses
• American Television
• Complex Television
• Film and Media Analysis
• Introduction to Comics Studies
• Superheroes Across Media
Current Research Projects
My book from Oxford University Press – Robert Altman and the Elaboration of Hollywood Storytelling – revises standard critical accounts of Altman’s seminal work in the "Hollywood Renaissance" or “New Hollywood” period of the early 1970s, during which he directed M*A*S*H, Brewster McCloud, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Images, The Long Goodbye, Thieves Like Us, California Split, and Nashville. It reframes Altman as a pragmatic innovator whose work exceeds, but is also grounded in, the norms of classical Hollywood storytelling. Largely avoiding thematic interpretation and focusing instead on stylistic, narrative, and thematic design, I employ a historical poetics approach to demystify the central features of Altman’s profile – his films’ reputedly lax narrative design, his intensified use of the zoom, his complex soundtracks featuring overlapping dialogue, his improvisatory on-set practices, and his transmedial training in industrial filmmaking and filmed television. The book provides a clear example of how a filmmaker might work within and across media institutions to innovate and elaborate upon their sanctioned practices and aims.
My new project focuses on the emergence of the superhero genre within comic books of the late 1930s and 1940s and the genre’s extension into comic strips, adventure serials, animation, and radio. I place particular emphasis on tracing the development of the genre’s conventions, experiential aims, and narrative and stylistic strategies both within and across media forms and industries.
• Robert Altman and the Elaboration of Hollywood Storytelling. Oxford University Press (2021).
• “Millhouse: The Problems and Opportunities of Political Cinema.” Film History 26.1 (2014).
• “Beyond the badass: Electronic Dance Music meets film music practice.” The New Review of Film and Television Studies 11.22 (2013).
CHAPTERS IN COLLECTIONS
• “Rhythm Kings: Innovation, Impact, and Simon and Kirby’s Captain America Comics,” in The Comics of Jack Kirby, eds. Craig Fischer, Charles Hatfield, and Susan Kirtley. University Press of Mississippi (forthcoming).
• “I Yam What I Yam What I Yam: Altman and the Transpositional Poetics of Popeye,” in Autumnal Altman, eds. Lisa Dombrowski and Justin Wyatt. Edinburgh University Press (2022).
• “Reforming the ‘Justice’ System: Marvel’s Avengers and the Transformation of the All-Star Team Book,” (with Bradley Schauer), in Make Ours Marvel: Media Convergence and a Comics Universe, ed. Matt Yockey. University of Texas Press (2017).
• “Sponsoring the Hollywood Renaissance: Reappraising Robert Altman’s Industrial Films,” in A Companion to Robert Altman, ed. Adrian Danks. Wiley-Blackwell (2015).
• “Early Altman,” in Robert Altman: The Book. Il Castoro and TFF (2011).
• “Robert Altman’s Early Career.” Online 2009. URL: www.wcftr.commarts.wisc.edu/ collections/featured/altman/.
• “Dossier: The Role of Documentary in the Contemporary American Political Scene” (ed. with Dave Resha, Charlie Michael, and Colin Burnett). The Velvet Light Trap 60 (Fall 2007).
• “No Bland Background: Reconstructing the Dynamics and Dynamism of Early 1940s Comic
Book Style.” Comics Studies Society Conference. Denton, TX. June 27-29, 2023.
• “Broken Frames and Emergent Forms: A Historical Poetics Perspective on the Nature, Impact, and Influence of the Panel Border-Breaking Innovations of Simon & Kirby’s Captain America.” The Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image. Wilmington, NC. May 31-June 3, 2023.
• “Reformulation and Relay: MLJ and the Early Superhero Genre.” Comics Studies Society Conference. East Lansing, MI. July 28-30, 2022.
• “Rhythm Kings: Simon and Kirby, Their Followers, and Stylistic Change in the “Golden Age” of the Comic Book Superhero.” Annual Conference for the Society of Film and Media Studies. Virtual. March 31-April 3, 2022.
• “I Yam Wot I Yam Wot I Yam: Altman and the Transpositional Poetics of Popeye.” Annual Conference for the Society of Film and Media Studies. Virtual. March 17-21, 2021.
• “The Origins of Riverdale’s Black Hood.” TCOOP talk at Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina. November 12, 2019.
• “Adventures in Rhythm: Superhero Storytelling and Rhythmic Strategies in American Comic Books of the Thirties and Forties,” Annual Conference for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. Seattle, WA. March 12-16, 2019.
• “Nothing Would Ever Be the Same: The Many Iterations of the Black Hood.” Film and History Conference. Madison, WI. November 7-11, 2018.
• “Pills, Thrills, and Discontinuities: Transmedia Genre Cycles and The Early Comic Book Superhero.” Annual Conference for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. Toronto, Ontario. March 14-18, 2018.
• “Elaborative Infidelity: Reconsidering Robert Altman’s Early Transpositional Strategies through the Archive.” Annual Conference for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. Chicago, IL. March 22-26, 2017.
• “Origins/Stories: A Historical Poetics of the Origin in the ‘Golden Age’ of the Superhero Comic.” International Comic Arts Forum. Columbia, SC. April 14-16, 2016.
• “Up in the Air! Sensation and Superhero Storytelling of the 1930s and 1940s.” Annual Conference for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. Atlanta, GA. March 30-April 3, 2016.
• “Combat! Authorship.” Film and History Conference. Madison, WI. November 5-8, 2015.
• “Altman Unscripted?” Screenwriting Research Network International Conference. Madison, WI. August 20-22, 2013.
• “The Justice System: A Poetics of the All-Star Team Book.” Comics Studies Conference. Chicago, IL. April 13, 2012.
• “Learning by Selling: Robert Altman and Industrial Filmmaking as Training Ground.” Annual Conference for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. New Orleans, LA. March 10-13, 2011.