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Northwestern School of Communication

Scott Curtis

Associate Professor
1920 Campus Drive
Room 212
Evanston, IL 60208
Scott Curtis is currently exploring the history of the scientific community's use of animation in research, training, and public outreach.

Area(s) of Expertise


Affiliated Center(s)

NUQ Communication Program
Scott Curtis

Scott Curtis studies the history of film, especially early and silent-era cinema. He is particularly interested in how experts in science, medicine, and education use motion picture technology as a research tool or teaching aid. His book on this topic, The Shape of Spectatorship: Art, Science, and Early Cinema in Germany (Columbia University Press, 2015), explores the collision between expert vision and moving images in science, medicine, education, and aesthetics. He has published extensively on the use of motion pictures in a variety of scientific fields, such as biology, physics, psychology, and medicine. He has also written on more traditional topics in film history, including animation; early German film and theory; industrial film; the Motion Picture Patents Company; film sound; Alfred Hitchcock; and Douglas Fairbanks. He has held posts as the medical photographer for Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon; the research archivist for the Special Collections Department of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library; and a lecturer for the Cinema and Media Studies program of the University of Southern California. He is also the founder of Block Cinema, former co-chair of Chicago Film Seminar, former President of Domitor, the international society for the study of early cinema, and former Director of the Communication Program at Northwestern University’s campus in Doha, Qatar. He is currently stationed at the Doha campus.


  • PhD, Communication, University of Iowa
  • MA, Communication, University of Iowa
  • BA, Film and Telecommunication, University of Oregon

Selected Publications


Selected essays on film and the history of science or medicine

Selected essays in traditional film studies

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant, University of Innsbruck, Austria, March – June 2013
  • Visiting Fellow, Graduiertenkolleg Mediale Historiographien, Bauhaus-Universität, Weimar, Germany, Spring 2011
  • Faculty Honor Roll, Associated Student Government, Northwestern University, 2008 – 09
  • Faculty Honor Roll, Associated Student Government, Northwestern University, 2007 – 08
  • Faculty Honor Roll, Associated Student Government, Northwestern University, 2006 – 07


Graduate Seminars

  • Film Theory
  • An Introduction to Film and Media Historiography
  • Useful Cinema: Research, Educational, and Sponsored Films
  • Medicine and the Moving Image

Undergraduate Lectures and Seminars

  • Analyzing Media Texts (Introduction to Film Study)
  • History of Animation
  • History of Film
  • Theories of the Moving Image