Current Graduate Students

Benjamin Aspray’s research interests include: rhetorics of explicitness, politics of gender and sexuality, censorship, film history and criticism, game studies, comedy, and animation. He writes about popular music for Popmatters, a cultural webzine based in Evanston. He received his BA in Film and English from the University of California, Berkeley.

Simran Bhalla’s research interests include state and institutional films from India and Iran; discourses of modernity in early twentieth-century Eastern cinemas; and transnationalism and modernism. She has presented her work at conferences including the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and Visible Evidence. She holds an MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern and a dual BA in Film & Media Culture and Political Science from Middlebury College. Previously, she worked as an editor at ELLE India and Time Out Delhi, and contributes writing on arts and culture to print and online publications.

Madison Brown is primarily interested in domestic media and the politics of the personal. Soft on the autoethnographic approach, Madison uses her own home videos and family photography to theorize personal archives, affect, and memory/forgetting. Other interests include trash aesthetics, love, and reality TV—especially at the same time. Madison holds a dual BA in English and Cinema Studies, and an MA in Cinema Studies from the University of

Crystal Camargo studies the construction of Latinidad in 1970’s-1990’s television programming. She is particularly interested in situating television programs with their historical context to understand how language, Latinx culture, immigration status, and race intersect with television as a medium during certain unstable times for the Latinx population. Some of her other research interests include American adapted telenovelas as well as contemporary reboots with Latinx ensemble casts and storylines. Crystal has presented her work at Literature/Film Association, Backward Glances, and the Latina/o Studies Association and will participate in a roundtable at the 2018 Flow conference. She received her BA in International Studies, Spanish Language & Literature, and Gender & Women’s Studies from the University of Denver and an MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern. She is also a Mellon Cluster Fellow in Comparative Race and Diaspora at Northwestern.

Nina Cartier is a PhD candidate whose essay “I Get Lifted? Delineating Uplift’s restrictions upon Black Female Desire in Silent Era Race Films” was published in Not So Silent: Women in Cinema before Sound (Stockholm: Stockholm University Press, 2010).

Marisela Chavez is interested in sports media and culture. Her primary research focuses on sports television, with emphasis on race, performance, and television theory. Some of her other research interests include television criticism and 1970s television, particularly work produced by Norman Lear. Marisela has presented her work at Console-ing Passions. She received a BA in Rhetoric and Media Studies from UC Berkeley and an MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern.

Esra Cimencioglu’s research interests include the cinema of displacement, transnational media, urban and postcolonial studies. Her primary research focuses on the relationships between space, gender, and everyday life in the city films of Middle Eastern and North African filmmakers. She received her BA in Urban and Regional Planning from Istanbul Technical University with honors, and MA in Film and Television from Istanbul Bilgi University. As an exchange student at FAMU in Prague, she had a chance to study the Czech New Wave and Central European Cinema. She worked in production and media companies in Istanbul as a production assistant, and produced several short films and documentaries. She has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for her doctoral study in the United States.

Kelly Coyne studies twentieth and twenty-first century literature and film, and she is particularly interested in trauma, gender and sexuality, and psychoanalytic theory. Her MA thesis explored the uncanny in work by Chantal Akerman and Sylvia Plath, and she has presented on these artists, as well as on the Gothic genre and Lena Dunham’s cinematic work. She holds an MA in English from Georgetown University and a dual BA in English and psychology from Bates College. Previously, she worked in publishing and journalism, and she contributes writing to print and online publications.

Cara Dickason’s research explores the intersection of surveillance, spectatorship, and gender in contemporary girl's and women's television and media. Her work on surveillance in teen girl TV was recently published in the collections Mediated Girlhoods and ABC Family to Freeform TV. She has presented at Console-ing Passions and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, and taught English and composition at Georgetown University, Trinity Washington University, and Prince George’s Community College. She earned her B.A. in Cinema-Television and English from the University of Southern California, and her M.A. in English from Georgetown University. She is a Mellon Cluster Fellow in Gender and Sexuality Studies and current co-president of the Screen Cultures Graduate Student Association.

Ilana Emmett is currently working on her dissertation on the aesthetics of American daytime soap operas on radio and television from 1930 to today, with a focus on sound aesthetics. Additional research addresses the history of television programming for deaf audiences. Research interests include: sound studies, disability studies, women’s popular media, teen media, and religion and media. She has presented her work at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and Console-ing Passions. She has a B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Chicago and an M.A. in Film and Television Studies from the University of Warwick in the U.K. She has also worked in film and television production.

Samantha Freeman’s dissertation examines depictions of sexual assault in contemporary television, specifically focusing on representations of race, gender and sexuality. Her dissertation aims to understand how serialized rape narratives operate under specifically gendered and racialized cultural logics in our contemporary moment which has seen a recent proliferation in these types of stories. Some of her other research interests include narratology, genre, adaptation, and feminist film theory. She has presented her work at the University of Chicago Cinema and Media Studies graduate student conference on Trauma & Melodrama and at Console-ing Passions. She received her BA in Film and Media from the University of California Berkeley and an MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern.

Julia Peres Guimarães holds an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, an M.A. in International Relations from the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio, Brazil, and a BSc in International Relations & History from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Julia’s research investigates how cinematic texts address the fictional reproduction of patterns of normalcy, standards of deviant behavior and the medicalization/institutionalization or punishment of individuals. Her objective is to unsettle understandings of mental illnesses and their conceptual implications to the legitimization of notions of “normality” associated with local/global citizenship, and to explore the philosophical boundaries pushed by extended levels of consciousness experienced within manic episodes. Her additional research interests include feminist media, critical theory, affect studies and photography.,

Leigh Goldstein is a feminist media theorist and historian. Her dissertation, "Special for Women," examines modern, mediated relationality in the mid-twentieth century US, with a particular focus on "egghead" TV programs addressed to women. She has published articles in the journals Jumpcut and Critical Studies in Television and is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the UCLA Film and Television Archive, the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, Cornell University's Human Sexuality Collection and the Sexualities Project at Northwestern. Her most recent publication is an essay entitled "Huma Abedin: The Fashionable Wife" (co-authored with Suzanne Leonard) that will appear in the edited collection Celebrity of Politics (IU Press). She has a B.A. in Art History from Columbia University and a M.A. in Radio-TV-Film from University of Texas at Austin.

Courtney Gray’s research considers social media broadly construed and its relationship to activist praxis and cultural memory. Her work explores a wide variety media, from pre-digital prisoner-authored zine distribution networks to the contemporary use of the phrase and hashtag “stay woke.” Other interests include celebrity culture, "new" media technologies, and nostalgia. She received her BA in American Culture Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and her MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern University.

Catherine Harrington’s dissertation examines prison media from the 1970s forward and its participation in discourses of power, technology, and subjecthood. Her scholarly work engages critical ethnic, gender and cultural studies. She has presented her work at the annual conferences of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the American Studies Association and Console-ing Passions. Catherine holds a combined B.A. in English and Human Rights from Barnard College and an M.A. in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons College.

Ian Hartman is currently working on his dissertation, Exotic Extensions: Anti-Modernism and American Cyber-Utopianism. Tracking the intertwined histories of cybernetics, anthropology, popular social movements, and the artistic avant-garde, the project investigates how early optimism about information technologies took shape around shifting discourses on race, ethnicity, and cultural difference in post-war America. Ian's research areas includes computer culture, game studies, science and technology studies, and critical theory. He received a BA in Cinema Studies and French from New York University and an MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern. Ian has presented his work at SCMS, The Society for the History of Technology, the Game History Annual Symposium, and Historical Materialism.

Lauren Herold studies LGBTQ television history and media advocacy in relation to the politics of race, gender, and sexuality. Her dissertation chronicles the rise of public access programming made by and for LGBTQ people and considers this programming as a televisual archive that offers insight into the structures of feelings circulating in queer communities in the 1970s-1990s. She has presented her work at a symposium on Transparent, at Console-ing Passions, at the American Studies Association, and at the Society for Cinema & Media Studies. She serves as the Advocacy Chair of Northwestern's Queer Pride Grad Student Association and volunteers with the campus Women's Center. She holds an MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern University and a BA in Women’s and Gender studies from Columbia University.

Jelena Jelušić’s interests include transnational and global media, gender studies, and postcolonial theory. Her research focuses on representations of gender, nation, and history on television, with emphasis on socialist and post-socialist television cultures and industries. Jelena has presented her work at Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Film & History, and Midwest Pop Culture Association Conference. She holds a dual BA with honors in Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature from Brown University, and an MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern University.

Peter Kragh Jensen’s interests include contemporary satire and digital culture. He holds a BA from Aarhus University in Media Studies, an MA from the University of Copenhagen in Film & Media Studies and was a visiting student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has presented his work at the annual conferences of the Cultural Studies Association and the Northeast Modern Language Association, his research has appeared in Continuum and The Comedy Studies Reader. He has also served as a peer reviewer for Continuum and Interactions. While living in Denmark he interned at The Danish Film Institute and worked for a Copenhagen media agency.

Evelyn Kreutzer's dissertation focuses on class and taste politics in uses of European classical music in American TV and video art of the Cold War era. She holds an M.A. in Screen Cultures and a Mellon cluster certificate in Rhetoric & Public Culture from Northwestern University. She graduated with a B.A. in American Studies and German Literature from the Freie Universität Berlin and was a visiting student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has interned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and will be an interdisciplinary fellow at The Block Museum of Art, Evanston during the 2018-19 academic year. Her further interests include sound studies, museum studies and videographic scholarship. Evelyn has presented her work at conferences such as SCMS, Screen and Music & The Moving Image. Her audio-visual essay “Berlin Moves” was published in [in]transition.

Laura LaPlaca is an archivist and historian of American radio and television broadcasting. Her dissertation, “Show Rooms: Domestic Sitcom Architecture,” considers interrelationships between sitcom set design and the cultural history of American housing during the period 1929 - 1959. Laura is currently Director of Archives & Research at the National Comedy Center in New York, and has designed and implemented media preservation projects at The Library of Congress, The Warner Brothers Archives, The Paley Center for Media, and other institutions. From 2015 to 2017, she managed the Northwestern University Radio Archive Project and served on the board of the Radio Preservation Task Force. She has published and presented work on media archives, broadcast aesthetics, and the history of the sitcom genre, with her most recent work ("Radio Sitcoms: History and Preservation") forthcoming in the Blackwell Companion to the History of Broadcasting.,

Carter Moulton researches cinemagoing, media industries, immersion, and new media technologies. He previously taught composition and rhetorical analysis at the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee—where he received his M.A. in English and Media, Digital, and Cinema Studies. He has published on topics such as 3D cinema (CineAction), Blu-Ray “special features” (Media Fields Journal), “TV Everywhere” apps (The Popular Culture Studies Journal), Hollywood’s cooption of cult fandom (The New Review of Film & Television Studies), and the convergence of nostalgia and speculation in movie trailers (The International Journal of Cultural Studies).

Jason Nebergall studies the history of video art on broadcast television. His research focuses on artists and technicians working as part of experimental television collectives at public television stations beginning in the 1960s. He has presented his work at the SCREEN and Console-ing Passions conferences. He holds a BA in Cinema with a minor in Art History from The University of Iowa and an MA in the Humanities from The University of Chicago.

Golden Owens's research examines representations and articulations of race, gender and identity in contemporary television and popular culture. She is particularly interested in analyzing televisual representations of Blackness and exploring the ways in which Black womanhood is portrayed, performed and embodied in various subgenres of reality television. A recipient of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) in 2013, Golden recently served as program faculty for the MMUF Summer Program at Bowdoin College, where she taught two courses and helped to coordinate a research colloquium for participating students. She holds a B.A. in English from Bowdoin College and an M.A. in Screen Cultures from Northwestern

Whitney Pow writes about queer games and queer and transgender histories of software and computing. Their dissertation examines the elided histories of queer and trans software designers, queer video games and interactive art, and the relationship between queer orientations and software interaction. Whitney’s research has been generously supported by The Presidential Fellowship at Northwestern, the Sexualities Project at Northwestern's Dissertation Fellowship, The Strong National Museum of Play’s Research Fellowship, and a two-year Research Fellowship at the University of Chicago’s Game Changer Chicago Design Lab. Whitney is also a graphic designer and game designer who makes queer games and educational board games. Their work has been published in The Velvet Light Trap. Visit Whitney’s website at

Ben Riggs is interested in science and the media, with a focus on the linkages between science fiction and science fact in popular film and television. A former high school science teacher, his research interests also include spectatorship, epistemology, and learning environments. He is a Cluster Fellow with the Science in Human Culture program. He has a BA in Media Arts from the University of New Mexico and an MA in Communication and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Karly-Lynne Scott’s research focuses on corporeality, affect and ethics, with attention to the intersection of gender, sexuality, violence and disability. Her dissertation examines moving-image pornography in relation to the different ways the body and sexuality have been understood throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, analyzing how shifts in psychoanalytic, sexological, and medico-scientific conceptualizations of the body have altered how we imagine erotically engaging with media. She is an assistant editor of World Picture and holds an MA in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. Her essay “Orgasms without Bodies” is forthcoming in World Picture, spring 2015.

Ashley R. Smith’s research centers primarily on underexplored subgenres of horror, with a particular focus on representations of serial killers in American cinema, and the home invasion film on an international scale. Her additional research interests include film adaptation, cinematic representations of masculinity (particularly in connection with themes of culture and nationality), and authorial approaches to examining the work of David Fincher, Stanley Kubrick and the Coen Brothers. She received a BA in English from Rider University and an MA in Cinema Studies from New York University.

Hannah Spaulding’s primary research interests concern the intersection between the history of media technology and the spaces and practices of the home. She holds an MA from Concordia University and a BA from Simon Fraser University. Her dissertation, “Magnetic Families and Electronic Futures: Technology, Domesticity and the Second-Generation Television Moment,” examines alternative practices and fantasies of television from the 1960s to the 1990s, focusing on their relationships with technology, gender, domesticity, and postwar visions of the future.

Annie Sullivan studies the history of filmmaking in Detroit, alongside questions of race and urban development. Her main research interests include archival media, industrial and sponsored film, local media practice, and visual representations of urban space. She has presented her work at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference. Before beginning the PhD program at Northwestern, Annie received her BA from the University of Michigan and an MA in Film Studies from the University of Iowa.