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Jennifer Fay




Chair of Cinema & Media Arts
Professor of Cinema & Media Arts and English
Graduate Faculty of German Studies


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  • Environmental Humanities
  • Anthropocene Studies
  • Transatlantic Film and Media Studies
  • Media Aesthetics and Politics


My research and teaching are broadly concerned with transatlantic film and media theory, environmental criticism, including critical Anthropocene studies, and the relationship between aesthetics and politics.

These interests are at the center of my book Inhospitable World: Cinema in the Time of the Anthropocene (2018, Oxford University Press).  Chapters move from Buster Keaton’s weather designs to the Nevada atomic testing range and from China’s Three Gorges Dam to the icy shores of Antarctica.  The book explores the relationship of media theory and aesthetics to the production of artificial worlds, weather, and climates in which hospitality and survival in the world are at stake. Film Quarterly  published an interview with me about this book and extended reviews appear in  L.A. Review of Books and the  Hong Kong Review of Books. Inhospitable World has been named a Choice "Outstanding Title" by the American Library Association, won Honorable Mention for the 2019 ASLE Ecocritical Book Award, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Best Moving Image Award, Kraszna-Krausz Foundation.

A second line of inquiry focuses on sincerity and media theory. “Must We Mean What We Film?: Stanley Cavell’s Candid Camera” is my contribution to a special issue of Discourse on Cavell and cinematic modernism that I am co-editing with Daniel Morgan.  A related essay-in-progress explores the unlikely affinity between Hannah Arendt’s account of thinking and Cavell’s exploration of thought on film.

I co-edit the Contemporary Film Directors series for University of Illinois Press, coordinate the Film Theory and Visual Culture Seminar at Vanderbilt’s Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, and have served on the Board of Directors at Belcourt Theatre from 2012-2018.


Books -

Selected Articles -

  • “Cinema’s Hot Chronology (5:29:21 Mountain War Time, July 6, 1945),” in “In Focus: Film and Media History in the Anthropocene.” Jennifer Peterson and Graig Uhlin, eds. Journal of Cinema and Media Studies (formerly Cinema Journal ) 58:2  (Winter 2019): 146-152. 
  • “Democratic Film and the Aesthetics of Choice,” German Life & Letters 13: 5 (2018). Special issue “Narratives of Identity and Nationhood in Occupied Germany.” Lara Feigel and Emily Oliver, eds.: 169-192.
  • “Atomic Screen Test.” Modernism/modernity.23:3 (September 2016) Special issue on “Modernist Inhumanisms.”Aaron Jaffe, ed.,611-630.
  • "The Talented Mr. Roosevelt" co-written with Scott Juengel in Film and the American Presidency. Jeff Menne and Christian B. Long eds. (New York: Routledge, 2015):    99-115.
  • "Buster Keaton's Climate Change," Modernism/Modernity21:1 (January, 2014):25-49.
  • Werner Herzog and Preposterous War," CR: New Centennial Review 13:1 (Spring 2013) Special issue on "War and Peace":241-264.
  • "Antarctica and Siegfried Kracauer's Cold Love" Discourse 33:3 (Fall, 2011—published Fall 2012): 291-321
  • “Rubble Noir,” in William Rasch and Wilfried Wilms eds. German Postwar Films: Life   and Love in the Ruins (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008): 125-140. PDF
  • "Seeing/Loving Animals: Andre Bazin's Posthumanism," The Journal of Visual Culture 7: 1 (2008): 41-64. PDF
  • “Dead Subjectivity: White Zombie, Black Baghdad,” CR: New Centennial Review 8:1 (2008): 71-91.
  • “Germany is a Boy in Trouble,” Cultural Critique 64 (Fall 2006): 196-234.
  • "Becoming Democratic: Satire, Satiety, and the Founding of West Germany,” Film History 18: 1 (Winter 2006): 6-20.
  • "'That's Jazz Made in Germany!': Hallo Fräulein and The Limits of Democratic Pedagogy,"Cinema Journal 44:1 (Fall 2004): 3-24.
  • "The Schoolgirl Reports and the Guilty Pleasure of History" in E. Mathijs and X. Mendikeds.Alternative Europe: Eurotrash and Exploitation Cinema Since 1945 (London: Wallflower Press, 2004): 39-52. PDF

Undergraduate Courses

Graduate Courses




Ph.D. in Film Studies from Wisconsin-Madison, 2001