Faculty Fellows

Meredith Bak

Meredith Bak (PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara) is an Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden. Her research and teaching interests focus on children’s film, media, visual, and material cultures from the nineteenth century to the present. She is the author of Playful Visions: Optical Toys and the Emergence of Children’s Media Culture (MIT Press, 2020), which explores the role of pre-cinematic visual media from optical toys to early pop-up books in shaping children as media spectators. Recent articles and book chapters have considered the connections between children’s media and visual/material cultures applied to case studies such as talking dolls, the DC Super Hero Girls toy line, and the Give-a-Show Projector. A second large-scale project in development considers the history and theory of animate toys from talking dolls to augmented reality apps. Since joining the faculty at Rutgers-Camden, Dr. Bak’s research has been supported by the Penn...

Brittany Friedman

Brittany Friedman is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Faculty Affiliate of the Program in Criminal Justice and the Center for Security, Race, and Rights at Rutgers University.  She holds a PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University and researches race and prison order, penal policy, and the intersections between institutions and monetary sanctions in the criminal justice system.  Her first book, Born in Blood: Death Work, White Power, and the Rise of the Black Guerilla Family (forthcoming, University of North Carolina Press), traces the institutionalization of control strategies designed to eradicate Black political protest and the resulting consequences for the prison social system.  She enjoys writing for academic and general audiences, with articles, chapters, essays, and interviews appearing in scholarly and public outlets.  

Zeynep Gursel

Zeynep Devrim Gürsel is a media anthropologist and Associate Professor in the department of Anthropology at Rutgers University.  Her scholarship involves both the analysis and production of documentary images.  She is the author of Image Brokers: Visualizing World News in the Age of Digital Circulation (University of California Press, 2016), an ethnography of the international photojournalism industry.  She has published on images of the War on Terror, medical portraits, Xrays and crowdshots. For more than a decade she has been researching photography as a tool of governmentality in the late Ottoman period.  Specifically she is investigating photography during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid (1876-1909) to understand  emerging forms of the state and the changing contours of Ottoman subjecthood.  

Miranda Lichtenstein

Miranda Lichtenstein is an artist who works in photography and video.  Her work has been widely exhibited at institutions including, the Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; the Renaissance Society, Chicago, Stadhaus Ulm, Germany and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at venues such as the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, NY and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson, AZ. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art & Design at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. She lives in Brooklyn. 

Colin Williamson

Colin Williamson (PhD, University of Chicago) is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Cinema Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. He also serves on the Executive Committee of Domitor, the International Society for the Study of Early Cinema, and as a Reviews Editor for animation: an interdisciplinary journal (ANM). His research focuses on early film history, media archaeology, animation, and science and the cinema. Colin is the author of Hidden in Plain Sight: An Archaeology of Magic and the Cinema (Rutgers University Press, 2015), and has published articles and essays in such edited collections and journals as Thinking in the Dark: Cinema, Theory, Practice (Rutgers University Press, 2015), Film History, ANM, Leonardo, The Moving Image, and Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies. His current book project explores how a series of questions about the changing natures of still and moving images were negotiated at intersections between natural history and...

Graduate Fellows

Christiane Fischer

Christiane Fischer is a Ph.D. candidate in the German Department at Rutgers University. She is currently working on her dissertation, “Between Skin and Surface: The Cinematic Cut in German Film and Literature 1989-2018”, which centers on global image economies and investigates various intersections of image production, distribution, and consumption in contemporary German film, literature and media art. More specifically, her project focuses on the transition from analog to digital media technologies, thereby examining the limits of representation and the possibility of an “authentic” image. Before joining Rutgers in 2016 Christiane completed her B.A. in comparative literature at the University of Vienna and the University of St. Andrews.

Che Gossett

Che Gossett is a Women's and Gender Studies PhD candidate at Rutgers University whose work is at the nexus of critical black studies, queer theory and trans studies. They are currently a 2019-2020 Helena Rubinstein Fellow in Critical Studies in the Whitney Independent Study Program.  Their writing has been published in Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility (MIT Press 2018) Death and Other Penalties: Continental Philosophers on Prisons and Capital Punishment (Fordham UP 2015), Transgender Studies Reader (Routledge Press 2014) as well as online publications such as the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Frieze.  

William Green

William Green is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University. He studies histories of photography with an emphasis on post-WWII American photography, photobooks, and the materiality of photographs. Prior to Rutgers, he was the curatorial assistant in the Department of Photography at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. He has curated numerous exhibitions for the Eastman Museum, including Nandita Raman: Cinema Play House (2017) and the upcoming Carl Chiarenza: Journey into the Unknown (2021). He has also contributed to publications including The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Photography (2013) and the exhibition catalog A Matter of Memory: Photography as Object in the Digital Age (2016).

Dan Malinowski

Dan Malinowski is PhD candidate in English at Rutgers. His dissertation, “Free Float: Finance, Form, and Late 20th Century American Literature,” examines the conjunction of experimental American literature, changing media forms, and the financialization of the US economy at the end of the 20th century. In the long works of writers such as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Nathanial Mackey, and John Ashbery, this project examines how both the digitization of formerly analog media and the ever-increasing abstraction of the labor market become problems of form for avant-garde writers

Emmet von Stackelberg

Emmet von Stackelberg is a PhD candidate in history at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, studying the technologies of visual culture in the United States. His dissertation is a history of celluloid, the photochemical substance necessary to the making and showing of motion pictures until the middle of the 20th century. This biography of a substance braids together histories of experiment, extraction, capitalism, industry, and leisure. Reconstructing the physical, intellectual, and political work needed to make cinema possible, the project probes at the material interdependence of entertainment and industrial capitalism.

Postdoctoral Associates

Alexander Bigman

Alexander Bigman is a historian of modern and contemporary art. His research focuses in particular upon the emergence, circa 1980, of postmodernism as an internationally circulating set of intertwined discourses, creative practices, and political positions. He is currently at work on a book project derived from his dissertation, “Picturing Fascism in Post-Conceptual Art, 1974 - 1984,” which examines how the history and aesthetics of interwar European fascism became newly salient objects of inquiry and representation for artists associated with the so-called “Pictures Generation,” a group defined by its use of imagery drawn from popular culture and its critical engagement with the dynamics of mass media. For artists who were born after World War II and established their careers at a moment marked by rightward political shift, such taboo imagery became a provocative, if often problematic, means of addressing such matters as the representability of history, the nature of cultural memory and...

Michelle Smiley

Michelle Smiley is a scholar of 19th-century photography and visual culture whose research investigates the intersection of aesthetics and scientific practice in the antebellum United States. Her current book project, Daguerreian Democracy: Art, Science, and Politics in Antebellum American Photography, examines how the daguerreotype became an object of technological, scientific, and commercial innovation for antebellum scientists, artisans, and political thinkers. By chronicling the contributions of these often-overlooked actors, she explores how the daguerreotype was an object of transatlantic scientific experimentation, a key component of government projects of nation-building, as well as an object of fascination for theorists of democracy. Before coming to Rutgers, Michelle held the Wyeth Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington, D.C. She holds an A. B., M.A. and Ph.D. in History of Art from Bryn Mawr College.