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SCS/SCMS Presidential Biographies
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Below you'll find biographies of many of our organization's past presidents. Click on the videoicon, where available, to watch brief interviews with some of these tremendous scholars.



Raymond Fielding spent 45 years as a professor and/or administrator at six different university film schools, including UCLA, USC, the University of Iowa, Temple University, the University of Houston, and Florida State University, where he joined the Film School in 1990 and served as the founding permanent Dean for 13 years before stepping down in the summer of 2003. At the last three of these he helped created new programs. Fielding has written or directed films released by Walt Disney Studios, CBS Television and the Public Broadcasting Corporation, and served as a consultant to Universal Studios, United Artists, CBS Television, TransAmerica Corporation, Capital Cities Broadcasting, ABC Television, BBC Television, the Canadian Broadcasting Company and the Hearst Corporation. In addition to his position as President of the Society for Cinema Studies, he served as President of the University Film and Video Association and the Association of Industry Film Producers, and as the Vice President of the International Congress of Schools of Cinema and Television. In 1981 he was elected a lifetime member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is the author of six books on film technology and history, including Techniques of Special Effects of Cinematography, The American Newsreel: A Complete History, 1911-1967, and The March of Time, 1935-1951, as well as more than thirty articles in scholarly journals.


Don E. Staples, a former Navy officer, retired in 2004 as Professor Emeritus of Television and Film from the University of North Texas, where he chaired the Department of Radio, Television, and Film. Prior to that he taught at USC, Southern Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio State, Vassar, and NYU. After serving as president of SCS he was president of the University Film and Video Association and Vice-president of the International Congress of Schools of Cinema and Television (CILECT). For twelve years he was a member of the National Board of Review’s Committee on Exceptional Photoplays. An actor since the age of 11, he continues as an active member of the Screen Actors’ Guild. He is co-author of Film Encounter.


Howard Suber is Professor Emeritus at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. During his 40 years on the UCLA faculty, he helped establish and also chaired the UCLA Film Archive, the Critical Studies and Ph.D. Programs, and the UCLA Producers Program. He is a former Associate Dean, recipient of UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and has been a consultant and expert witness to all the major film studios on copyright and creative control issues. He continues to teach Film Structure and Strategic Thinking in the Film and Television Industries, and is the author of The Power of Film (2006) and Letters to Young Filmmakers (2012).


Robert Sklar (1936-2011) began his career as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He earned his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University in 1965. He taught American history at the University of Michigan, and between 1977 and his death in 2011, was a Professor in Cinema Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He was the author of seven books, including A World History of Film; Film: An International History of the Medium; Silent Screens: The Decline and Transformation of the American Movie Theater; and Movie-Made America, A Cultural History of American Movies.



Bill Nichols is Professor in the Department of Cinema at San Francisco State University. He has lectured and served on film festival juries in many countries. A former advisor for the American Film Institute, he has also been a Department Chair at universities in Canada and the United States. He is the author of Newsreel: Documentary Filmmaking on the American Left; Ideology and the Image: Social Representation as a Semiotic Process; Blurred Boundaries: Questions of Meaning in Contemporary Culture; Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary; Introduction to Documentary; Engaging Cinema: An Introduction to Film Studies; and Cinema’s Alchemist: The Films of Peter Forgacs. He is also the editor of Movies and Methods, Volumes I and II, and Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde.



Vivian Sobchack is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media and former Associate Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. She was the first woman elected president of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and served on the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute for nearly two decades. Her essays have appeared in many journals including Film Quarterly, Film Comment, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Camera Obscura, Journal of Visual Culture, and Screen. Her books include The Address Of The Eye: A Phenomenology Of Film Experience; Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film; and Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture. She has also edited The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television and the Modern Event and Meta-Morphing: Visual Transformation and the Culture of Quick Change.



Richard Abel is, since 2002, the Robert Altman Collegiate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Michigan, where he also served as Chair of the Department of Screen Arts & Cultures from 2005-2009. Previously he taught for many years at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He took a circuitous route to become a historian of silent French and American cinema: he was an undergraduate in forestry and wildlife management and then English, a doctoral student in Comparative Literature, and a partly self-trained professor of cinema studies and cultural studies. His books as author or editor include: French Cinema: The First Wave, 1915-1929;French Film Theory and Criticism: A History/Anthology 1907-1939; The Red Rooster Scare: Making Movies American, 1900-1910; Americanizing the Movies and "Movie-Mad” Audiences, 1910-1914; The Sounds of Early Cinema; and The Encyclopedia of Early Cinema.



Peter Lehman is the Director of the Center for Film, Media, and Popular Culture at Arizona State University. He is the author of Running Scared: Masculinity and the Representation of the Male Body, and Roy Orbison: The Invention of an Alternative Rock Masculinity and coauthor of Thinking about Movies: Watching Questioning, Enjoying; Blake Edwards; Returning to the Scene, Blake Edwards, Vol. 2.; and Authorship and Narrative in the Cinema. He is the editor of Pornography: Film and Culture;Defining Cinema; and Close Viewings: An Anthology of New Film Criticism and coeditor of The Searchers: Essays and Reflections on John Ford's Classic Western.


Janet Staiger is the William P. Hobby Centennial Professor of Communication in the Department of Radio-Film-Television, and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies (Emeritus) at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author and editor of ten books and dozens of essays on the Hollywood mode of production, the economic history and dynamics of the industry, its technology, poststructural and postfeminist/queer approaches to authorial studies, the historical reception of cinema and television programs, and cultural issues involving gender, sexuality, and race/ethnicity. Her books include Media Reception Studies;Perverse Spectators: The Practices of Film Reception; Blockbuster TV: Must-See Sitcoms in the Network Era; and Bad Women: Regulating Sexuality in Early American Cinema. She is the co-author of The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production.



Virginia Wright Wexman is Professor Emerita of English and Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her books include Creating the Couple: Love, Marriage, and Hollywood Performance; Roman Polanski; Jane Campion: Interviews; A History of Film, and the anthologies Film and Authorship, Letter from an Unknown Woman, and Women and Experimental Filmmaking. Her research has been sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for the Humanities.



Janice Welsch is Professor Emerita of English and Journalism at Western Illinois University. She co-edited Multiple Voices in Feminist Film Criticism with Diane Carson and Linda Dittmar and wrote Multicultural Films: A Reference Guide with Dr. J. Q. Adams. Her work on feminist film criticism was an outgrowth of her interest in the representation of women in film. In 1987 she became the first Director of Women’s Studies at WIU and served in that capacity until 1995.



Lucy Fischer is Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies as well as director of the Film Studies Program at The University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of Jacques Tati; Shot/Countershot: Film Tradition and Women's Cinema; Imitation of Life; Cinematernity: Film, Motherhood, Genre; Sunrise; and Designing Women: Art Deco, Cinema and the Female Form. She has also co-edited (with Marcia Landy) Stars: The Film Reader. She has published extensively on issues of film history, theory, and criticism in such journals as Screen, Sight and Sound, Camera Obscura, Wide Angle, Cinema Journal, Journal of Film and Video, Film Criticism, Women and Performance, Frauen und Film, and Film Quarterly. Her essays have been frequently anthologized in volumes of film history, criticism, and/or theory.



E. Ann Kaplan is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at Stony Brook University, where she also founded and directs the Humanities Institute. She has written many books and articles on topics in cultural studies, media, and women's studies, from diverse theoretical perspectives including psychoanalysis, feminism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism. She has given lectures all over the world and her work has been translated into six languages. Her many books include Trauma and Cinema: Cross-Cultural Explorations (co-edited with Ban Wang); Trauma Culture: The Politics of Terror and Loss in Media and Literature; Looking For the Other: Feminism, Film and the Imperial Gaze; Playing Dolly: Technocultural Formations, Fantasies and Fictions of Assisted Reproduction (co-edited with Susan Squier) and Feminism and Film.



Stephen Prince has taught film history, criticism and theory at Virginia Tech, where he is Professor of Cinema Studies, for 20 years. His research and publications focus on violence in motion pictures, on Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and Japanese cinema, on the American film industry, on American film during the 1980s, and on political cinema. The author of numerous essays and book chapters, his work has appeared in Film Quarterly, Cinema Journal,Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. His books include: Firestorm: American Film in the Age of Terrorism; American Cinema of the 1980s: Themes and Variations; Movies and Meaning: An Introduction to Film; Classical Film Violence: Designing and Regulating Brutality in Hollywood Cinema, 1930-1968; and The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa.



Patrice Petro is Professor of Film Studies, Vice Provost for International Education, and the Director of the Center for International Education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.She is the author of Joyless Streets: Women and Melodramatic Representation in Weimar Germany and Aftershocks of the New: Feminism and Film History, and editor or co-editor of ten books, including: Fugitive Images: From Photography to Video; Idols of Modernity: Movie Stars of the 1920s; and Teaching Film.



Anne Friedberg (1952-2009) was, at the time of her death, Chair of the Critical Studies Division in the School of Cinematic Arts at USC and President-Elect of SCMS. She had previously taught at the University of California – Irvine, where she was founding director of the Film and Video Center. In 2009 she was named an Academy Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her publications included Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern, and The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft, and she co-edited Close-Up 1927-1933: Cinema and Modernism.


Chris Holmlund is Arts and Sciences Excellence Professor at the University of Tennessee where she teaches film and French. She is the author of Impossible Bodies, editor of American Cinema of the 1990s, co-editor (with Justin Wyatt) of Contemporary American Independent Film and (with Cynthia Fuchs) of Between the Sheets, In the Streets: Queer, Lesbian, Gay Documentary. A fourth anthology, The Ultimate Stallone Reader: Sylvester Stallone as Star, Icon, Auteur, is forthcoming 2014. She has published numerous articles and essays, most recently on film industry, genre, stardom, and performance.



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