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. 

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.

Cara Dickason’s research explores the intersection of surveillance, spectatorship, and gender in contemporary television and media. Her work in this area is forthcoming in two edited collections and has been presented at Console-ing Passions and the national Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference. She has previously 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.

Ilana Emmett's research interests include television on the web and, in particular, on YouTube; soap operas and seriality; binge watching; and sound on television. She received her MA from the Department of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick and her BA in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. She also worked in television and film production, with a focus on reality television and television for the web.

Samantha Freeman’s research focuses on representational issues of race and gender in contemporary television and film. Some of her research interests include genre, adaptation, and feminist film theory. She received her BA in Film and Media from the University of California Berkeley and a MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern.

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 contemporary LGBTQ and feminist television and new media. She is particularly interested in media advocacy as well as media content produced and consumed by LGBTQ people, in relation to the politics and intersectionalities of race, gender, and sexuality. She recently presented her work at a multidisciplinary symposium on Transparent at the University of Rochester. She holds an MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern University and a BA in Women’s and Gender studies and Anthropology from Columbia University. 

Reem Hilu’s research interests include the cultural history of video games and other interactive media. She has also worked on educational computer games and alternate reality and transmedia games. Reem has presented her work at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. She received a BA in Cinema Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern University.

Jelena Jelušić’s interests include issues surrounding identity construction and representation, especially as they pertain to gender and nation, television history and theory, and new media theory. Using a comparative approach, her research primarily focuses on Eastern European media in the postsocialist era in the context of corresponding global trends, particularly reality TV and popular music. Jelena received her BA in Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature with honors in both concentrations from Brown University, and her MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern University.

Peter Kragh Jensen’s interests include online satire, contemporary Danish comedy 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 at the Cultural Studies Association annual conference and his article Clever Mashups was published in Continuum. 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.

Pamela Krayenbuhl's dissertation examines the intersection of dance cultures and commercial film and television cultures in midcentury America, with a particular focus on issues of race and masculinity.  She has presented her work at the annual conferences of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the Society of Dance History Scholars/Congress of Research on Dance.  She holds a dual BA in Rhetoric and Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of California, Berkeley as well as an MA in Screen Cultures and an Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory from Northwestern.

Evelyn Kreutzer holds an M.A. in Screen Cultures from Northwestern University and a B.A. in American Studies and German Literature from the Freie Universität Berlin. She has interned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and worked at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Berlin. Her research focuses on issues of class and taste in representations of classical music in film and television. Her further interests include sound studies, museum studies and intermedia art. 

Laura LaPlaca researches and writes about radio and television broadcasting, with particular emphasis on the development of the sitcom genre. Her dissertation, “Show Rooms: Domestic Sitcom Architecture 1929-1959,” considers sitcom set design as a vital force in the cultural history of American housing during the Depression years and into the post-World War II era. Laura is also a media archivist who has designed and implemented a variety of preservation projects at The Library of Congress, The Paley Center for Media, The Warner Brothers Archives, and other institutions. She is currently managing the Northwestern University Radio Archive Project and is on the board of the Library of Congress Radio Preservation Task Force. Her chapter, "Radio Sitcoms: History and Preservation," is forthcoming in the Blackwell Companion to the History of Broadcasting, edited by Aniko Bodroghkozy. She has published and presented on broadcast archives, radio comedy, media fandom, and television aesthetics, and has been the recipient of grants to support archival research on the early history of the sitcom genre. She holds a BA in Art History and English Literature from Pepperdine University (2010) and an MA in Screen Cultures from Northwestern University (2012).

Carter Moulton researches movie audiences, cinemagoing, media industries, and emerging technologies in film exhibition. He has 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. His research has appeared in CineAction, The New Review of Film & Television Studies, and Media Fields Journal.

Jason Nebergall studies the intersection of the cinematic avant-garde, popular culture, race, and taste hierarchies. His masters' thesis, "Ernie Kovacs’ Silent Show: Performative Identities in Othered Masculinity," explores those issues in the context of European immigrant communities in the United States after World War II. 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.

Whitney Pow’s interests include: race, gender, sexuality, and power and oppression in video games. She is particularly interested in racial and sexual minorities as both producers and consumers of new media, and is fascinated by the closing gap between the two roles. Whitney graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan with concentrations in English, Film and Art History. She has worked as a contributing editor and writer for Autostraddle, the world's most popular independently owned website for queer women, which was the winner of the 2012 Bloggie Award for Blog of the Year and 2013 GLAAD award nominee for Outstanding Blog. Whitney is the in-house graphic designer for Opium Magazine's Literary Death Match, an international reading series with contestants including Michael C. Hall, Tig Notaro and Pulitzer Prize winners Jeffrey Eugenides and Richard Russo. Whitney is also a regular panelist, staff member and workshop leader for Autostraddle's bi-annual conference, Autostraddle Camp (A-Camp). You can 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.