Katherine Groo sits in the theater.

Research area: My main areas of research include film history, historiography, and archive studies. Basically, I am interested in how film scholars write and think about film history, in the particular ways that film artifacts mediate history, and in the role that archives play in both preserving and erasing film history. I also am deeply interested in the traces of 19th-century historical thought that continue to inform contemporary film and media studies. My first book, Bad Film Histories: Ethnography and the Early Archive, moves across anthropology, historical studies, literary theory, and film and media studies to make the case for new approaches to the historical study of film. More recently, I have been working on a second book project, tentatively titled Images at the End of the World, which considers the historical expressions of contemporary images—and questions the lines we have tended to draw between analog and digital artifacts. I also am editing a special issue of Feminist Media Histories, which will focus on the role that feminist media historians have played in challenging historiographic conventions and developing a range of experimental, resistant, and groundbreaking methods in the field.

My Lafayette journey: I came to Lafayette after teaching for several years at a large research university in Scotland. I loved living in Scotland, but I wanted to find an institution that really valued undergraduate education and offered the kind of learning environment that I had benefited from as a student myself—small classes, one-on-one mentorship, adventurous pedagogy. At Lafayette, I have found a community of colleagues deeply committed to undergraduate education and profoundly invested in the success and well-being of their students. I also feel really lucky to be a part of the Film and Media Studies program. Our students are a joy to teach. They are risk takers, collaborators, deep thinkers, and makers with their eyes on the world around them. And I just could not ask for better colleagues than the ones I work with down the hill on the Arts Campus. Well before I arrived, they built a program based on principles of equity, inclusion, and mutual respect. I feel very grateful to be able to work and teach with them. It’s a special place.

What I will be teaching in the fall: Introduction to Film and Media Studies, Media Theory, and a new course called Celluloid Ghosts, which will not only introduce students to the strange and experimental first decades of film history, but also explore how the early and silent eras of cinema continue to influence contemporary moving images. I am excited to move between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ with students next semester!

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