about

I am an Assistant Professor of English and Film & Media Studies at Amherst College. From 2011-2015, I was Assistant Professor of Culture and Media in Eugene Lang College at the New School, in New York City. My research and teaching focus on questions of documentary, voice, and humanitarianism, and more broadly deal with feminist and postcolonial media, critical theory, and cultural studies. I also serve on the board of trustees of the Flaherty Seminar, the longest continuously running annual film event devoted to creative non-fiction.

My first book, Immediations: The Humanitarian Impulse in Documentary (2017, available from Duke University Press) examines the co-evolution of the documentary and humanitarian impulses in global media interventions that aim to “give a voice to the voiceless.” In 2013-14 this project was supported by a Copeland Fellowship at Amherst College, where I was in residence as a Postdoctoral Fellow participating in a research colloquium on “Catastrophe and the Catastrophic.” Condensed versions of two of the chapters from Immediations have been published in Camera Obscura as “Immaterial Child Labor: Media Advocacy, Autoethnography, and the case of Born into Brothels and in differences as “Humane-itarian Interventions.”

I have begun work on a second book project, tentatively titled The Skin of the Voice: Documentary Acousmatics. This project draws on critical theories of sound, voice, and music to develop an interdisciplinary approach to the disembodied voice in documentary, focusing on the relationship between the audible evidence of vocal difference, the politics of listening, and documentary’s reality effects. My filmography for this project includes the work of contemporary feminist practitioners who work at the boundary of documentary and experimental film, including Trinh T. Minh-ha, Leslie Thornton, Sonali Gulati, Sandra Kogut, Cauleen Smith, Anja Salomonowitz, Gunvor Nelson, Mounira Al Solh, Wu Tsang, and Katarina Zdjelar. Publications related to this project include “In Defense of Voicelessness: The Matter of the Voice and the Films of Leslie Thornton” in Feminist Media Histories, and “The Skin of the Voice: Acousmatic Realities, Documentary Illusions” (under review as part of the anthology Sound Objects co-edited by Rey Chow and James Steintrager). I am also co-editor, with Genevieve Yue of a forthcoming special issue of the journal Discourse on the topic of “Audibilities: Voice and Listening in Documentary” that is related to this second book.

I hold a Ph.D in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University, where my dissertation, ‘Automatic Ethnography: Otherness, Indexicality, and Humanitarian Visual Media’, was awarded the Marie J. Langlois Outstanding Dissertation Prize in 2012.

My work has been published in a number of scholarly journals, anthologies, and magazines, including World Picture, Feminist Media Histories, Film Quarterly, Camera Obscura, differences, South Asian Popular Culture, Interventions, Parallax, The Oxford Handbook of Postcolonial Studies, The Sarai Reader, and Shoppinghour Magazine. I am also a member of The Dark Room, an East Coast-based research group devoted to the study of visual culture and race.