Mendi Obadike

Mendi Obadike (Associate Professor), the Coordinator of Pratt's Graduate Program in Media Studies, is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose work concerns the intersection of sound and language. She has published four books—Armor and Flesh (2004), Phonotype (2012)Four Electric Ghosts (2014), and Big House / Disclosure (2014)—and released three albums—The Sour Thunder: An Internet Opera (2004), Crosstalk: American Speech Music (2008), and Big House / Disclosure (2014). Her conceptual media artworks have been exhibited at The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Whitney Museum, Yale University, Electronic Arts Intermix, and the New York African Film Festival, among other institutions. Her awards include a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship in Race and Ethnicity at Princeton University, and a residency at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. She earned a B.A. in English from Spelman College and a Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University. 


Jonathan Beller (Professor) is one of the foremost theorists of the visual turn and the attention economy. He works on the history of cinema and the way in which the screen-image has altered all aspects of social life. These alterations range from the lived experiences of gender, sexuality, and race, to the socio-economic reorganization of peoples, governments and the environment. His research and pedagogy is undertaken with a commitment to those struggling for social justice in what he calls “the world-media system.” Books and edited volumes include The Cinematic Mode of Production: Attention Economy and the Society of the Spectacle; Acquiring Eyes: Philippine Visuality, Nationalist Struggle, and the World-Media System; and Feminist Media Theory (a special issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online). His current book projects are entitled The Rain of Images and Computational Capital. Beller also serves on the Editorial Collective of the internationally recognized journal Social Text. He teaches Mediologies I and a variety of electives.


Jayna Brown's areas of knowledge and interest include black expressive cultures, film, queer of color critique, anarchism, materialism and science fiction. Her first book, Babylon Girls: Black Women Performers and the Shaping of the Modern (Duke University Press, 2008) won Best Book awards from both the American Society for Theatre Research and the Theater Library Association. She has also published on African American race film and popular performance in various journals including The Journal of Popular Music Studies, GLQ, Social Text, and Women and Performance. Her new book, Black Utopias: Speculative Life and the Music of Other Worlds (Duke University Press, forthcoming) traces black radical utopian practice and performance, from the psychic travels of Sojourner Truth to the cosmic transmissions of Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra.

Minh-Ha Pham

Minh-Ha T. Pham (Associate Professor) is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research examines how relations of race, gender, and capitalism shape and are reshaped by social media practices and platforms. Her writings on the subject appear in a wide range of scholarly and mainstream publications including Social TextAmerican QuarterlyJacobin, and The Atlantic. She is also the author of Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet: Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging (Duke University Press 2015). The book provides a close analysis of the online work practices and working conditions of elite Asian fashion bloggers in order to demonstrate how this new digital labor formation both continues and transforms the specific gendered history of Asian fashion work and Asian labor histories more broadly. 

Currently, she is working on two book projects. The first is a book, tentatively titled Social Legality: Mediating Race, Morality, and Piracy, that investigates how social media and not the law constructs relations of race, intellectual property, and fashion design. The second is a co-edited collection of essays that intends to expand the interdisciplinary scope and reach of the subfield of race and intellectual property beyond the legal academy. 

Some of the courses she’s taught at Pratt include “Media Encounters”; “Media Studies Graduate Workshop”; “Race, Gender, and the Internet”; “Bodies, Technology, and Visuality”; “The Cultural Politics of Copyright”; and “Fashion and Power.”

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Ethan Spigland

Ethan Spigland is a Professor in the Humanities and Media Studies Department at Pratt Institute. He received an MFA from the Graduate Film Program at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and a Maitrîse in Philosophy from the University of Paris VIII under the supervision of Gilles Deleuze and Jean-François Lyotard.

Ethan is also an award-winning screenwriter, filmmaker, visual artist, critic, and curator. He has written and directed numerous films including the feature, The Archive, currently in postproduction. At present, he is working on a documentary about Lafcadio Hearn for Faliro House Productions (The LobsterListen Up Philip). He completed two short films in collaboration with renowned architect Steven Holl. One of these, Luminosity Porosity, formed part of an installation at the Gallery Ma in Tokyo, Japan. His ongoing project, Elevator Moods, was featured in the Sundance Film Festival and South By Southwest and won the prestigious Webby Award in the Broadband Category. His short film, The Strange Case of Balthazar Hyppolite, won the Gold Medal in the Student Academy Awards and was shortlisted for an Oscar. He collaborated with Malcolm McLaren on several short films, and on the video installation, Shallow, which opened at the I-20 Gallery in New York and was featured in Art Basel. He writes regularly on film and media for The Brooklyn RailFilm Comment, and many other publications. He is a contributor to the forthcoming book Reading With Jean-Luc Godard on Caboose Press and was selected to be a fellow at the 53rd New York Film Festival Artist Academy.