Jonathan Beller

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, and is the current director of The Graduate Program in Media Studies. He teaches Mediologies I and a variety of electives.

Ira Livingston

Ira Livingston is Professor of HMS and director of Poetics Lab at Pratt. He is known for his exploration of past and potential future co-evolutions of cultural and scientific theory, especially via the study of emergence, complexity and systems.  His inclination to situate this exploration under the heading of an expansive conception of poetics is declared in the title of his current book-in-progress, Poetics as a Theory of Everything. Excerpts from Ira's current and recent work (scholarship and visual art) can be found here.

Ira is the author of three books—Where God Comes From: Reflections on Science, Systems and the Sublime (Zer0 Books, 2012), Between Science and Literature: An Introduction to Autopoetics (U. of Illinois Press, 2005), and Arrow of Chaos: Romanticism and Postmodernity (U. of Minnesota Press, 1997)—and co-editor of two collected volumes, Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader (with Maria Damon; U. of Illinois Press; 2007) and Posthuman Bodies (with Judith Halberstam; Indiana U. Press, 1995). His former institutional incarnations include Chair of HMS at Pratt (2007–13), and founder and director of Stony Brook University's Cultural Studies graduate program (2010–2013). His Ph.D. is in English from Stanford University.

Negar Mottahedeh

Negar Mottahedeh (Visiting Professor) is a cultural critic and film theorist specializing in interdisciplinary and feminist contributions to the fields of Middle Eastern Studies and Film Studies. She is known for her work on Iranian Cinema, but has also published on the history of reform, revolution and the uses of social media in protest. Her new book #iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online life (Stanford University Press), about one such social media mobilization, will be published this spring. #iranelection follows the protest movement around Iran's fraudulent presidential election in 2009, to investigate how emerging social media platforms developed international solidarity. Just as the world turned to social media platforms to understand the events on the ground, social media platforms adapted and developed to accommodate this global activism. The 2009 protests in Iran were the first revolts to be catapulted onto the global stage by social media, just as the 1979 Iranian Revolution was agitated by cassette tapes. #iranelection reveals the new online ecology of social protest and offers a prehistory, of sorts, to the uses of hashtags and trending topics, of selfies and avatar activism, citizen journalism, and YouTube mashups.

Mendi Obadike

Mendi Obadike (Assistant Professor) 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. 

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 Institiute. 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.

Christopher Vitale

Christopher Vitale (Associate Professor) works at the intersection of contemporary philosophy and a variety of fields: film/film theory, media/visual studies, psychoanalysis, gender/sexuality studies and issues of race, comparative post/modernisms, artificial intelligence and neuroscience, Buddhist studies, non-binary "soft" computing, and complex systems science. These projects intertwine by means of his primary research project to develop a relational philosophy of networks. He is the author of Networkologies: A Philosophy of Networks for a Hyperconnected Age - A Manifesto (Zer0 Books, 2014), Networlds: A Relational Philosophy of Networks of Experience (Zer0 Books, early 2017), and The Networked Mind: Artificial Intelligence, "Soft"- Computing, and The Futures of Philosophy (in progress, projected 2018). He is also co-translating from Spanish a book on networks by Colombian philosopher of mathematics Fernando Zalamea, and co-writing a "deconstructive" introduction to Buddhist Studies with Tyler Phan of University College, London. He has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (NYU '07), a BA in philosophy, spent two years training to be a psychoanalytic therapist, a summer in residence at the Sante Fe Institute for Complex Systems Science, and has done extensive fieldwork with Buddhist monks in Kathmandu, Nepal. A frequent blogger, his writings on a variety of topics can be found at Recent courses:  "Psychoanalysis and Film," "Gilles Deleuze's Philosophy of Cinema," "Networks, Media, and Beyond," "Queer Studies, Media Theory, and Social Justice," "Cutting Edge Cinema," "Mediologies II: Intro to Graduate Media Theory" (co-taught with Ethan Spigland).