The Silence of Silent Film

Sadly, one of my professors at the University of Chicago, pioneering silent-film theorist Miriam Hansen, has passed away, far, far too young. Her work proposes a new take on cinema and theories of modernity and mass culture, or what she calls the notion of “vernacular modernism.”

Last year, she taught a PhD seminar on the “fate of cinema in the allegedly ‘post-cinematic’ age.” Pretty heady, but totally fascinating, stuff.

Writes Hansen, “From Hollywood musicals to museum shops, from advertising to the fringes of the popular music scene, the icons of high modernism have been disseminated and recycled, disfigured and reinscribed.”

Here’s one of her lectures (via U of C’s Film Studies Center).


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