Photo on 10-31-14 at 11.50 AM #6

Film and Media Theory and History, Early Cinema, German Cinema, Film and Science, Aesthetic and Critical Theory

I have studied Film, German Literature  and Philosophy in Kiel, Berlin, Seattle and Chicago and received my Ph.D. degree in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago in 2011. Since then, I have been Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at UNC. My research focuses on the history of film theory, intersections of film, science and philosophy, and the place of the moving image within aesthetic theory. As a consequence, I am interested in a variety of genres, styles, and periods, such as 1920s cinema, melodrama, the global new wave cinemas, and contemporary global art cinema. I have written essays on Russian montage cinema, German abstract cinema, the interrelation of German biology and film theory in the 1920s, the question of mood and coldness in melodrama, French film theory and evolution, and contemporary German cinema.

My monograph Cinematic Vitalism: Film Theory and the Question of Life (Amsterdam University Press, Fall 2017)  engages with the role of vitalist conceptions of life in German and French aesthetic theory, philosophy, and theory of biology for film theory and practice from the 1910s-60s. My new project Mood, Medium, Milieu engages with mood, atmosphere, resonance, and  attunement as aesthetic phenomena across the history of German aesthetic theory and film theory. By means of close readings of films from early cinema to contemporary global cinema, I seek to investigate how, and what, mood (Stimmung) mediates, and how mood and mediation express concepts of milieu and nature. 

My teaching interests span across film history and include undergraduate lecture courses and seminars on the history of global cinema, Weimar cinema, melodrama, and contemporary German and Austrian cinema. My classes often combine film, literature, philosophy and theory.  On the graduate level, I have taught seminars on  Frankfurt School, Film, and Film Theory; Man Animal Cinema; Form and Experience: Film and the Melodramatic; and Film and the Aesthetics of Stimmung. Additionally, I teach upper-level language courses, including Introduction to German Literature.

CV_Pollmann_August2016