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College of Arts & Sciences
Film and Media Studies Program


Faculty & Staff Directory

Susan Courtney

Professor
Film and Media Studies Program
University of South Carolina

Email: sccourtn@mailbox.sc.edu
Office: 505 Humanities Office Building
Phone Number: (803) 777-3265

Background 

  • Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley

Research 

My research investigates historical relationships between popular conceptions of identity (especially race, gender, region, and nation) and pervasive forms of moving image culture. My first book, Hollywood Fantasies of Miscegenation: Spectacular Narratives of Gender and Race, 1903-1967 (Princeton UP), considered popular U.S. cinema in relation to a much larger cultural and legal history of racial formation in the United States. My most recent book, Split Screen Nation: Moving Images of the American West and South (Oxford UP), focuses on the long 1950s to examine a more expansive archive of screen history, one that includes Hollywood cinema, television, educational and corporate films, home movies, and military and civil defense films. Considering such materials in the context of the Cold War and the civil rights struggle, Split Screen Nation argues that conflicted sentiments about the nation’s most paradoxical narratives—e.g., “land of the free”/land of slavery, conquest, and segregation—were mediated by an implicit, and at times explicit, opposition between the screen West and the screen South. This opposition, the book shows, was unstable, dynamic, and dramatically shifting in the postwar era, and in ways that have marked popular ways of knowing and feeling the U.S. ever since.

Teaching 

  • Introduction to Film and Media Studies
  • Film and Media History
  • Film Genres (e.g., the musical, the Western)
  • The South on Screen
  • Mediating Ferguson, U.S.A.: 1915 to present
  • Race and Media Studies

Areas of Specialization 

  • U.S. screen cultures (from Hollywood to home movies)
  • Cultural formations of race, gender, region & nation
  • American studies
  • Film and U.S. history