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L. Jeffrey Selznick School Masters Faculty

University of Rochester Faculty

Joanne Bernardi, Professor of Japanese
Bernardi's research and teaching interests draw on her background in photography, film and media, and East Asian studies: Japanese popular culture; Japanese and Asian cinema; animation; visual culture and its relation to media of the past; film history, culture, and historiography; film and media archiving and preservation, early and silent cinema; orphan and "lost" film; nuclear history and the visual image. Some of her recent courses include: Atomic Creatures: Godzilla; Tourist Japan; History of Japanese Cinema; Film as Object; Anime: Japanese Animation; as well as Mobsters, Monsters, and Swords.

Joel Burges, Associate Professor of English and Director, Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies
Burges is currently working on two book projects, a manuscript titled Turning Back the Clock: Technological Obsolescence and Historical Time in Contemporary Culture and, as co-editor with Amy J. Elias, a collection entitled Contemporalities: Keywords for the Present. Working at the intersection of post-1945 cultural studies, critical theory, and media studies in these projects, Burges is rethinking ideas about time and history that have unduly dominated thought for the past thirty years; he is interested in how that which we have rejected as obsolete, outdated, and old-fashioned figures centrally in the works of post-1980 novelists and filmmakers as a repository for alternative modernities and alternative temporalities, such that the past supersedes the future as the temporal horizon of art and politics alike in their work. Burges is also working on a book titled Literature after TV, which explores the intersection of the literary and the televisual both before and after 1945.

Morris Eaves, Professor of English
He teaches courses on British Romanticism, media studies, media history, editorial theory and practice. Morris Eaves's research has been principally concerned with literature and the visual arts and with the cultural contexts of British Romanticism, especially the interlocking histories of technology and commerce. His interests in multimedia editing, media history, and British Romanticism are combined in his work as a project director and editor of The William Blake Archive, the online digital edition of Blake's literary and artistic work, sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (University of Virginia) and the Library of Congress.

Sarah L. Higley, Professor of English
She teaches courses on medieval vernacular languages and literature of Northern Europe, film and media studies, fiction. Higley's primary interests lie in northern medieval literatures with an early emphasis on language, linguistics, and poetic structure. Her later work in fantasy and science fiction led her to explore medieval and modern notions of magic, machinery, monstrosity, and artifice. Her recent publications investigate the early origins of the werewolf, the medieval concept of the "robot," and manifestations throughout time of "simulacra." Lately, Higley has become interested in miniatures and artificial languages.

June Hwang, Associate Professor of German
Her research and teaching interests include: early twentieth-century literature, film and culture; German Jewish topics; urban spaces; questions of modernity; film theory; critical theory. Some recent courses Hwang has taught include: The Urban Imagination, Strangers in a Strange Land: German Jews, On the Move: Travelers, Wanderers, and Explorers. Her current work explores how discourses of wandering, urban alienation, and the stranger intersect in the figure of the German Jewish intellectual.

John Michael, Professor in English, and Visual and Cultural Studies
His research interests include: 19th- and 20th-century American literature; critical theory, and cultural studies; problematics of national identities in American literature and culture; contemporary relations between academic intellectuals and democratic politics; the complex interrelations between the reading of literature; the demands of ethics, and the problems of historical knowledge. His books include: Identity and the Failure of America from Thomas Jefferson to the War on Terror, Anxious Intellects: Academic Professionals, Public Intellectuals, and Enlightenment Values and Emerson and Skepticism: The Cipher of the World.

Jason Middleton, Associate Professor of English, and Visual and Cultural Studies
He teaches courses in film studies; documentary film and video; theory and practice of experimental film and video; Hollywood genres, including comedy and horror. Some recent courses Middleton has taught include: Issues in Film: Documentary, Mock Documentary, Reality TV; Introductory Video and Sound Art. Middleton's research interests currently include the revision for publication of his manuscript, titled Documentary/Genre. The project brings together scholarship in the areas of documentary and genre studies, examining the under-theorized affective and bodily dimensions of documentary spectatorship. He is also an award-winning experimental filmmaker, whose work has screened at a variety of festivals and other venues in the U.S. and internationally, as well as on public and satellite television.

Raúl Rodríguez-Hernández, Associate Professor of Spanish
He has published extensively on Hispanic literatures and cultures, including postmodern fiction, cinema, alterity and art, and European philosophical traditions in Latin American texts. The aesthetic representation of the "past"—how writers and artists incorporate the cultural remains of the past millennium—are central to his research. His book Mexico's Ruins: Juan García Ponce and the Writing of Mexican Modernity was published in 2007. He is currently writing a book on Latin American architecture.

James Rosenow, Assistant Professor, Department of English
She studies early film history and the development of cinematic languages. Her publications include essays in the volumes A Global History of Amateur Film Cultures (Indiana University Press) and I Am Already Dead: Essays on The CW’s and Vertigo’s iZombie (McFarland Publishers).

Claudia Schaefer, Professor of Spanish
Her research and teaching interests encompass all aspects of cultural production in Latin America and Spain of the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She has published five books and numerous articles in these areas. Her latest book is a biography of Frida Kahlo (Greenwood Press, 2008). She is currently writing on the Mexican film director Arturo Ripstein, and is completing a volume on anarchism and utopian thought.

Reinhild Steingröver, Chair of the Humanities department and Professor of German and Film at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester
Steingröver is the author of Last Features: East German Cinema’s Lost Generation (2014), which appeared in German translation as Spätvorstellung: Die chancenlose Generation der DEFA in December 2014. She also authored a monograph on Thomas Bernhard (2000) and co-edited with Randall Halle the volume After the Avant-garde: Engagements with Contemporary German and Austrian Experimental Film (2008), as well as the anthology Not So Plain as Black and White: Afro-German Culture and History, 1890–2000 (with Patricia Mazon, 2005), as well as numerous articles. Steingröver has curated silent film/live music programs for the George Eastman Museum, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Cinematheque Berlin. In 2009, she co-curated with the DEFA Film Library at UMASS Amherst the film festival Wendeflicks: Last Films from East Germany in Los Angeles.

Allen C. Topolski, Associate Professor of Art
His research and studio practices focus on production that incorporates found materials and a variety of processes to explore nostalgia and memory in technologies of domesticity and convenience. Some recent courses Topolski has taught include: Markings, Methods and Materials; Visual Production; and 3D: (Re)Collecting the Object.

Sharon Willis, Professor of Art History and Visual and Cultural Studies
Her research interests include: feminist theory, film theory and visual analysis, cultural studies, and modern French literature and literary theory. Her publications include: Marguerite Duras: Writing on the Body (1986), Male Trouble, co-editor, with Constance Penley (1993), High Contrast: Race and Gender in Contemporary Cinema. Her current book project is Islands in the Sun: The Civil Rights Movement and Its Legacies in Film 1949-2003. Some recent courses Willis has taught are The Films of Jean-Luc Godard and Film History: 1929-1959.

George Eastman Museum Staff

Peter Bagrov, Senior Curator
Peter Bagrov joined the Moving Image Department in 2019. He started his career in Russia as a film historian. In 2011 he received his PhD from the Institute for Cinema Studies in Moscow. Since 2005 he has been teaching film courses at various universities, curating retrospectives, giving talks and publishing articles on a variety of film-related subjects. In 2013-2017 he was the Senior Curator at Gosfilmofond of Russia, the Russian state film archive. In 2013-2019 he served as the artistic director of the archival film festival “Belye Stolby.” He has been serving on the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) in 2017-2018 and since 2021, in 2023 he was elected president of FIAF.

Alyssa Brault, Manager of the Dryden Theatre
A Rochester native, Alyssa holds a BS in Mass Communications with a Concentration in Production from The State University of New York at Oneonta. The following year after graduation, she moved to Seoul, South Korea to work abroad for a year as an English teacher. Upon arrival back to the States, she fulfilled the role of Theatre Manager in the fall of 2022. Alyssa currently carries out a multitude of tasks behind the scenes, as well as in the public eye. From day to day operations, organizing incoming and outgoing distribution prints, reporting box office sales, analyzing and submitting invoices, working with theater
staff to optimize the experience for the audience, and more, she enjoys the variety of job responsibilities and the magic that is the Dryden.

Graham Brown, Preservation Officer
Graham was raised in Westhampton Beach, NY, and holds a BA in Film Studies from Wesleyan University. From 2018 to 2019, he worked at Negativeland Motion Picture Laboratory in Ridgewood, NY, where he specialized in processing and scanning small gauge film. He is a 2021 graduate of The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation and joined the George Eastman Museum’s preservation team in September 2021 after completing his fellowship at the museum’s Film Preservation Services digital lab.

Jared Case, Curator of Film Exhibitions
A 2002 graduate of The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, Jared curates the nightly program of film exhibitions in the Dryden Theatre, oversees daily operations of the theatre, and acts as a department liaison for moving image-related exhibitions and film programming related to current exhibitions. He has appeared on Turner Classic Movies and The History Channel and has spoken at festivals and conferences around the country.

Chris Crouse, Preservation Officer
Chris is a 2019 graduate of The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, and he joined the museum as a Preservation Officer in 2021. He previously worked as a projectionist at a number of archives and museums including The Museum of Modern Art and Anthology Film Archives. In 2016 he helped found The Metrograph, a new cinema in Manhattan, as their Technical Director. Chris is originally from the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York.

Erica Jones, Project Film Specialist
Erica received her PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Riverside in 2017. Her PhD dissertation focused on South Indian Classical (Karnatic) music and the gendered relationships of the percussionist within binary traditions of masculinity and femininity. Her academic research and teaching experience focused on the intersectionality between music and media scholarship exploring concepts of Indian culture and globalization. She became interested in applying her knowledge of South Asian cinema to a career as a film and media archivist, so completed the film preservation program at The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in 2020. Currently she is a Project Film Specialist processing the extensive South Asian cinema collections so they are identified, inspected, and made available for future access.

Nancy Kauffman, Archivist, Stills, Posters, and Paper Collection
Nancy holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arizona State University and a Master's in Library Science from Emporia State University. She worked as a paralegal for sixteen years in Portland, Oregon, before attending The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in 2004-2005. Nancy was hired as a curatorial assistant in the Moving Image Department in 2006. In 2007, she was promoted to archivist of the Stills, Posters and Paper Collections, where she manages, catalogs, and provides access to a collection of more than one million
objects and over 600 linear feet of manuscripts and research materials. As faculty of the Selznick School, she teaches collection management and cataloging.

Anthony L'Abbate, Preservation Mannager
Anthony L'Abbate is a 1999 graduate of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, after graduation he worked for two years at the Cinema Arts Laboratory, in Angels, Pennsylvania, as their contact printer. He returned to the George Eastman Museum in the fall of 2001 as the stills archivist. Since March 2007, he has worked in preservation.

Sophia Lorent, Assistant Archivist, Stills, Posters and Paper Collections 
Sophia Lorent is a native of Wisconsin, where they received their BA in History at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in 2012. As an undergraduate, they worked for the UW-L Oral History Department digitizing oral histories as well as completed an internship at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. After moving to Rochester, Sophia graduated from The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in 2014, and completed their MA at the University of Rochester in 2015. They joined the staff of the Moving Image Department in 2015 as Curatorial Assistant and managed research and access requests as well as assisted with cataloging the department’s collections. In January 2022, Sophia became the Assistant Archivist, Stills, Posters and Paper Collections (SPP), where they now assist with managing and cataloging the many objects in the SPP collections and continue to provide research and access assistance.

Leticia Losey, Assistant Collection Manager – Special Projects
Leticia was raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and received her BA in Film Production from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2020. During her time in college, she interned with the rare books and special collections department archiving the university's small gauge films. She also worked with the International Film Series at said university to watch films for free and to have fun while getting paid. Leticia is a recent graduate from The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, class of 2022, and joined the George Eastman Museum’s collection management team in August.

Kirk McDowell, Assistant Collection Manager
Kirk was born and raised in Mound, Minnesota, and received a BA in Film from the University of Wisconsin in 2017. After completing The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in 2018 and the associated master’s program in 2019, he spent two years working in the nitrate vaults and copyright processing unit of the Library of Congress’ National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, VA. He returned to Rochester to join the George Eastman Museum’s collection management team in 2021.

Gordon Nelson, Assistant Curator, Digital Collection
Gordon holds a BFA in Cinema from Edinboro University and he is a 2015 graduate of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation. His professional background includes working as a filmmaker, educator and curator. His films have been screened at many venues, including MoMA and Anthology Film Archive. He has taught film and video courses at MassArt, Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the University of Rochester. He programmed 35mm film screenings for the Carnegie Museum of Art and he helped establish and operate Jefferson Presents, a Pittsburgh-based experimental microcinema collective active from 2000-09.

Beth Rennie, Head of Information, Research and Access
Beth joins the museum from Ontario Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honors degree in Classics and Music from Queen’s University and a Masters of Information (Library Science/Archiving) with a special focus on special collections from the University of Toronto. An internship with the film archivist at TIFF led her to join The L. Jeffrey Selznick School class of 2008-2009. After graduation she worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and has spent the last 7 years working in client care and information management with the Canadian Armed Forces. Beth joined the Moving Image Department in 2022 where she works with researcher inquiries, loan and footage requests, and database management and cataloging.

Sheryl Smith, Chief Projectionist
Sheryl Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is a 2018 graduate of The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation. Immediately following graduation Sheryl began working as projectionist at the Dryden Theatre. She has also worked as a projectionist at The Little Theatre and KODAK Center. In 2019 Sheryl was promoted to Dryden Theatre Manager and in 2022 promoted to Dryden Theatre Chief Projectionist. Her prior career includes 23 years as an advertising producer/director for Time Warner Media.

Deborah Stoiber, Collection Manager
Deborah Stoiber received her BA in economics from California State University, Fresno. After graduating from The L. Jeffrey Selznick School in 1998, she worked at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, assessing their 16mm collection. Returning to Rochester, she was the assistant vault manager of the William K. Everson Collection at the George Eastman Museum, from 1998 to 2000 and the nitrate vault manager of the Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center at the museum from 2000 to 2010. In 2010, she became the collection manager of the Moving Image Department’s film and video collection, holdings of more than 100,000 reels in nitrate and safety stock. As an instructor in the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, she teaches the identification, storage, and inspection of motion picture film.

Jeffrey Stoiber, Assistant Curator, The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation
Jeff Stoiber has both his BA in Media Studies (1993) and his Masters of Library Science (1997) from the State University of New York at Buffalo, his hometown. While completing his MLS he interned at both the American Film Institute and the George Eastman Museum. The Eastman Museum internship led to his employment as the Administrator of the Selznick School a position he has held since 1997.

Patrick Tiernan, Associate Collection Manager
Patrick is the associate collection manager in the Moving Image Department. He is a Rochester native and received a BS in English with a minor in Film Studies from SUNY College at Brockport. He has worked as a projectionist in Rochester for over 10 years.

Caroline Yeager, Associate Curator, Administration
Caroline Yeager has been a staff member since 1998, when she graduated from The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation.  She has 25 years of experience in performing arts, an MFA from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, and a BS from SUNY Brockport, NY.  As associate curator, she has overseen grant writing and administration to support the department’s collections; developed exhibitions for public access; taught curatorial management in the Selznick School; been an Assistant Director of the Nitrate Picture Show and the Responsible Officer for the museum’s Exchange Visitor Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. She is a member of AMIA and SEAPAVAA and co-chaired AMIA’s Advocacy Committee for eight years. After 25 years in the MID, she is retiring from her formal administrative duties and will work on research into the department’s historical records.

Joshua Yocum, Preservation Officer
Josh was raised in Rocky Hill, CT and received his BA in Film and Philosophy from Clark University. He graduated from The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in 2014 and completed the MA portion of the program in 2015. Since graduating, Josh has worked at Wesleyan University's Davison Art Center and Northwestern University Library's Repository and Digital Curation Department where his work focused on digitization and digital preservation. Josh joined the Museum as a Preservation Officer in 2022.