Visual Arts Past Faculty

Michael Gillespie

Michael Gillespie headshot

Film historian and theorist Michael B. Gillespie


Dr. Michael B. Gillespie is a film theorist and historian with an interest in black visual and expressive culture, film theory, genre, visual historiography, global cinema, adaptation theory, popular music studies, and contemporary art. His new soon-to-be released book, Film Blackness: American Cinema and the Idea of Black Film (Duke University Press, 2016) frames black film alongside literature, music, art, photography, and new media, treating it as an interdisciplinary form that enacts black visual and expressive culture. The book shifts the ways we think about black film, treating it not as a category, genre, or strictly a representation of the black experience but as a visual negotiation between film as art and the discursivity of race.

Dr. Gillespie has published numerous essays and book chapters including “Grace and Grind: Notes on the Work of Kevin Jerome Everson” - How to Remain Human  (Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, 2015) and “Reckless Eyeballing: Coonskin, Film Blackness, and the Racial Grotesque,” - Contemporary Black American Cinema: Race, Gender and Sexuality at the Movies. ed. Mia Mask (Routledge, 2012). Dr. Gillespie has presented over 30 talks and lectures and delivered over 22 academic papers at conferences in national and international venues. He has organized numerous academic panels on black visual and expressive culture for meetings of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, American Studies Association, and Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present. His most recent research project is entitled Music of My Mind: Blackness and Sonic Visuality.

Dr. Gillespie begins teaching at Princeton in Fall 2016.  He is currently Associate Professor of Film at The City College of New York, holding a joint appointment in the Department of Media and Communication Arts and the Black Studies Program. From 2009 to 2015 he was Assistant Professor of Film at Ohio University, Athens, and has also taught at The New School, Duke University, and New York University. Gillespie holds Masters and PhD degrees from the NYU Department of Cinema Studies and a BA in English from Morehouse College, Atlanta. 

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Lewis Center for the Arts
185 Nassau Street

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