Dr Leshu Torchin
Lecturer in Film Studies (On Research Leave 2012-2013)
Phone: +44 (0) 1334 467476
I am interested in how screen media (film, video, the Internet, and other moving image/audio visual technologies) bear witness to human rights abuses and genocide in order to foster global citizenship and to mobilise audiences. My research combines examinations of strategies of representation and studies of social practice and political economy, allowing me to consider how commercial entertainment culture is brought to bear on political and grassroots organising (and vice versa). How might tactics of narrowcasting, cross-platform distribution and exhibition, or media synergies shape our understanding of human rights and encourage us to respond?
My forthcoming monograph, Creating the Witness: Genocide in the Age of Film, Video, and the Internet (University of Minnesota Press, Visible Evidence Series) conducts a transhistorical study of media witnessing across several key sites of genocide, from an examination of film-based campaign by Near East Relief in response to the Armenian Genocide to the consideration of YouTube as a site of activism in response to the crisis in Darfur.
My present research centres on film festivals and activism as well as the role of film and transmedia campaigns in the promotion of economic justice and a popular understanding of economic rights.The latter builds on my work on the subject of cinema and human trafficking.
See also the PURE research profile.
I am interested in advising students working in the area of film and social justice, representations of genocide and the Holocaust, trauma, collective memory, documentary, visual anthropology, media anthropology, and film industries (including tourism).
(Forthcoming October 2012) Creating the Witness: Documenting Genocide on Film, Video, and the Internet (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press).
(Forthcoming November 2012) "White Band's Burden: Live 8 and Humanitarian Synergy," in Meg McLagan and Yates McGee (eds), Sensible Politics: Visual Cultures of Non- Governmental Activism, (Zone Publishing/MIT Press)
(Forthcoming October 2012) "Anne Frank's Moving Images," in Jeffrey Shandler and Barabra Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (eds), Anne Frank Unbound: Media, Imagination, Memory (Indiana University Press).
Review of Occupy the Film Festival in two parts, Souciant Magazine, 19-20 September 2012.
- Part One "All Protest, No Porn" <http://souciant.com/2012/09/all-protest-no-porn/>
- Part Two "Occupy the Film Festival, Part II"<http://souciant.com/2012/09/occupy-the-film-festival-part-ii/>
Edited with Dina Iordanova, Film Festival Yearbook 4: Film Festivals and Activism (St Andrews Film Studies, 2012)
"Marketing Joseph Kony" Souciant Magazine, 12 March 2012 <http://souciant.com/2012/03/marketing-joseph-kony/>
"Hollywood and the Holocaust (1940s-1970s): An American History" and "Hollywood and the Holocaust (1980s-2000s): A Cinematic History" in Bigger than Life: 100 Years of Hollywood- A Jewish Experience (Museum Catalogue). Werner Hanak-Lettner (Jewish Museum Vienna and Bertz and Fischer, 2011)
"Memorializing Steve Jobs," Souciant Magazine, 11 October 2011 <http://souciant.com/2011/10/memorializing-steve-jobs/>
"Documenting Iranian Democracy: The Green Wave," Souciant Magazine 19 July 2011 <http://souciant.com/2011/07/the-green-wave/>
With William Brown and Dina Iordanova, Moving People, Moving Images: Cinema and Trafficking in the New Europe (St Andrews Film Studies, 2010)
"Trafficking and Video" In Media Res "Human Rights", November 9-November 12.
"Cultural Learnings of Borat For Make Benefit Glorious Study of Documentary," Film & History, Vol. 38.1 (Spring 2008).
"Influencing Representation: Equal Access and Roma Social Inclusion" in Third Text, 22.3 (March 2008), pp. 387-396.
"Since We Forgot: Remembrance and Recognition of the Armenian Genocide in Virtual Archives," in Roger Hallas and Frances Guerin (eds), The Image and the Witness: Trauma, Memory and Visual Culture (Wallflower Press, 2007), pp. 82-97.
"Ravished Armenia: Visual Media, Humanitarian Advocacy, and the Formation of Witnessing Publics," American Anthropologist; 108 March 2006: 214-220.
"Lost Boys in 7th Heaven" The Revealer: A Daily Review of Religion and the Press (June 17, 2004).
"Location, Location, Location: The Destination of the Manhattan TV Tour" in Tourist Studies, 2.3 (December 2002), pp. 247-266.
"Spontaneous Memorials and Individual Narratives: Community Building Strategies" in 9-11 and After: A Virtual Casebook. Part of the Virtual Casebook Project at New York University produced and edited by Faye Ginsburg and Barbara Abrash and organized by The Center for Media Culture and History at NYU. This is an online collection of essays and links illuminating practices of cultural activism post-9-11.
"Shake Hands with the Devil," Cineaste, 31.1 (Winter 2005), p. 88.
"Hotel Rwanda," Cineaste, 30.2 (Spring 2005), pp. 46-48.
"La Bataille du Rail," Cineaste 32.1 (Winter 2006), pp. 66-68.
"Jeux Interdits," Cineaste 32.1 (Winter 2006), pp. 66-68.
Conferences, Lectures and Colloquia
“Kony 2012: Anatomy of a Campaign Video and a Video Campaign,” Culture, Film, and Media- University of Nottingham, 2 May 2012 (Invited Speaker)
“Marketing Joseph Kony: The Future of Film Activism” St Andrews Amnesty International Society, 26 August 2012. (Invited Speaker)
“Overview of Documentary and Ethics: An introduction to Operation Filmmaker (Nina Davenport, 2008),” St Andrews Postgraduate Study Day “Film and Ethics” 21 March 2012. (Invited Speaker)
“The Vlog of Anne Frank” Visible Evidence, Istanbul 9-12 August 2010.
University of Sussex Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorations, 27 January 2010. Discussing genocide, resistance and film following a screening of Daring to Resist: Three Women Face the Holocaust. (Invited Panellist)
“Envisioning Economic Human Rights: The Human Cost of the Free Market” at the Centre for Screen Studies (University of Glasgow) 21 October 2009. (Invited Speaker)
Terrorism from a Multidisciplinary Perspective hosted by The Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews, 30 September 2009 (Roundtable Participant)
“New Perspectives: Envisioning Economic Human Rights” at Media Communications and Cultural Studies Association Conference (MeCCSA) (Bradford UK), 14-16 January 2009.
“Citizen Tube and Youtube's Focus on Darfur,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Philadelphia, PA, 5-9 March 2008.
“Citizen Tube, Darfur, and Witnessing Publicists,” Social Anthropology Seminar (University of St Andrews) 5 December 2007. (Invited Speaker)
“Citizen Tube: Focus on Darfur” Future Histories of the Moving Image (University of Sunderland) 16-18 November 2007.
"White Band's Burden: Humanitarian Synergy, Live 8, and the Campaign to Make Poverty History,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Chicago, IL, 8-11 March 2007.
“Transnational Methods for National Inclusion: Equal Access and Educational Integration in Bulgaria,” Representation and Effect: The Roma in Politics, Art, and the Academy, an interdisciplinary workshop convened by the British Academy, the department of Social Anthropology, and the Centre for Film Studies (University of St Andrews) 23-25 March 2007. (Invited Speaker)
"The Burden of Witnessing: Visual Media and the Production of Rights Claims," Seminar paper presented at the International Centre for Advanced Studies at New York University, 3 February, 2006. (Invited Speaker)
“Ravished Armenia: Early Film Activism,” Religious Witness, Center for Religion and Media (New York University) 8 May 2004.
“Forgotten Witness: Remembering Ravished Armenia,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Atlanta GA, 7 March 2004.
“Spontaneous Memorials as Tactical Media,” Memory Matters Symposium at (New York University) 11 November 2001.
I teach on the following sub-honours modules:
FM1001 Key Concepts in Film Studies
FM1002 Film History and Historiography
I teach the following specialist modules:
FM4105 Representing the Holocaust
FM4203 American Independent Cinema
FM4303 Documentary Cinema
I am available by appointment. Please email me to arrange.