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Who are we?

Our department covers a wide range of film and media history, with an emphasis on question of film culture. Our work asks not only what’s in the film, but also what’s happening around it: what kinds of infrastructure, institutions, networks, ideas, technologies, and embodied practices make certain films and styles possible at certain moments? Particular strengths include work on global cinema, non-theatrical and “useful” cinema, and early/silent film culture.

Our staff members are leaders in their field. Together, they have authored or edited over twenty books, some of them award-winning, including Walter Ruttmann and the Cinema of Multiplicity (Michael Cowan), White Robes, Silver Screens (Tom Rice), Texture in Film (Lucy Fife Donaldson), Cinemas of Paris (Dina Iordanova), Film Nation: Hollywood Looks at U.S. History (Robert Burgoyne), Montgomery Clift, Queer Star (Elisabetta Girelli), and Creating the Witness: Documenting Genocide on Film, Video and the Internet (Leshu Torchin).

We have an excellent record of funding and research projects with grants from AHRC, Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy, as well as numerous international funding bodies.

Formed in 2004, we are a small but rapidly expanding department. Recent hires include Michael Cowan, Lucy Donaldson, Paul Flaig, Anuja Jain and Philippa Lovatt.

Current staff

Professor Michael Cowan

Head of Department

I work in Film and Media History, with a focus on European film and visual culture. Related interests include digital cinema, film technology, theory, experimental film and non-theatrical cinema.

Dr Lucy Fife Donaldson

Dr Lucy Fife Donaldson

Lecturer in Film Studies

My research focuses on film style, texture, performance and the body. I am interested in bringing together close textual analysis with issues of embodiment, experience and sensation.

Karen Drysdale

Departmental Secretary and Office Manager

Karen Drysdale has been a member of the Department of Film Studies since its founding in 2004. She manages the main office and provides administrative and organizational support for all aspects of departmental operations, including undergraduate teaching, postgraduate teaching and supervision, research events and environment, departmental finances, and administrative tasks.

Dr Paul Flaig

Lecturer in Film Studies

My research focuses on transformations of film and film history across transnational space and anachronistic time, tracking transformations and appropriations of cinematic genres and stars in diverse cultural, medial and historical contexts. I am interested in the ways films move beyond themselves in terms of how they are not only […]

Dr Elisabetta Girelli

Senior Lecturer in Film Studies

My research focuses on stardom, performance, cultural analysis and discourses, sexuality and gender in film, subversion and difference. My current sphere of interest is silent cinema. Prior to this development, I concentrated on the creation of identity on screen, and its link to cultural analysis. I especially worked on queer […]

Dr Dennis Hanlon

Lecturer in Film Studies

I am a specialist in Latin American, South Asian, and European (especially German) cinemas, and my research explores the transnational articulations among them.

Professor Dina Iordanova

Professor of Film Studies

As the founder of the Film Studies department, I am particularly proud to have been the first Chair in Film Studies in the University’s 600 year-long history. I am an international authority on transnational cinema, global film industries, and film festivals, as well as on Eastern European and Balkan cinema.

Dr Anuja Jain


My research and teaching interests revolve around South Asian film, media and visual culture; transnational film history; documentary film; Asian Cinemas; film, memory and historical trauma; and film poetics and aesthetics with a special interest in questions of spectatorship.

Dr Philippa Lovatt

Lecturer in Film Studies

Broadly speaking, my research focusses on the politics of film form. My particular areas of interest are in East Asian and Southeast Asian cinemas, experimental film and documentary, sound in audio-visual media and more recently, on the relationship between censorship and grassroots film activism in Asia. I have published my […]

Dr Jennifer O’Meara

Associate Lecturer

My research and teaching interests include film dialogue, voices, sound and music; American independent cinema; fandom; digital media; contemporary authorship; performance and stardom; and women in cinema. I hold a PhD in Film Studies from Trinity College Dublin. Prior to joining St Andrews in 2016, I taught at Maynooth University, […]

Dr Tom Rice

Senior Lecturer in Film Studies

With a focus on film history, my research examines the complex relationship between political and cultural movements and cinema.

Dr Leshu Torchin

Senior Lecturer in Film Studies

I research topics in research in documentary, Holocaust and genocide studies, media and activism (such as economic and social justice, human rights, feminism), film festivals, and politics on film. Other interests include media and migration (both travelling cultures and the expanded realms of film), and tourism. Proposed theses on these topics are welcome.

Retired staff

Professor Robert Burgoyne (retired)

Honorary Professor in Film Studies

My work centers on historiography and film, with a special emphasis on American cinema, history and national identity, and the counter narratives of nation that have emerged in many films.

Professor Richard Dyer (retired)

Honorary Professor (retired)

My work focuses on issues of representation and entertainment and especially the relations between them: how the form that a representation takes has much to do with its entertainment value, how entertainment works through representations.

Jean-Michel Frodon (retired)

Honorary Professor

I am a world-renowned journalist and film critic at weekly “Le Point” (1983-1990), “Le Monde” (1990-2003). I was editorial director of “Cahiers du Cinema” between 2003 and 2009.