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Professor Robert Burgoyne (retired)

Honorary Professor in Film Studies

I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota (summa cum laude) and my doctorate at New York University.

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.  Recent publications include Film Nation: Hollywood Looks at U. S. History: Revised and Expanded Edition and The Epic Film in World Culture. I have also published on memory and contemporary American culture; cinephilia in the work of Douglas Gordon and Corey Arcangel; and the imagery of haunting and spectrality in the war film. Narrative theory, Italian cinema, and the impact of digital technologies on film form and theory are also subjects on which I have published, and which I continue to pursue. Much of my recent work flows from my central interest in the cinematic rewriting of history, and the power of film to illuminate the contemporary moment by reconceiving the dominant fictions that have formed around the past.


Burgoyne, RJ 2017, 'The dark power of belonging: The T-Shirt' Short Film Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 93-96. DOI: 10.1386/sfs.7.1.93_1
Burgoyne, RJ & Trafton, JW 2017, Violence and Memory in Lincoln. in N Morris (ed.), A Companion to Steven Spielberg. Wiley Blackwell Companions to Film Directors, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 374-386.
Burgoyne, RJ 2016, Post-Heroic War / The Body at Risk. in C Hellmich & L Purse (eds), Disappearing War: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Cinema and Erasure in the Post-9/11 World. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
Burgoyne, RJ & Rositzka, E 2015, 'Goya on his Shoulder: Tim Hetherington, Genre Memory, and The Body at Risk' Frames Cinema Journal.
Burgoyne, RJ 2015, The Violated Body: Affective Experience and Somatic Intensity in Zero Dark Thirty. in D LaRocca (ed.), The Philosophy of War Films. University Press of Kentucky.
Burgoyne, R & Trafton, J 2015, 'Haunting in the historical biopic: Lincoln' Rethinking History, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 525-535. DOI: 10.1080/13642529.2015.1006865
Burgoyne, RJ 2015, Douglas Gordon and Cory Arcangel, Breaking the Toy. in Embodied Encounters: New Approaches to Psychoanalysis and Cinema. Routledge, pp. 159-170.
Burgoyne, RJ 2014, Colour in the Epic Film: Alexander and Hero. in The Return of the Epic Film, ed. Andrew Elliot. Edinburgh University Press.
Burgoyne, RJ 2014, Gainsbourg: Puppetry in the Musical Biopic. in New Directions in the Biopic, ed. Belen Vidal and Tom Brown. Routledge.
Burgoyne, RJ 2013, Haunting in the War Film: Flags of Our Fathers. in R Schubart & A Gjelsvik (eds), Eastwood's Iwo Jima: Critical Engagement With Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. Wallflower Press, New York, pp. 157-172.
Burgoyne, RJ 2013, Suicide in Letters From Iwo Jima: in Gjelsvik, Anne and Rikke Schubart, eds. in Eastwood's Iwo Jima. Wallflower Press, pp. 231-244.
Burgoyne, RJ 2013, Generational Memory and Affect in Letters From Iwo Jima. in R Rosenstone & C Parvulescu (eds), A Companion to the Historical Film. Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, pp. 349-364.
Burgoyne, RJ 2012, 'Embodiment in the war film: Paradise Now and The Hurt Locker' Journal of War & Culture Studies, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 7-19. DOI: 10.1386/jwcs.5.1.7_1
Burgoyne, RJ 2012, 'Color in the Epic Film: Alexander and Hero' Revista do Instituto dos Estudos Brasileiros.
Burgoyne, RJ 2011, 'War / Homecoming: the social covenant and the body at risk in The War Is Over' Short Film Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 47-49. DOI: 10.1386/sfs.1.1.47_1
Burgoyne, R 2011, Introduction. in R Burgoyne (ed.), The Epic Film in World Culture. Routledge, pp. 1-16.
Burgoyne, RJ 2011, Bare Life and Sovereignty in Gladiator. in R Burgoyne (ed.), The Epic Film in World Culture. Routledge, pp. 82-98.
Burgoyne, RJ (ed.) 2011, The Epic Film in World Culture. AFI Film Readers, Routledge, New York.
Burgoyne, RJ 2010, Film Nation: Hollywood Looks at U.S. History. Revised edn, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
Burgoyne, RJ 2009, 'Introduction: re-enactment and imagination in the historical film' Leidschrift, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 7-18.

Current research

I am currently researching and writing on the war film, with an optic derived from the recent work of Hardt and Negri, Jameson, and Virilio.  I consider the war film as a genre of embodiment, a "body genre," that employs sound, image, editing, and camera movement to intensify the affective engagement of the spectator.   My premise is that the war film, far from being restricted to the codes of realism and verisimilitude, conveys an intensified somatic experience of combat and trauma that foregrounds the significance of the "body at risk" as the core device of the genre.  Reconsidering the war film as a genre of the visceral, I am exploring the way the body is mapped onto systems of ideology, technology, and onto discourses of the phantasmatic and uncanny.