Karen Beckman

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Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Endowed Professor in Film Studies, Department Chair
209 Jaffe Building

Karen Beckman is the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Professor of Cinema and Modern Media and chair of the department of the History of Art. She is the author of Vanishing Women: Magic, Film and Feminism (Duke UP, 2003); Crash: Cinema and the Politics of Speed and Stasis (Duke UP, 2010), and is now working on a new book, Undead: Animation and the Contemporary Art of War. She has co-edited two volumes: Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography with Jean Ma (Duke UP, September 2008) and On Writing With Photography (Minnesota UP, 2013) with Liliane Weissberg, and is also the editor of Animating Film Theory (Duke UP, 2014), which explores the history of film theory's engagement (and lack of it) with animation: http://www.scribd.com/doc/205208690/Animating-Film-Theory-edited-by-Karen-Beckman#scribd.

Her articles address a range of subjects, including  the evolving role of film theory in the 21st century, war and the academy, violence and media, community media, animation theory, feminism and terrorism, death penalty photography, the relationship between cinema and contemporary art, and fast and slow cinemas. For several years she served as a senior editor of the MIT journal Grey Room, and is now a member of its editorial board. 

As Advisor to the Arts for the University (2012-2015), she coordinated a university-wide arts initiative: https://provost.upenn.edu/initiatives/arts, and she now serves on the Provost’s Arts and Culture council as well as the SAS Arts and Culture committee. In 2013-14, she was the interim director and topic director of the Penn Humanities Forum, which was organized around the theme of "Violence": http://humanities.sas.upenn.edu/topics13.shtml. In September 2014, she organized the HAIKU conference (“The Humanities and the Arts in the Integrated Knowledge University,” Penn Museum) and she plans to write a book on a related topic. 

Courses include: Introduction to Film Theory, The Place of Film Theory, The Art of Animation, and War and Film (Afghanistan and Iraq), Cinema and Photography, Race, Sex and Gender in Early Cinema, Women and Film, Film History, The Road Movie, and Paul Strand. She is a member of graduate groups in the departments of German and English, and a faculty affiliate of the LGBT center.