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 in the department of the History of Art. As Advisor to the Arts for the University, she coordinates a university-wide arts initiative: https://provost.upenn.edu/initiatives/arts. In 2013-14, she was the interim director and topic director of the Penn Humanities Forum, which was organized around the theme of "Violence": 

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, 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-Kare.... She is currently working with Jean Ma on a second project, this time focused on the artist Michael Snow. Her articles address a range of subjects, including feminism and terrorism, death penalty photography, the animated documentary, the relationship between cinema and contemporary art, fast and slow cinemas, and the evolving role of film theory in the 21st century. For several years she served as a senior editor of the MIT journal Grey Room, and is now a member of its editorial board. 

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

In 2014, she will organize the HAIKU conference (“The Humanities and the Arts in the Integrated Knowledge University,” Penn Museum, September 12-13, 2014), which will result in an edited collection on the same topic. She will also co-organize the d’Harnoncourt Symposium with Dr. Peter Barberie (PMA) on the photographer Paul Strand (PMA and Penn Museum, November 7-8, 2014).