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Irene Lusztig

Associate Professor, Film & Digital Media
Arts Dean’s Research Professor
Director, Center for Documentary Arts & Research (CDAR)

IRENE LUSZTIG is an internationally-exhibited, award-winning filmmaker, media archeologist, and visual artist. While her creative work extends across a range of moving image forms (long form cinema essay, web-based interactive projects, and–most recently–video for gallery and museum exhibition), in all of her work she maintains a strong connection to feminist historiography and archival practices, an investment in rigorous and sustained interdisciplinary research into her subject of inquiry, and a conviction that filmmaking itself can constitute a profound act of reframing, recuperating, and reanimating forgotten or neglected histories. Born in England to Romanian parents, Irene grew up in Boston and has lived in France, Italy, Romania, China, and Russia. She received her BA in filmmaking and Chinese studies from Harvard and completed her MFA in film and video at Bard College. Her debut feature film, “Reconstruction” (2001) was recognized with a Boston Society of Film Critics Discovery award and won best documentary at the New England Film Festival. Her work has been screened around the world, including at MoMA, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Anthology Film Archives, Pacific Film Archive, IDFA Amsterdam, and on television in the US, Europe, and Taiwan. She has received grants from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, Massachusetts Cultural Council, LEF Foundation, New York State Council for the Arts, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation and has been awarded fellowships at the MacDowell Colony, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Harvard’s Film Study Center. She is the recent recipient of a 2016 Rydell Fellowship for Visual Arts and a 2016-17 Fulbright Fellowship.


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Isabelle Carbonell

Ph.D Student, Film & Digital Media

Assistant Director, Center for Documentary Arts & Research (CDAR) 


Isabelle Carbonell is an award-winning documentary filmmaker with a background in environmental science and social science. She has taught documentary film at Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar and National Geographic.  Her research interests encompass multispecies ethnography, the anthropocene/capitalocene/chthulecene, sensory ethnography, environmental anthropology, documentary film, experimental ethnographic film, environmental justice, surveillance/dataveillance studies, the ethics of big data in agriculture, and not last nor least: jellyfish.


unnamed Emily Cohen

 CDAR filmmaker-in-residence for 2016-17


Dr. Emily Cohen Ibañez is an anthropologist, filmmaker, and feminist.  She earned her doctoral degree in Anthropology with a certificate in Culture and Media at New York University. Her films and writing explore the ways science and technology inform ways people come to know themselves.  Her writing has been published in American Anthropologist, Body and Society, Disability Studies Quarterly, and Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience amongst others. Her films circulate nationally and internationally at universities and film festivals including the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, The Society for Visual Anthropology Festival, and El Festival de Cine de Bogota where her film “Bodies at War” was nominated for a UNICEF Award.  Born in Arizona to Colombian parents of mixed religious and ethnic backgrounds, Dr. Cohen Ibañez’s work explores different modes of identification based on gender, race, ability, and social class in relation to the social inequalities that these social categories generate as well as the creative modes of self-identification they inspire. In 2016-2017, she will be a Research Associate at CDAR as a Wenner-Gren Fejos Fellow in Ethnographic Film where she will complete her second feature-length film, “Virtual War,” a hybrid VR documentary experience. In collaboration with Irene Lusztig, Dr. Cohen Ibañez received a UCHRI grant to start a Working Group entitled “Imperfect Machines: Simulation, Medicine, and Film.”  Her research and filmmaking have been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner- Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the American Council for Learned Societies, PSC-CUNY, the NYU Torch Fellowship, and Fulbright Colombia.



Affiliated faculty:

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Jonathan Kahana

Associate Professor, Film & Digital Media
Documentary film and media; film and politics; American film history; essay film; cultural and social theory; media publics; arts of historical reenactment; war and cultural memory; audio culture; disciplines of listening.






Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 2.36.19 AMIrene Gustafson

Associate Professor, Film and Digital Media
Department Chair
Non-fiction history and theory, Gender and Queer Studies, Production Design, Producing across the boundaries between “theory” and “practice”






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Rick Prelinger 

Associate Professor, Film & Digital Media
Critical archival studies; personal and institutional recordkeeping; access to the cultural record; media and social change; ephemeral cinema; amateur and home movies; participatory documentary; digital scholarship; cinema and public history





Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 2.51.12 AMSharon Daniels

Professor, Film & Digital Media
Digital Arts and New Media MFA program
Participatory Culture, Technology and Social Inclusion, Public Art.






Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 3.00.44 AM Megan Moodie

Assistant Professor, Anthropology
South Asian studies, feminist theory, reproductive and population politics, kinship, development, legal identities, tribal communities






Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 3.03.10 AMMiriam Greenberg 

Professor, Sociology

Miriam Greenberg’s research links urban studies, cultural studies, and the study of place, space, politics, and the environment.  She holds a PhD in Sociology from the City University of New York Graduate Center, and is the author of Branding New York:  How a City in Crisis was Sold to the World (Routledge, 2008), and Crisis Cities: Disaster and Redevelopment in New York and New Orleans (Oxford, 2014). Since 2013, she has been directing the Critical Sustainabilities project.




Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 3.04.21 AMLaurie Palmer 

Professor, Art 

A. Laurie Palmer’s work is concerned with material explorations of matter’s active nature as it asserts itself on different scales and in different speeds, and with collaborating on strategic actions in the contexts of social and environmental justice. These two directions sometimes run parallel and sometimes converge, taking form as sculpture, installation, writing, and public projects. Collaboration, with other humans and with non-humans, is a central ethic in her practice.




Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture
Director, Center for Creative Ecologies

Professor Demos’ current research focuses on contemporary art and visual culture, investigating in particular the diverse ways that artists and activists have negotiated crises associated with globalization, including the emerging conjunction of post-9/11 political sovereignty and statelessness, the hauntings of the colonial past, and the growing biopolitical conflicts around ecology and climate change. He has served on the Art Journal editorial board (2004-08), and currently is on the editorial board of Third Text, and on the advisory board of Grey Room. Demos is Director of the  Center for Creative Ecologies at UC Santa Cruz.






Affiliated graduate students:

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Ph.D Student, Film & Digital Media

Topiary’s work crosses genres of documentary, experimental media, performance and essay film. Her work has been presented in film festivals, theaters, art galleries and museums through the US and internationally. She has received grants and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, the Experimental Television Center, Radar’s Writer’s Lab, and Mount Tremper Arts. Topiary taught film editing at the School for Visual Arts in New York City as well as video production and post-production at CUNY’s College of Staten Island, Pratt Institute and the Media Studies program at New School University in New York.





Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 2.39.25 AMAlex Johnston

Ph.D Student, Film & Digital Media

Alex Johnston is a filmmaker and educator, whose work explores social and cultural histories using non-traditional aesthetic and narrative techniques. He holds a Master’s degree in Social Documentation also from UC Santa Cruz, and has taught courses there in people’s history and documentary practices. Prior to his career in academia, Alex spent a number of years working with, and as an advocate for, some of the 180,000 men, women and children incarcerated in prisons, jails and juvenile institutions throughout California.





Casondra Sobieralski

Ph.D Student, Film & Digital Media

Casondra Sobieralski is interested in immersive environments and embodiment, especially as that applies to history and archaeology of the Near East and Mediterranean and of the American West.