I am honored to receive a 2022-2023 WSU Center for Arts and Humanities Faculty Fellowship.
Author: Ruth Gregory
I am excited to announce that I have published my essay “The Politics of Survey Cinema History Textbooks” in the peer-reviewed journal “The Projector: A Journal of Film, Media, and Culture.”
The genesis of this essay harkens back to when I was a community college instructor. There I taught “Introduction to Cinema History” nearly every quarter. Teaching that class over and over again caused me to think a lot about what is present in the cinema studies and what is absent or obscured. I kept asking myself: “Why? Why this material in this way?” I realized over time that there was no divine declaration of what is important in film history. The canon is a man-made construction. I started to interrogate the way cinema history is framed in several survey textbooks to interrogate their politics.
Cinema history textbooks have long served as an introduction to the discipline and, for as long as they have been used, they have been criticized. Writing in 1950, James Card states, “The student turns to the film histories and there finds confusion, gossip, and the wildest sort of speculation.” This article uncovers the politics of contemporary survey cinema textbooks, including Flashback: A Brief History of Film (2009) by Louis Giannetti and Scott Eyman, A Short History of the Movies (2010) by Gerald Mast and Bruce Kawin, Movie History: A Survey (2011) by Douglas Gomery and Clara Pafort-Overduin, and Film History: An Introduction (2018) by Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell. Building on work in education and cultural studies, the article analyzes problematic canonized patterns, which include a tendency to obscure the contributions of women and people of color, a preference for framing film as an art form, and a general simplification of film history that discourages students from thinking critically about what is missing or marginalized in the historical narrative.
Gregory, Ruth. 2022. “The Politics of Survey Cinema History Textbooks.” The Projector: A Journal of Film, Media, and Culture. Accessed January 01, 2022. https://www.theprojectorjournal.com/the-politics-of-cinema-history-textbooks.
In February 2021 I was honored to be selected as the Oustanding Faculty member from the College of Arts and Sciences during an online ceremony sponsored by the Washington State University Provost, Dr. Elizabeth Chilton. During the ceremony College of Art and Sciences Dean Todd …
From Fall 2015 – Spring 2019 I had the pleasure of producing about 200 tutorial and informational videos for the Sustainable Heritage Network. The Sustainable Heritage Network (SHN) is an answer to the pressing need for comprehensive workshops, online tutorials, and web resources dedicated to …
I had a great time checking out the Virtual Reality pieces at SIFFX on June 5th.
The pieces were shown on Samsung Gear VR sets and the HTC Vive. The headsets were impressive and helped a lot with the stabilization issues that I’ve seen with other VR headsets.
It was great to see Music of the Spheres in a higher quality headset that did not bobble with the natural motion of your head. Maybe we’ve now solved some of the sea sickness issues associated with VR experiences – one can only hope!
I was also impressed with the work of Nonny de la Pena whose VR work is what she calls “immersive journalism.” She uses animated Virtual Reality environments to immerse her audience in different experiences. Many use source footage as the basis for the animation and/or audio. Her work is incredibly powerful and I highly recommend checking it out if you get the chance.
I am excited to announce that Music of the Spheres will be a part of the inaugural SIFFX festival that runs in conjunction with the Seattle International Film Festival. From their site: SIFFX is a brand-new four-day festival within the Seattle International Film Festival showcasing the …
My new project – Music of the Spheres – has launched. Check it out at spheresseries.com. Music of the Spheres is the first series to completely tell its story using 360 degree technology; blazing a new trail for motion picture storytelling. The storyline of Music …
Exciting news today!
My latest short documentary, Hazzard, will be premiering at the Tacoma Film Festival in early October. They are still working on the program, so more details about a specific time and place to catch the film will be forthcoming.
Here is a little about the doc:
In early 1900s Seattle Dr. Lina Hazzard believed that fasting was the cure for any all maladies, and watched as over 40 of her patients withered into death’s embrace.
Sometimes truth is crazier than fiction and this is definitely one of those times.
Dr. Linda Hazzard was a naturopathic doctor working around the Seattle area in the early 1900s. She was granted her license to practice medicine under a (now defunct) program that allowed alternative healers to submit documentation to the state that the deserved to be full doctors. Dr. Hazzard believed that fasting could cure anything. She told a reporter for The Seattle Daily Times in 1907 that: “Proper dieting will solve the problem of life and death and there is no reason why we should not live forever, for, after all, eating is only a vulgar habit that the human race could probably dispense with.” Several of her patients were known to have died under her care, while many others disappeared after seeing her. And this is only the beginning of her story. She robbed her patients of their possessions, forged wills, switched out bodies, hid dying patients from their relatives, and so much more. It is a true horror story.
After we completed the film we found a book about Dr. Hazzard that we’ve been reading. Her story is definitely deeper than what we could cover in 7 minutes. So for more information about Dr. Hazzard I recommend the book Starvation Heights. Or you can just go straight to the source and read Dr. Hazzard’s book Fasting For The Cure of Disease yourself.
We made the film in just 5 days for the International Documentary Challenge. We weren’t finalists, but had a great time nonetheless. Especially our producer, Luke, who enjoyed taking behind the scenes shots when no one was looking. You can see some of the shots on my Flickr photostream.