Shira Segal

Shira Segal

Lecturer in Film Studies and Director, Film Studies Minor
Art & Art History


FA 323
Shira Segal

Areas of Expertise: Avant-Garde Cinema, Documentary Film, Cultural Memory, Gender Studies

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Shira Segal is Lecturer in Film Studies and Director of Film Studies Minor in the Dept. of Art and Art History. She is a documentary, avant-garde, and experimental film scholar who holds a Ph.D. in Film and Media Studies and a minor in American Studies from Indiana University and a Master's in Cultural Memory from the University of London. Her interdisciplinary approach intersects film history, theory, and practice with contemporary image-making practices, gender studies, and memory studies across her research and teaching.

Segal’s dissertation, Home Movies and Home Birth: The Avant-garde Childbirth Film and Pregnancy in New Media, provides a cultural and aesthetic history of alternative film and media practices surrounding the maternal body over the past sixty years. Influenced by her studies with experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage and by his birth films in particular, Segal situates the avant-garde chidlbirth film as a filmic dialogue in relation to contested notions of art, the politics of embodiment, and the role of the cinematic apparatus in representations of a gendered self and other on screen. This project includes archival research and personal interviews with filmmakers and their subjects.

Other research projects include The Embodied Camera: Strategies of the Self in Avant-garde Film and First Person Fe/Male: Gender and Identity in Autobiographical Cinema in which Segal examines the embodied camera as a visual strategy of the self for documentary and avant-garde filmmakers as well as for amateur image-makers on the Internet. These projects investigate the dynamics between gender, technology, and aesthetics in personal, first person cinema and diary filmmaking practices that effectively blend the filmmaker and film subject with the medium itself, thereby raise ontological questions surrounding the cinematic apparatus, gender performativity, and the representation of a complex, autobiographical self on screen.

Other projects have included grant-work for the Photography Book Museum and its anticipated Archive of Vision online, research with the James Stanley Brakhage collection and the Brakhage Center for Media Arts as a Visiting Scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, as well as curriculum development such as Poetry and Cinema, Landscape in Film, First Person Cinema, and Cultural Memory and Film. She teaches a wide range of Film and Media Studies courses.