Mothlight (1963), courtesy of the Estate of Stan Brakhage and Fred Camper.

The Dante Quartet (1987), courtesy of the Estate of Stan Brakhage and Fred Camper.


Shira Segal

Faculty Member

Photo credit Paula Gillen

Director of Film Studies
Lecturer of Film Studies
Phone: (518) 442-4020
Campus office: FA 323

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

Visit: Professor Segal's Website

Shira Segal, Director of the Film Studies minor, received her Ph.D. in Film and Media Studies from the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University and her Master’s in Cultural Memory from the University of London. She is a feminist documentary and experimental film studies scholar whose interdisciplinary approach combines film history with contemporary media 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 fifty years, and is influenced by her work with experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage and his birth films in particular. Through archival research and interviews with filmmakers, Segal situates this filmic dialogue in relation to contested notions of art, embodiment, and the cinematic apparatus.

Her current research, First Person Fe/Male: Gender and Identity in Autobiographical Cinema, examines the embodied camera as a visual strategy of the self for documentary and avant-garde filmmakers to amateur image-makers on the Internet. This project investigates the dynamic between gender, technology, and aesthetics in personal cinema and diary filmmaking practices that effectively blend the filmmaker and film subject with the medium itself, thereby raising ontological questions surrounding the cinematic apparatus, gender performativity, and the complex, autobiographical self on screen.

Other recent projects include 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 well as curriculum development that highlights the intersections between the visual and the verbal in cinema and poetry. Segal received a teaching award for her Gender, Sexuality, and the Media course and has taught a wide range of Film and Media Studies courses and courses in American Studies.