In the last decade or so, digital technologies have made it possible for film scholars to "write" about cinema using the very materials that make up our object of study: moving images and sounds. This project enables students to make scholarly videos, which engage them more intimately with cinema, while simultaneously enhancing their ability to critique, analyze, and theorize moving images.
“Writing Audiovisually” introduces a new kind of film scholarship to Rhodes Film Studies students: the scholarly video. The video essay is entirely dependent on digital pedagogy; specifically, Professor Richards had to teach students to copy film clips from YouTube or extract them from DVDs, use editing software, add voiceover narration or intertitles/subtitles, and so on. More broadly, this project has meant showing students how to think digitally—that is, to pause, rewind, or watch frames in slow motion, etc.—in order to do film scholarship, and this has certainly revolutionized the way Professor Richards teaches film analysis. She first asked her Film Theory students to create a video essay in spring 2016. It was so successful that she has continued using this assignment in every advanced film studies class, including in American TV last fall. She is planning a new course on Thinking Digitally for the future; in the first half of that course, students will think theoretically about living and working in a digital mediascape, and in the second half, they will make video projects, some of which will require them to film footage around Memphis too.
Associate Professor of English
Chair of Film and Media Studies
Dr. Richards' teaching and research interests include American film and television, critical theory, and transnational cultural studies.