Chris Robé

Chris Rob


Chris Robé
PhD, Film and Media Studies/Literature, Lehigh University

Phone: (561) 297-1306
Areas of Expertise: Film and Media Studies, Historical Materialism, Cultural Studies, Media Activism

My primary research concerns the use of media by various activist groups in their quest for a more equitable world. In the twenty-first century, media does not simply offer a representational platform for disenfranchised voices, but more importantly serves as a material practice to engage in collective struggles for equity, justice, and more sustainable systems. I have written about U.S. radical film culture in the 1930s in my book Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture (U of Texas Press, 2010) and have published numerous articles on media activism within various journals like Cinema Journal, Jump Cut, Framework, Journal of Film and Video, and Film History. My recent book, Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Videotape Guerrillas, and Digital Ninjas, explores the emergence of anarchist-based video activism.

My newest book project concerns the relationship between video/digital media activism and state repression pertaining to animal rights campaigns, counter-summit protesting, copwatching, and anti-Muslim surveillance. I am also co-editing a collection on global media activism with my colleague Stephen Charbonneau. Finally, I am engaged in archival research for a long-term project related to Raymond Williams’ work on film and television.

I occasionally scribble for Cineaste and the online journal PopMatters.

I feel fortunate to be a part of a program that stresses how media production must be linked to theoretical analysis and historical concerns, that trains students in counter-cinema, alternative media, and avant-garde traditions as viable alternatives to solely commercial concerns, and that explores how media, in all its forms, can be an agent of social change as well as a politically reactionary force.

Recent Publications

“The Specter of Communism: A Communist Structure of Feeling within Romanian New Wave Cinema,” Film Criticism 41, no. 2 (2017).

"Documenting the Little Abuses: Copwatching, Community Organizing, and Video Activism," Pop Matters (January 2017).

"Detroit Rising: The League of Revolutionary Black Workers, Newsreel, and the Making of Finally Got the News," Film History: An International Journal 28, no. 3 (2016): 125-158.

Co-authored with Todd Wolfson and Peter Funke, "Rewiring the Apparatus: Screen, Theory, Media Activism, and Working-Class Subjectivities," Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture & Society 28, no. 1 (2016): 57-72.

"The Convergence of Eco-Activism, Neoliberalism, and Reality TV in Whale Wars," Journal of Film and Video 76, no. 3-4 (2015): 94-111.

"Anarchist Aesthetics and U.S. Video Activism," in Jump Cut 56 (Winter 2014-2015). 

Breaking the Spell

Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Videotape Guerrillas, and Digital Ninjas (PM Press 2017). Podcast interview.

Left of Hollywood

Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture (U of Texas Press 2010)


Radical Film and New Media

Hollywood, Censorship, and Regulation

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