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 social movements. In the twenty-first century, media does not simply offer a representational platform for different communities, but more importantly serves as a material practice to engage in collective struggles for a wide variety of purposes. 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 Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Jump Cut, Framework, 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. Our new book: with Stephen Charbonneau, InsUrgent Media from the Front: A Media Activism Reader (2020).

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 conducting archival research for a long-term project related to Raymond Williams’ work on film and television. Future research also concerns investigating Far Right uses of digital media as platforms for collective action.

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

“Dossier on Connective and Collective Practices: Small Media Activism in the Twenty-First Century,” Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media (2021).

With Stephen Charbonneau, InsUrgent Media from the Front: A Media Activism Reader (2020)

InSurgent Media

“El Grito de Sunset Park: Cop Watching, Community Organizing, and Video Activism,”JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies (2020)

With Todd Wolfson, “Reflections on the Inheritances of Indymedia in the Age of Surveillance and Social Media,” Media, Culture & Society (2020)

“Adjusting the Focus on Somali-Americans: 'First Person Plural' and 'Muslim Youth Voices,'” Pop Matters (April 2019)

“Bill Gunn's 'Personal Problems' and a History of the Video Revolution,” Pop Matters (January 2019)

“Making Connections: Report on Radical Film Network Conference, New York City, May 3-5, 2017," Jump Cut (Spring 2018)

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


Radical Film and New Media

Hollywood, Censorship, and Regulation

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