Chris Robé

Chris Robe



Phone: (561) 297-1306

PhD, Film and Media Studies/Literature, Lehigh University

Areas of Expertise
Film and Media Studies, Historical Materialism, Cultural Studies, Media Activism and Community Media.

Robé's primary research concerns the use of media by various communities and 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.

He has written about U.S. radical film culture in the 1930s in his book Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture (U of Texas Press, 2010). Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Videotape Guerrillas, and Digital Ninjas (PM Press, 2017) explores the emergence of anarchist-based video activism. His co-edited collection with Stephen Charbonneau InsUrgent Media from the Front: A Media Activism Reader (Indiana University Press, 2020) investigates global trends in media activism through a historic lens. His most recent book Abolishing Surveillance: Digital Media Activism and State Repression (PM Press, 2023) concerns the relationship between video/digital media activism and state repression pertaining to animal rights campaigns, counter-summit protesting, Latinx copwatching and community organizing, and Muslim-American youth resistance. If you would like to set up a speaking engagement related to the newest book, feel free to contact his via email. 

His new research concerns three areas of interest: conservative digital media activism—particularly related to Florida; street art, graffiti, and political murals mediating tensions around Brexit, neoliberalism, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland; and continuing archival research for a long-term project related to Raymond Williams’ work on film and television.

Robé occasionally scribble for Cineaste and the online journal PopMatters.

He feels 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

New Book"Abolishing Surveillance: Digital Media Activism and State  Repression," PM Press (2023)  



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

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

“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)

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

Left of Hollywood

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



Talks & Interviews

“Insurgent Media from the Front: Past and Present Stories of Media Activism,” New York University, Spring 2021. 

Podcast interview with Chris Robé and Stephen Charbonneau on Insurgent Media from the Front. 

“Out of the Ashes and into Academia: Labor Organizing in the Academy,” Aca-Media podcast, August 2020.

Interview on Breaking the Spell on The New Architects, May 2017.

Interview on Breaking the Spell on Raging Chicken podcast, November 2017.


Radical Film and New Media

Hollywood, Censorship, and Regulation

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