The Face of Recognition: Politics and Aesthetics of Facial Representation from Silent Cinema to Cognitive Neuroscience


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Literature / Film Studies


This dissertation constructs a genealogy of representations of the human face in the theory and practice of cinema and new media. Beginning with the close-up of the face in silent world cinema, it proceeds through a series of transformative moments in the history of facial representation: classical and post-classical Hollywood, experimental cinema of the 1960s and early 70s, contemporary new media art, and, finally, its use as a stimulus for the imaging techniques of cognitive neuroscience. By tracking the fate of this singular object across such a broad sweep of film and media history, this project yields a uniquely powerful archive for thinking about the political and aesthetic dimensions of recognition in cinema and its digital afterlives.