Hunter Vaughn
Title: Associate Professor
Office: 530 O'Dowd Hall
Phone: 248.370.4131

From USC's School of Cinematic Arts to the University of Oxford's department of Modern Languages, Associate Professor Hunter Vaughan has cultivated an interdisciplinary career rooted in the social, political, and ecological impact of philosophy and visual culture.  He has published on issues of media and environmental conservation, ecocriticism, identity politics in media, transnational cinema and geopolitics, and film-philosophy.  He has taught in Oxford, Paris, Rome, and at Washington University in St. Louis, and is the recipient of USC’s Renaissance Prize, the Dora Maar Fellowship, Oakland University’s Innovations in Teaching Grant, and a 2017 Rachel Carson Center Fellowship.

Dr. Vaughan’s first book, Where Film Meets Philosophy (Columbia University Press, 2013), explores film's philosophical potential to change our vision and understanding of the world, through a comparative study of the works of Alain Resnais and Jean-Luc Godard.  His current research and teaching focuses on the environmental ramifications of the media industry and screen culture.  In 2013, he co-founded and is currently co-chair of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies' “Media and the Environment” Scholarly Interest Group, and was on the committee that successfully lobbied for Detroit to host the 2017 Association for Studies of Literature and the Environment (ASLE) conference.  He spearheaded the founding of the Journal of Environmental Media (Intellect Press), currently in progress to launch in 2019.  His current book project, Hollywood's Dirtiest Secret (Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2019), presents an ecocritical counter-narrative to American cinema history, merging industry and archive study, production studies, textual analysis, field work, and environmental studies to analyze the ecological ramifications of media production.  This project explores and challenges the popular connection between the green and digital revolutions, and offers an environmental critique of production practices from Classical Hollywood to emerging digital media technologies.

In addition, Dr. Vaughan co-edited, with Tom Conley, The Anthem Handbook of Screen Theory (Anthem Press, 2018), a collection of essays that move film theory toward a broader twenty-first century landscape of new media and changing sociocultural perspectives.  He is also co-author, with Meryl Shriver-Rice, of Screen Life and Identity: a Guide to Film and Media Studies (Cognella Press, 2017), which aims to introduce students to screen media through issues of identity and social difference.  His next project, titled ‘Mediated Heritage,’ explores ways in which site-specific media installations are being integrated into urban spaces, cinematheques and film museums, and archaeological sites to shape issues of heritage and collective memory through new forms of communication.  Focusing on major heritage and screen culture institutions in France and Italy, this study will combine ethnography, data mapping, and media and heritage studies to look at the innovative use of screen and digital media in the preservation and narration of local and national history, material culture, and identity.

B.A., Cinematic Arts; B.A., History, University of Southern California
M.A., Modern European Literature, University of Sussex
Ph.D., Modern Languages, University of Oxford

Areas of study

  • Media and the Environment
  • Identity Studies in Visual Culture
  • Heritage and Film Cultures (esp. French and Italian)
  • Screen Theory and Philosophy
Select Courses
  • CIN 150: Introduction to Film
  • CIN 302: Film History -- New Waves and Beyond
  • CIN 314: French Film Culture
  • CIN 315: Film Theory and Criticism
  • CIN 450 Capstone: Ecocinema
  • HC 201: Film and Philosophy
  • CIN 450: Ecocinems
  • ENG 600: Identity in American Film



Hollywood's Dirtiest Secret: the Hidden Costs of Our Screen Culture. New York:  University Press, forthcoming 2019.

The Anthem Handbook of Screen Theory
. With Tom Conley, ed. London: Anthem Press, 2018.

Screen Life and Identity
. With Meryl Shriver-Rice. San Diego: Cognella Press, 2017.

Where Film Meets Philosophy: Godard, Resnais, and Experiments in Cinematic Thinking
. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.

Select Articles and Book Chapters

“Past Present Palimpsest: The Filmic Folklore of May ’68 and the Fictions of Documentary Cinema,” (accepted and under revision, Studies in French Cinema).

“Debates: 1980-present,” The French Cinema Book 2nd ed. (ed. Michael Temple and Michael Witt, London: BFI, 2017).

"500,000 Kilowatts of Stardust: an Ecomaterialist Reframing of Singin' in the Rain," in Sustainable Media, ed. Nicole Starosielski and Janet Walker (New York and London: Routledge, 2016), 23-37.

 “Centripetal and Centrifugal Systems: Currents in Trans-Atlantic Film-Philosophy,” in Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 69, 3-4 (2013), 471-90. 

“The Philosophical War: Beyond the Cartesian Subject in Alain Resnais’ La Guerre est finie (1966)”, Studies in French Cinema, 11.2 (Summer 2011), 125-37.

“Mutants We All: Jean-Louis Schefer and our Cinematic Civilization,” SubStance, Issue 129, 41.3 (2012), 147-65.

“Re-Mapping Cinema for the Twenty-First Century: Globalism, Borders, and Bodies in the Films of      Lukas Moodysson,” Journal of European Popular Culture, 1.2 (Summer 2011), 109-21.

“The Paradox of Film: an Industry of Sex, a Form of Seduction (notes on Jean Baudrillard’s          Seduction and the Cinema),” Film and Philosophy 14.2 (November 2010), 41-61.