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, and at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the recipient of USC’s Renaissance Prize, the Dora Maar Fellowship, and Oakland University’s Innovations in Teaching Grant, and is a 2017 Rachel Carson Center Fellow.

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.  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 a journal on media and the environment currently in progress and hoping to launch in 2017.  His current book project, Hollywood's Dirtest Secret (Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2018), 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 media technologies.

In addition, Dr. Vaughan is co-editing, with Tom Conley, The Film Theory Handbook (Anthem Press, under contract and expected 2018), a collection of essays that move the field of 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: an Introduction to Media Studies (Cognella Press, under contract and expected 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 and archaeological sites to shape issues of heritage and collective memory through new forms of science communication.  This study will combine ethnography, data mapping, and media and heritage studies to look at the innovative use of screen and digital media in Italian preservation and narration of local and national history, material culture, and identity.

B.A., University of Southern California
M.A., University of Sussex
Ph.D., University of Oxford

Areas of study

  • Media and the Environment
  • Film Theory and Philosophy
  • Identity Studies in Media
Select Courses
  • CIN 150: Introduction to Film
  • CIN 302: Film History -- New Waves and Beyond
  • CIN 315: Film Theory and Criticism
  • CIN 450 Capstone: Ecocinema
  • HC 201: Film and Philosophy
  • ENG 600: Identity in American Film



Hollywood's Dirtiest Secret: the Hidden Costs of Our Screen Culture. New York:  University Press, forthcoming 2018.

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

"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 

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

 “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