Film and feminist theory scholar Dr. Karen Beckman has been appointed the inaugural Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Assistant Professor of Film Studies in SAS.
Dr. Beckman joined the faculty this academic year from the University of Rochester, where she was an assistant professor of English and film studies. In addition to her appointment in the department of the history of art, Dr. Beckman is also a member of Penn’s new program in cinema studies.
Dr. Beckman recently released her first book, Vanishing Women: Magic, Film, and Feminism, and has published articles on violence, criminalism, and the feminist response to the September 11th tragedy. She is currently pursuing several scholarly projects including a book exploring the link between terrorism and feminist politics; an edited collection, Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography; and a book-length composition examining car-crash films.
Aside from her published scholarship, Dr. Beckman has organized and participated in a number of lectures in recent years. Immediately following the September 11th attacks, she coordinated a series of events focused on artistic and literary responses to terrorism in America. More recently, she chaired the Between Photography and Cinema: Memory, History, Nation panel of the 2004 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Dr. Beckman has also been consulted by BBC television for an upcoming documentary, The History of Magic.
Last fall, she taught a seminar on contemporary film theory as well as a two-semester course, Issues in Contemporary Art and the Art of Curating Cinema and the Other Arts. This interdisciplinary course introduced students to the major issues and movements in film and electronic media in addition to affording them the opportunity to design and produce an exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art.
Dr. Beckman holds her Ph.D. from Princeton and her B.A. from Cambridge University. Her doctoral dissertation was recognized with the Council of Graduate Schools/University Microfilms International Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Fine Arts and Humanities.
This chair was established in 1995 by Elliot S. Jaffe, W ’49, and his wife Roslyn. The Jaffes are the founders of the well-known clothing retailer Dress Barn, Inc., and Mr. Jaffe is a member of the SAS Board of Overseers. Among their many contributions to Penn, the Jaffes made possible the renovation of the building at 3405 Woodland Walk, now known as the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe History of Art Building.
Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 19, February 1, 2005