Our Faculty

Colin Williamson

Assistant Professor

Dyson College of Arts and Sciences

Film and Screen Studies

Location
  • @New York City
Office Hours
New York City

Tue (by appointment)

Thu (by appointment)

Biography


Colin Williamson is a film historian who studies pre- and early cinema, animation and special effects, film theory, science and the cinema, and questions of power and politics in nonfiction film and visual anthropology. He also has a background in film and video production and archiving, and worked in Hollywood as a post-production assistant at New Line Cinema. He is currently a reviews editor for Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal and serves on the Executive Committee of Domitor, The International Society for the Study of Early Cinema.

Education


PhD , The University of Chicago , 2013
Cinema and Media Studies

BA , The University of California, Santa Barbara , 2006
Film Studies

Awards and Honors

  • Wolf Humanities Center, University of Pennsylvania, 2017 - Regional Faculty Fellow
  • Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, 2016 - Visiting Fellow
  • Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University, 2013 - Associate Fellow
  • The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2013 - Visiting Scholar
  • Mellon Foundation, 2012 - Dissertation-Year Fellowship

Publications


Williamson, C. J. The Politics of Vanishing Celluloid: Rediscovering Fort Rupert and the Kwakwaka'wakw in American Ethnographic Film. Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film. Duke University Press.

Williamson, C. J. Uncanny Effigies: Sound Cinema and Mystery of the Wax Museum. The Many Cinemas of Michael Curtiz. University of Texas Press.

Williamson, C. J. (2017, October (4th Quarter/Autumn)). The Curious Case of Sherlock Holmes. Hamlet Lives in Hollywood: John Barrymore and the Acting Tradition Onscreen. Edinburgh University Press.

Williamson, C. J. 'An escape into reality': Computers, Special Effects, and the Haunting Spectacle of Westworld (1973). Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies.

Williamson, C. J. (2016). Reclaiming Lost Films: The American Film Company and the Paper Print Fragment Collection at the Library of Congress. The Moving Image. Vol 16 (Issue 1)

Williamson, C. J. (2016, October (4th Quarter/Autumn)). Quicker Than the Eye? Sleight of Hand and Cinemas of Scientific Discovery from Chronophotography to Cognitive Film Theory. Leonardo, Journal of Arts, Sciences, and Technology. Vol 59 (Issue 5)

Williamson, C. J. (2015). Walter Benjamin: Afterimages of the Aura. Murray Pomerance and R. Barton Palmer (Eds.), Thinking in the Dark: Cinema, Theory, Practice. New Brunswick, NJ, United States: Rutgers University Press.

Williamson, C. J. (2015, October (4th Quarter/Autumn)). Hidden in Plain Sight: An Archaeology of Magic and the Cinema. New Brunswick, NJ, United States: Rutgers University Press.

Williamson, C. J. (2015, May). Spectacular Digital Effects: CGI and Contemporary Cinema, by Kristen Whissel. Vol 35 (Issue 2)

Williamson, C. J. (2014). Translations of Giorgio Agamben, “For an Ethics of the Cinema” and “Cinema and History: On Jean-Luc Godard".

Williamson, C. J. (2014, May). Between Still and Moving Images: Photography and Cinema in the 20th Century, eds. Laurent Guido and Olivier Lugon. Vol 34 (Issue 2)

Williamson, C. J. (2013, September). Beyond the Screen: Institutions, Networks, and Publics of Early Cinema, eds. Marta Braun, Charles Keil, Rob King, Paul Moore, and Louis Pelletier. Vol 33 (Issue 3)

PRESENTATIONS


Williamson, C. J. (2018, March 14). Society for Cinema and Media Studies. "An escape into reality”: Computers, Special Effects, and the Haunting Optics of Westworld (1973). SCMS, Toronto, ON

Williamson, C. J. (2017, October 31). Mellon Seminar . The Afterlives of Science and Technology in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Wolf Humanities Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Williamson, C. J. (2017, September 26). Mellon Seminar. (Re)Animating Early Film History: Dead Media and the Art of Visual Education. Wolf Humanities Center, University of Pennsylvania

Williamson, C. J. (2017, May 3). Arts and Aesthetics Seminar. The Slow Dance of Time: Visual Education and John Ott's Postwar Popular Science Filmmaking. Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Williamson, C. J. (2017, March 22). Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. The Politics of Vanishing Celluloid: Rediscovering Fort Rupert and the Kwakwaka'wakw in American Ethnographic Film. Chicago, IL

Williamson, C. J. (2016, April 2). Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Dramatized Natural History: Virtuosity, Special Effects, and Machine Interest in Contemporary Popular Science Films.

Williamson, C. J. (2016, April 2). Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Renewing the Ciné-Genre: Pasts and Futures.

Williamson, C. J. (2015, November 14). Harbaugh Club Formal. The Eye of the Century: Cinema and the Liberal Arts. Franklin and Marshall College

Williamson, C. J. (2015, October 21). Marshall Fellows Seminar. The Word. Is Reading Dead or More Alive Than Ever?. Franklin and Marshall College

Williamson, C. J. (2015, July 29). Great Works Symposium. Science, Technology, and Wonder in the Cinema. Drexel University

Williamson, C. J. (2014, June 21). International Domitor Conference for the Study of Early Cinema. Cinematic Archaeology: Wonder and the Digital Image as an Archive of Early Cinema. Domitor

Williamson, C. J. (2014, April 19). Illustration, Comics, and Animation Conference . Breathing Life Into Early Animated Films. Dartmouth College

Williamson, C. J. (2014, March 19). Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Animating the Animate: The Artful Science of John Ott and Nature Films in the 1950s.

Williamson, C. J. (2013, November 5). The Magic of Special Effects Conference. The Troubled Heart of Magic: Detection and Automation from Trick Films to CGI. Université de Montréal

Williamson, C. J. (2013, March 6). Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. An Archaeology of 'Seeing Vision': Optical Devices and the Investigation of Wonder from Chronophotography to Cognitive (Neuro)Science. Chicago

RESEARCH INTEREST


Professor Williamson's research focuses primarily on aesthetics, intermediality, and visual education in the proto-cinema and early cinema periods, but he works broadly in the study of animation and special effects, the history of science and the cinema, media archaeology, and visual anthropology. He is particularly interested in historicizing “new” media, as well as exploring questions about the power, politics, and epistemologies of moving images. He is the author of numerous articles and chapters on early animation, scientific visualization, Walter Benjamin, the cinema's transition to sound, race and visual anthropology, and the Paper Print Collections at the Library of Congress. His first book, Hidden in Plain Sight: An Archaeology of Magic and the Cinema (Rutgers University Press, 2015) relates the aesthetics of wonder in early cinema to long histories of how audiences have navigated uncertainties about technological innovations in moving image culture from philosophical toys to CGI. He is currently working on a study of politics and visual education in the sciences that has broader implications for the current landscape of moving images and pedagogical innovation in higher education.

Grants, Sponsored Research and Contracts

UNIVERSITY SERVICE

  • Academic Resources Committee [Committee Member]
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