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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Emma Withers is a Film Studies scholar whose primary research interests include popular genres, technology, gender and sexuality, digital culture, narrative theory, haptic theory, phenomenology, embodiment and special effects.

She was awarded her PhD in 2017 by the University of Sussex for her thesis on the representation of virtual reality in Hollywood science fiction cinema. Her thesis sought to question implicit and explicit boundaries between narrative and spectacle and their functions as part of cinematic experience. She has recently published on the diegetic representation of digital technologies in Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days, and is currently writing about posthumanism in relation to the genre films of Claire Denis.

In general her work predominantly focuses on science fiction films, in particular how this and other genres can work to disrupt boundaries between human and technology, narrative and spectacle, diegetic and non-diegetic, the cognitive and sensory aspects of spectatorship.

Approach to teaching

Emma’s teaching practice is influenced both by her research and her experience in teaching a range of degree courses including Film Studies, Humanities, Media Studies and Journalism.

She currently teaches a range of core and optional modules in Film & Screen Studies that focus on theory, history and industry.

Supervisory Interests

Emma is particularly interested in supervising research projects that address one or more of the following areas:

  • Science fiction and horror
  • AI, posthumanism and cyborgs
  • Phenomenological or haptic reading practices
  • Identity and representation
  • Gender, sexuality and sexual politics
  • Special effects
  • Narrative and spectacle
  • Cinema and digital culture

The above is indicative but not exhaustive. Feel free to email Emma if you would like to discuss supervision of your project.

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