Research Centre for Film

Staff Profile

Dr Andrew Shail

Senior Lecturer in Film

Background

I am a historian of the cultural landscape of the 1890-1930 period, specialising in the emergence of cinema in Europe and North America. I am editor of the journal Early Popular Visual Culture and a champion of the importance of local archives to an accurate history of culture.

All three of my degrees are from Exeter University, home of the astounding Bill Douglas Cinema Museum. I have been a lecturer at Northumbria University and a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford, as well as a visiting fellow at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

Research

Research Interests

My research falls into four major areas: 1) the media landscape of Europe in the period 1880-1930, including cinema and literature, 2) Hollywood since 1975, 3) religious belief during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and 4) the history of menstruation. I am also a regular guest on the Audiovisual Cultures podcast. Episode 45 features me on my research on the origins of the film star system. A sample of my book The Origins of the Film Star System (2019) is available here.

Google Scholar Citations

Current Work

I am currently writing a book on religious privilege in contemporary anglophone culture and researching both early cinema culture in the North East of England and the 'discovery' of the purpose of menstruation during the long nineteenth century.

Future Research

Forthcoming projects include testing changes in live entertainment forms during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries against evolutionary models of how new media emerge, which I plan to use as the basis for a new multi-volume, multi-author history of cinema in the British Isles. Other future projects include articles on film discourse during the 1910s, the Ghostbusters franchise and the history of time travel in prose fiction, and a book on the place of willing suspension of disbelief in religious practice. My long-awaited account of the emergence of the super hero in the interwar period will continue to be awaited for a while longer.

Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome applications from prospective research students in any area of anglophone film history, particularly those hoping to specialise in early cinema, points of contact between cinema and other media, popular cinema culture, or contemporary Hollywood. I am also keen to supervise work on late-Victorian and Edwardian culture in general, literary modernism, cultural representations of time, and the history of menstruation. Newcastle is an ideal place for a PhD on Victorian/Edwardian visual culture in particular, as Tyne & Wear Archives holds two major collections of advertising for nineteenth- and twentieth-century popular entertainments - the Wood and Fenwick collections - totalling roughly 12,000 items.

Teaching

Undergraduate Teaching

Module convenor for SEL3037 Religion in Recent US Film (stage 3)

Postgraduate Teaching

Degree Programme Co-Director for the MA in Film: Theory & Practice, and module convenor for various modules on this programme

Publications