Research Centre for Film and Digital Media

Staff Profile

Dr Andrew Shail

Senior Lecturer in Film


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 Interests

My research falls into four major areas: 1) early cinema and cinema culture, 2) the literary and cultural landscape of the period 1880-1930, including both popular fiction and modernism, 3) Hollywood since 1975, and 4) the history of menstruation.

Current Work

I'm currently writing a book on the emergence of the film star system in Europe (yes, it started here) and North America in the period 1909-1911, and researching a book on collectivist politics amongst realist and naturalist writers in the 1890-1930 period, and a history of the 'discovery' of the purpose of menstruation during the long nineteenth century.

Future Research

I plan to shortly begin compiling a multi-volume, multi-authored History of the Cinema in Britain. Other projects include articles on the shared origins of cinema and the short story, and an analysis of crossovers between popular ideas about cinema and the 'minority' film discourse of film thory.

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 literature and film, popular cinema culture, or contemporary Hollywood. I am also keen to supervise work on late-Victorian and Edwardian culture, modernism, literary renditions of time, and the history of menstruation.
Students wishing to write their PhD on Victorian/Edwardian visual culture may also wish to consider coming to Newcastle, as Tyne & Wear archives holds two major collections of primary material on North East entertainments (roughly 12,000 items).


Undergraduate Teaching

Module convenor for SEL2207 Modernisms (stage 2)
Module convenor for SEL2210 Independent Research Project (stage 2)
Module convenor for SEL3319 The Spielberg Generation (stage 3)
Team member for SEL1003 Introduction to Literary Studies I, SEL1030 Approaches to Reading and SEL1023 Transformations

Postgraduate Teaching

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