Kara Keeling is Assistant Professor in the Division of Critical Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts and in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Her research has focused on African American film, theories of race, sexuality, and gender in cinema, critical theory, and cultural studies. Her current research involves issues of temporality, media and black and queer cultural politics; digital media, globalization, and difference; and Gilles Deleuze and liberation theory. Her book, The Witch's Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense (Duke University Press, 2007), explores the role of cinematic images in the construction and maintenance of hegemonic conceptions of the world and interrogates the complex relationships between cinematic visibility, minority politics, and the labor required to create and maintain alternative organizations of social life. She is co-editor (with Colin MacCabe and Cornel West) of a selection of writings by the late James A. Snead entitled European Pedigrees/ African Contagions: Racist Traces and Other Writing and author of several articles that have appeared in the journals Qui Parle, The Black Scholar, Women and Performance, and elsewhere.
Prior to joining the faculty at USC, Keeling worked as an assistant professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), an adjunct assistant Professor of Women's Studies at Duke University, and a visiting assistant professor of Art and Africana Studies at Williams College. At UNC, she was a Spray-Randleigh Fellow and a Fellow at the Institute for Arts and Humanities. She also held a Carolina Postdoctoral Fellowship for two years after graduating with a PhD in Critical and Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh's Film Studies Program in the Department of English.
In the summer of 2005, Keeling participated in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on African Cinema in Dakar, Senegal. She currently serves as an Elected Representative to the Modern Language Association’s Division on Film and on the editorial boards of the journals Cultural Studies and American Quarterly, where she is a managing editor.
Ph.D. Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Pittsburgh
Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001-2002
Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History
Tenure Track Appointments
Associate Professor of Critical Studies and African American Studies, University of Southern California, 2010-
Assistant Professor of Critical Studies and African American Studies, University of Southern California, 2007-2010
Assistant Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003-2007
Visiting and Temporary Appointments
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Art History, Williams College,
Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001-2003
Description of Research
Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Africana Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, with focus on Third Cinema, African American, African, and feminist film and media; theories and practices of Black liberation; radical imaginaries.
The Witch's Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Snead, J. A., Keeling, K., MacCabe, C., West, C.
Racist Traces and Other Writings: European Pedigrees, African Contagions- Selected Writings of James A. Snead. Palgrave McMillan.
Honors and Awards
USC Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2008-2009
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on African Cinema, 6/2005-7/2005
Service to the Profession
Member, Information Technology Committee of the Society for Film and Media Studies (SCMS), 2008-
Chair, Modern Language Association's Division on Film, 2008-2009
Editorships and Editorial Boards
Editorial Board Member, Feminist Media Studies, 2011-
Managing Editor, American Quarterly, 2008-
Editorial Board Member, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 2007-
Editorial Board Member, Cultural Studies, 2007-
Association for Cultural Studies, 2010-
American Studies Association, 2001-
Modern Language Association, 1995-
Society for Cinema and Media Studies, 1995-