Associate Professor, Cinema and Media Studies
Research and Creative Interests
- Film Studies
- Sound and Cinema
- LGBTQ Studies
- Independent Cinema
- Underground Film
- Sexuality Studies
- Gender Studies
- Exhibtion Studies
- Sound Studies
- Popular Music History
King’s College London, PhD
University of East Anglia, M.A.
Evergreen State College, B.A.
Ryan Powell is associate professor of Cinema and Media Studies at The Media School, Indiana University, where he is also affiliated faculty with the departments of Gender Studies, American Studies, and The Cultural Studies Program. His research and teaching interests span film and video historiography; minor and microcinemas; audiovisual media in socio-sexual culture; queer theory, history and politics; cultural geography (with a focus on non and anti-metropolitan modalities); intersections between industrial and non-industrial cinema; spatiality and representation; and independent, underground and experimental cultural production and performance.
His book, titled Coming Together: The Cinematic Elaboration of Gay Male Life, 1945-1979 (University of Chicago Press, 2019), is focused on questions of film historiography, with specific interests in areas such as: the relationship between ‘gay cinema’ and gay movement politics in the post world-war II years; non- and anti-metropolitan elaborations of queer space; the use of film exhibition in the formation of publics and counterpublics; and the use of cinematic sound in facilitating historically-specific modes of affective experience.
Powell is currently working on a research project that involves an exploration of how the personal art practice of mixtape making shaped a variety of material found in 90s cinema cycles (queer road movies, mid-budget independent dramas, video diaries). A key concern is how the modernist-romantic mode engaged in mixtape making operated in the 90s as a form of relational expressivity that worked both in and against industrial conventions common to the radio, record, and film industries. A primary interest is how this resulted in new forms of filmic construction that perhaps owe more to ideas of pop music radio formatting, and its reconfiguration in mixtape making, then to filmic conventions. Another area of interest involves ironic-romantic uses of music in film that complicate conflations between irony and nihilism, opening on to a deeper history of ironic expressivity as a form of social cohesion.
Coming Together: The Cinematic Elaboration of Gay Male Life, 1945-1979 (University of Chicago Press, 2019). https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo38871025.html
“Hardcore Style, Queer Heteroeroticism, and After Dark.” Feminist Media Histories, Vol. 5/No. 2 (Spring 2019). 111-147.
“The Persistence of the Sad Young Man.” Cinema Journal, Vol. 57/Issue 2 (Winter 2018). 158-161.
“Bijou (Wakefield Poole, 1972).” Porn Studies, Vol. 4.3 (Fall 2017). 280-288.
“Nowhere Home: Radical Gay Rurality in Song of the Loon (1970).” Little Joe: A Magazine About Queers and Cinema, Vol. 1/Issue 1 (May 2010). 58-68.
“Disco’s Suck: Discophobia and the Foreclosure of Blow Job Temporality in Looking for Mr. Goodbar.” Disco! Global and Temporal Expanses of Music, Dance, and Style. Ed. Michael Lawrence. Durham: Duke University Press (forthcoming).
“Gothic Spatiality and the Limits of Gay Visibility in The Boys in the Band.” The Boys in the Band: Flashpoints of Cinema, History, and Queer Politics. Ed. Matt Bell. (Detroit:Wayne State University Press, 2016). 88-112.
“Queer Interstates: Cultural Geography and Social Contact in Kansas City Trucking Co. and El Paso Wrecking Corp.” Queering the Countryside: New Frontiers in Rural Queer Studies. Eds. Mary L. Gray, Colin R. Johnson and Brian Gilley. (New York: NY Press, 2016). 181-202.
“Dressing Pink Narcissus (1970).” Rare Birds of Paradise: Costume as Cinematic Spectacle. Ed. Marketa Uhlirova. (London: KONIG, 2014), 306-313.
“Liberation in Motion.” The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome. Special Edition DVD Collection Book. (London: British Film Institute, 2012). 1-3.
Film and Video Curation
Powell is the curator for the ongoing IU Cinema series Queer Disorientations.
For more information see https://cinema.indiana.edu/upcoming-films/series/queer-disorientations
- Queer Cinema and Beyond
- Sound and Cinema
- American Independent Cinema
- Hollywood II
- Media Theories
- Queer Media Histories
- Introduction to Cultural Studies