Research and Creative Interests
- Melvin Van Peebles
- France in the 1960s
- American Film History
- African American cinema
- Media Theory
- narrative theory
- Social Theory
Sam Smucker is a Ph.D. student at Indiana University in The Media School. He received an M.A. in Media Theory and Research at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He recently completed an M.A. Thesis entitled “The Baadasssss and The Avant-Garde: The Radical Politics and Aesthetics of Melvin Van Peebles” on Van Peebles’s life in France from 1960 to 1968 and its impact on his filmmaking. His research interests include African-American film and its international connections, critical theory, narrative theory, and French Cinema. He previously worked as a union organizer and as a Director of Acquisitions for Strand Releasing.
“The Baadasssss and The Avant-Garde: The Radical Politics and Aesthetics of Melvin Van Peebles.” Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. May 2019.
“The Class Consciousness of Union Organizers.” The University of Illinois at Chicago. May 1994.
Papers and Presentations at Professional Conferences
“Melvin Van Peebles and the Two Avant-Grades: The Political Aesthetics of Distribution and Exhibition of Three Pick-Up Men for Herrick.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference.
“Why No Genres? Industry Cycles in Films with Black Lead Actors in the 1970s.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference.
“Melvin Van Peebles’s Lumpenproletarian Folk Hero.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. (Accepted)
“Le Baadasssss: Melvin Van Peebles and the French New Wave.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Seattle, WA
“The Meanings of Production: The Ideological Effects of Private Ownership.” Seminar presentation. Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Seattle, WA
“The Guy Who Knows What He’s Talking About: Melvin Van Peebles in France.” Film and History Conference. Madison, WI
“Union Organizing among Film and Television Production Workers in Los Angeles.” Union for Democratic Communications Conference. Chicago, IL
“Expanded Time: Time-Setting Variation in Wide Release Films in the U.S.” Popular Culture Conference, Indianapolis, IN
“Moral Choices and Social Mobility in Lady Bird and The Graduation.” Film Criticism Journal, Volume 42, Issue 3, 2018 https://quod.lib.umich.edu/f/fc/13761232.0042.310?view=text;rgn=main
“Reporters gain security with union contracts in digital newsrooms.” Gateway Journalism Review, January 8, 2018. http://gatewayjr.org/2018/01/09/reporters-gain-security-with-union-contracts-in-digital-newsrooms/
“Representations of labor in cinema: Skvirsky’s The Process Genre reveals that which was always there.” JumpCut 61. Summer 2022. https://www.ejumpcut.org/currentissue/SamSmucker/index.html
“Sid Bedingfield’s Newspaper Wars: Civil Rights and White Resistance in South Carolina, 1935-1965 [Book Review].” Gateway Journalism Review. Winter 2018.
Spring 2022 MSCH 212 Screening Race and Ethnicity, Instructor
Fall 2021. MSCH 331: Scriptwriting, Instructor
Summer 2021 MSCH 212: Screening Race and Ethnicity, Instructor
Spring 2021 MSCH 331: Scriptwriting, Instructor
Fall 2020 MSCH 331: Scriptwriting, Instructor
Summer 2020 MSCH 212: Screening Race and Ethnicity, Instructor
Spring 2020 MSCH 101: Introduction to Media, Assistant Instructor
Fall 2019 MSCH 212: Screening Race and Ethnicity. Assistant Instructor (Prof. Terri Francis)
Spring 2019 CP 466: Film Styles and Genres: French Cinema. Instructor
Spring 2018 CP 400: Cinema Production. Teaching Assistant.
Fall 2017 CP 400: Cinema Production. Teaching Assistant.