People

Dr. David Christopher

Lecturer in Popular Screen Cultures

School/Department: Arts, School of; History of Art and Film

Email: dc435@leicester.ac.uk

Profile

I received my Ph.D. in the Critical Cultural Studies of Media and Cinema from the University of Victoria (Canada) in 2019. I also hold an MA in Film Studies, an MA in Theatre History, and a BA Honours in English Literature. Before joining the University of Leicester, I taught in the areas of cultural studies, film history, and media theory at The University of Victoria, the University of the Fraser Valley (Canada) and the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (China). For these endeavours I was awarded Fellowship in the UKPSF Advance Higher Education (FHEA).

My research has covered the ideology and cultural studies of digital cinema, Canadian cinema, anarchist cinema, international science fiction and apocalypse cinema, horror video games and cinema, reception and perception analyses, theatre history, and media studies more broadly.

I welcome inquiries and applications towards the supervision of graduate studies in any of these areas of study.

Research

The study of media and culture generally, and cinema specifically, is a field of increasing importance in an era in which students are witness to a tectonic shift in electronically mediated social relations and the destabilized global-capitalist socio-political environments in which they emerge. An understanding of the cumulative impact of modern media is paramount for responsible global cultural citizenship and the development of a global ideology that can move progressively towards a sustainable and equitable social, political, and ecological economy. Governed by the above considerations, my research has been a history of diverse scholarly inquiries that were coextensive with my varied disciplinary affiliations.

My specific dissertation project is an historical examination of the apocalypse and apocalyptic films of the so-called Toronto New Wave through the analytical lens of a Žižekian/anarchist theoretical paradigm that I argue is necessary for an accurate contemporary understanding of the socio-political import of Canadian cinema. As I state in my summary for the J. H. Stewart Reid Memorial Fellowship website, “Canadian cinema requires analytical tools that contribute to an understanding of both its socio-political underpinnings and the significance of its material conditions of production.” I wish “to understand the role media and cinema play in reproducing, subverting, or challenging contemporary political power dynamics.” The content of my dissertation establishes an anarchist-inflected methodological approach to the analysis of apocalyptic films and posit a specific progressive ideological mandate to their construction. Anarchist cultural studies are partly informed by certain strands of feminist theory, queer theory, and diaspora studies, and my work specifically situates them within the Canadian context. 

My broader dossier of publications are more immediately understood as contemporary media studies at the cusp of cultural studies and political economy, and demonstrate my abiding concern with the socio-political import and impact of media and cinema content. These include various influential works in such fields as ludic perception and ideology (Horror Video Games and the Ideological Implications of Ludic VR, Games and Culture, August 2022; Horror Video Games and the “Active-Passive” Debate, Games and Culture, April 2022); social mental health (Framing the Mentally Ill: An Anarchist-Theoretical Understanding of Two ‘Jokers,’ Bright Lights Film Journal, 2022); third cinema (Excrement, Garbage, and the City, CineAction, 2018); indigenous cinema (Subversive Horror, Patriarchal Poison, and Progressive Apocalypse in Jeff Barnaby’s Cinema, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, 2022); Soviet cinema (Subversive Impulses in Soviet Science-Fiction of the Great Terror, MOSF Journal of Science Fiction, 2016); and Bollywood Cinema (Shakespeare and Social Politics in New Millennium Bollywood, Film International, 2018); as well as such widely cited works as The Capitalist and Cultural Work of Apocalypse and Dystopia Film (CineAction, 2015), The Dialectic of Fantasy Displacement and Uncanny Allegory in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy (The Word Hoard, 2016), and Discourse of the Damned: Texts Regarding Canadian Horror Cinema (Intellect Horror Studies, 2016).

Current Research

Currently I am in the process of revisions to a book manuscript titled Anarchist Apocalypse and the Toronto New Wave (recently adapted from my dissertation) for its publication with the Edinburgh University Press. It includes the addition of newly focused chapters concerned with “Anarchist-Queering the Apocalypse” (which contains analyses of the early journalistic works of celebrated queer Canadian film-maker/scholar John Greyson) and “The Anarchist Critique of Technology” (which contains an analysis of an unpublished screenplay by Canadian director Vincenzo Natali for an unrealized film version of J.G. Ballard’s apocalyptic High-Rise).

In the position of virtual Visiting Scholar for 2021-22 to the Centre for Cinema and Media Studies at the University of British Columbia, I have begun collaborating on a book-length monograph regarding the cinema and cult reception of the works of Italian-American-Canadian auteur Vincenzo Natali with Prof. Ernest Mathijs, Head of the Centre. Our project intends the production of a feature-length, commercial-grade documentary to complement its book-length monograph with which Natali has already been participant.

I am also in the process of researching for two book-length monographs. The first of these is concerned with Technophilia and Technophobia in the Age of Convergence: Star Wars as a Touchstone for Contemporary Capitalist Commodity Fetishism based on research conducted for a recent course module I developed titled Star Wars: A Cultural History and for which I presented the findings at the XJTLU 2021-22 Department of Media and Communication Speakers’ Series. The second monograph considers The Rise of Chinese Science-Fiction as an extension of my research for a paper titled “Flexing Armageddon: Displaced Eco-Anxiety and Chinese Soft Patriarchal Power in Guo Fan’s The Wandering Earth” which is to be featured in an upcoming Special Edition of the ARTS Journal to be guest co-edited by myself and Dr. Marco Pelliteri from XJTLU. 

I am also collaborating in establishing and obtaining funding for the Media Health Project, an online periodical initiative spearheaded with Dr. Tabe Bergman, Deputy HoD in the XJTLU Department of Media and Communication and again with Prof. Ernest Mathijs. We have developed an analytical lens that deploys the pervasive metaphor of health to three pillars of research: health in media (representation), health of media (political economy), and health by media (participatory culture). Towards this initiative I am working on articles concerned with what I am referring to as Guerilla Satire, Alienation, and the Rebound Effect; The Network City (building on Castell’s theory of a Network Society and on Actor Network Theory more broadly); Advertising as Entertainment and the Commercial Colonization of the Social Sphere; Panic Journalism: Beyond the Fifth Filter in the Age of COVID-19; and Zombie Cinema in the Age of COVID-19 and the Social Media Scapegoat.

Recent Pedagogical Research

My work in this PGCert Program for U.K.-recognized HEA Accreditation includes imminent publications on the integration of interactive media affordances into pedagogical practice, and on my action research regarding student lecture and activities-oriented preferences, the latter of which is also scheduled for public presentation at the XJTLU Annual Teaching Colloquium in 2022.

Future Research Goals

Perhaps the most significant of these is comprised of the logical extension of analysis that my dissertation invites. A more global extension of the analytical theory introduced in my dissertation and book ms might attempt the application of my methodology to a wider berth of international apocalypse films in an effort to discover their diverse ideological underpinnings. Of particular interest are films from Korea and Australia. Korean film is currently undergoing a rise in international popularity and maintains a significant apocalyptic tradition. Similarly, the Australian cinema and mass communications industry is currently undergoing a rise in its international presence, and while its similarity to the Canadian situation in the global market has been commented upon, it has been largely unexplored.

Publications

(0)

Books

Technophilia and Technophobia in Star Wars. Forthcoming.

The Works of Vincenzo Natali and their Reception: Cult Audiences and Anarchist Revelations. Forthcoming.

Kissing This World Goodbye: Anarchist-Apocalypse in the Toronto New Wave. Forthcoming, Edinburgh University Press.

Articles

  • “Flipping the Flipped Classroom: Recovering the Good Lecture Model.” Intended for Taylor and Francis' Journal of Higher Education Research and Development.

  • “Flexing Armageddon: Displaced Eco-Anxiety and Chinese Soft Patriarchal Power in Guo Fan’s The Wandering Earth.” Co-Edited Special Edition (by Dr. David Christopher and Dr. Marco Pelliteri). ARTS Journal, 2023. (Forthcoming).

  • Subversive Horror, Patriarchal Poison, and Progressive Apocalypse in Jeff Barnaby’s Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013) and Blood Quantum (2018). Queued for print publication with Journal of Cinema and Media Studies (2022-3).

  • Christopher D., Leuszler A. Horror Video Games and the Ideological Implications of Ludic Virtual Reality. SAGE Games and Culture (May 2022).https://doi.org/10.1177/15554120221097414

  • Christopher D., Leuszler A. Horror Video Games and the “Active-Passive” Debate. SAGE Games and Culture(April 2022). https://doi.org/10.1177/15554120221088115

  • Framing the Mentally Ill: An Anarchist-Theoretical Understanding of Two ‘Jokers.’Bright Lights Film Journal(2022):

  • The Shakespeare Authorship Question: A Case Study in Bourdieuian Class Maintenance. Journal of English Literature and Language. 2:1 (2021). 1-17:https://doi.org/10.31829/2767-2964/jell2021-2(1)-104

  • Evil is the Root of All Money: Performing Usury and Homosocial Credit in Elizabethan/Jacobean England. Journal of English Literature and Language. 2:1 (2021). 1-10:https://doi.org/10.31829/2767-2964/jell2021-2(1)-105

  • Review: Skepticism Films: Knowing and Doubting the World in Contemporary Cinema. Canadian Journal of Film Studies. 27:2 (2019): 107-110.

  • Excrement, Garbage, and the City: An Ideological Battlefront in Canadian Apocalypse Cinema. CineAction 99: Politics and Film Now (2018):

  • Shakespeare and Social Politics in New Millennium Bollywood. Film International. 16:3 (2018): 63-79.

  • Patriarchal-Industrial Anxiety and the Eco-Critical Simian Monster. ARTiculate 2:2 (2017): 7-57.

  • The Dialectic of Fantasy Displacement and Uncanny Allegory in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. The Word Hoard 1:5 (2016): 96-114.

  • Zombieland and the Inversion of the Subaltern Zombie. Intellect Horror Studies. 7:1 (April 2016): 111-124.

  • Stalin’s ‘Loss of Sensation’: Subversive Impulses in Soviet Science-Fiction of the Great Terror. MOSF Journal of Science Fiction. 1:2 (May 2016): 18-35.

  • Discourse of the Damned: Texts Regarding Canadian Horror Cinema. Intellect Horror Studies 6:2 (2016): 283-303.

  • The Capitalist and Cultural Work of Apocalypse and Dystopia Film. CineAction 95: Global Nightmare: Horror and Apocalypse (2015): 56-65.

  • Insidious and the Return of the Negligent Parent: The Elm Street Kids Come of Age. The Word Hoard 1:3 (2015): 55-66.

  • The Tragedy of Modern Media in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. International Journal of Arts and Humanities 3:6 (2014): 88-90.

  • Whose Fault was the Holocaust that Never Occurred?: Made-for-Television Fantasies of Nuclear Displacement in the 1980s. Film International. 12:2 (2014): 18-30.

  • Constructions of Non-Diegetic Hope in Don McKellar’s Last Night (1998). CineAction 92 (2014): 60-3.

  • The Allegory of Apartheid and the Concealment of Race Relations in District 9. International Journal of Arts and Humanities. 2:2 (2013): 40-6.

  • Matthew Lewis’s The Monk and James Boaden’s Aurelio and Miranda – From Text to Stage. Theatre Notebook. 65:3 (2011): 152-170.

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Supervision

Before joining the University of Leicester, I taught in the areas of cultural studies, film history, and media theory at The University of Victoria, the University of the Fraser Valley (Canada) and the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (China). For these endeavours I awarded Fellowship in the UKPSF Advance Higher Education (FHEA).

At the University of Victoria, I worked as my departmental Teaching Assistant Consultant for five years. This position required the mentorship and quality control of between five and ten graduate students annually in their roles as Teaching Assistants for various courses across the curriculum.

At XJTLU, I was responsible for the development advisement, supervision, and grading of several Final Year Projects and Masters Dissertations.

Otherwise, my research has covered the ideology and cultural studies of cinema, digital cinema, Canadian cinema, anarchist cinema, international science fiction and apocalypse cinema, horror video games and cinema, reception and perception analyses, theatre history, and media studies more broadly.

I welcome inquiries and applications towards the supervision of graduate studies in any of these areas of study.

Teaching

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Courses Taught: 

  • COM 407 – Masters Seminar in Interactive and Emerging Media Technologies
  • COM 337 – Film Studies for the Digital Age

University of the Fraser Valley

Courses Taught:

  • MACS 110 – Introduction to Media and Mass Communications Theory
  • MACS 130 – Mass Communications in Canada
  • MACS 210 – History of Mass Communications
  • MACS 221 – Media and Popular Culture
  • MACS 230 – Canadian Cultural Industries in Mass Media
  • MACS 240 – Media, Money, and Power
  • MACS 299G – Star Wars: A Cultural History
  • MACS/JRNL 369 – Media Law and Ethics
  • MACS 399H – Canadian Cinema in its Media Industry
  • MACS 399I – Anarchist Cinema and Media Practices
  • MACS 490IS1 – Directed Study in Horror Video Games

University of Victoria

Courses Taught:

  • AHVS 370 – Canadian Cinema
  • AHVS 311 – Horror Video Games
  • AHVS 392 – Star Wars: A Cultural History
  • AHVS 392 – Anarchist Cinema
  • AHVS 392 – Dreams in Cinema
  • SLST 450 – The Cold War on Film
  • UNI 201 – Introduction to Film Studies

Awards

  • Jeffrey Rubinoff Scholar in Art as a Source of Knowledge Bursary: June 2017, June 2018, and June 2019
  • Departmental Nominee (declined) – UVic Andy Farquharson Teaching Excellence Award for Grad Students: 2015 / 2018
  • Departmental Nominee and University Selected Candidate – 3M National Student Fellowship Competition: 2016 and 2017
  • J. H. Stewart Reid Memorial National Fellowship: 2016/2017
  • SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship: September 2015 - August 2018
  • Howard E. Petch Research Scholarship: 2014/2015
  • University of Victoria Department of Art History and Visual Studies Doctoral Fellowship: Sept. 2014 - Aug. 2015
  • University of Victoria Department of History in Art Doctoral Fellowship: Jan. 2014 - Aug. 2014

Conferences

Global Research Institute of Paris Annual Conference - Globalisation culturelle alternative: de l’Asie de l’Est à l’Europe

  • 14-16 December 2022: “Flexing Armageddon: Displacing Climate Change Anxiety through Soft Power Nationalist Interests in GuoFan’s The Wandering Earth (2019).”

IAMCR - XJTLU Pre-Conference

  • 9-10 July 2022: “Flexing Armageddon: Displacing Climate Change Anxiety through Soft Power Nationalist Interests in GuoFan’s The Wandering Earth (2019).”

XJTLU EDU Community of Practice Speakers Series – Blended Learning in Different Disciplines

  • 29 June 2022: “H5P and Digital Escape Rooms on the LMO.”
  • 2 March 2022: “Trials and Tribulations in Integrating Technology into the Hyflex.”

XJTLU - Annual Education Transformation Conference

  • 2 June 2022: “Flipping the Flipped Classroom: Action Research in Student Preferences in Lectures vs. Interactive Activities.”

XJTLU Dept. of Media and Communication - Speakers Series

  • 16 May 2022: “Technophilia and Technophobia in the Age of Convergence: Star Wars as a Touchstone for the Contemporary State of Capitalist Fetishism.”

Visual Impetus University of Victoria Department of Art History and Visual Studies

  • Jan. 2022: Distinguished Alumni Keynote: Flexing Armageddon: Displaced Eco-Anxiety and National Interests in Guo Fan’s The Wandering Earth.
  • Jan. 2018: Anarchist and Apocalyptic Impulses in the Films of David Cronenberg
  • Jan. 2017: Keynote Address Dreams in Cinema – Memory, Materiality, and the Beginning of History
  • Jan. 2016: Anarcho-Apocalyptic Cinema Theory and the Toronto New Wave
  • Jan. 2014: Canadian Horror and Apocalypse Cinema: an Unlikely Medium for the Negotiation of National Identity
  • Oct. 2012: Monstrous Simians and the Postmodern Re-signification of Images

NYU Cinema Studies Virtual Conference – [Frames (Windows (Mirrors))]

  • 19-20 February 2021: “The Doors of Perception: Horror Video Games and the Ideological Implications of VR.”

University of Fraser Valley – EHSAAS Film Festival: Indian Cinema and Shakespeare

  • 4 March 2020: Lecture and Discussion of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool (2003)

Annual Invitational Jeffrey Rubinoff Forum on Art History as a Source of Knowledge

  • 25-27 June 2019: Art and Moral Conscience / “Progressive Apocalypse in the Works of David Cronenberg”
  • 25-27 June 2018: Art and Knowledge 1900-1950
  • 26-29 June 2017: Twentieth-Century Artists and their Interaction with Other Disciplinary Fields of Inquiry

Film Studies Association of Canada – Annual Congress of the Humanities

  • June 2019 (University of British Columbia): general delegate
  • May-June 2016 (University of Calgary): Zizek and The Return of the Return of the Repressed Eco-Critical Simian Monster
  • June 2013 (University of Victoria): Made-for-Television Fantasies of Nuclear Displacement in the 1980s

University of Victoria Farquhar Auditorium Presentation of One-Man Star Wars

  • 4 May 2019: Introductory Discussion Panel – The Cultural Import of Star Wars

University of Victoria Ideafest

  • 6 March 2018: Art and Optimism in an Age of Worry – “Canadian Cinema and the Happy Apocalypse”
  • 7 April 2014: Panel Member - discussion of Closely Watched Trains (1966 Czechoslovak film)
  • 5 March 2014: Panel Member - discussion of Twelve (2007 Russian adaptation of 12 Angry Men)

Medieval Secrets and Mysteries – University of Victoria Medieval Studies Course Union

  • Feb. - Mar. 2014: MedEvil Dead Stereotypes and the Displacement of Industrial Anxiety

Pacific Northwest Renaissance Conferences

  • Oct. 2011 (Spokane, WA): Shakespeare as Melodrama: Actor-Managers of the 19th Century
  • Oct. 2010 (Victoria, BC): Performing Usury and Homosocial Credit in Elizabethan/Jacobean England

Media coverage

Accessible Media Inc. – NOW with Dave Brown

  • 4 May 2021: “The Historical and Cultural Import of the Star Wars Franchise”:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/now-with-dave-brown/episode/star-wars-day-83697136

Happy Endings: Optimism and the Apocalypse in Atomic Cinema (2019), dir. Kelly Clark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVVmZq7ft9g&t=

Qualifications

Education

PhD – Critical Cultural Studies in Media and Cinema. October 2019.
Master of Arts – Film Studies and Cultural Theory
. December 2013.

University of Victoria – Department of Art History and Visual Studies – Victoria, BC

Master of Arts – Theatre History. June 2011.

Master of Arts (Honorary) – Theatre History and Domestic Achievement. April 2011.
University of Victoria – Department of Theatre – Victoria, BC

Bachelor of Arts Honours – English. June 2007.

Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences – Economics and English. June 1995.

Carleton University – Ottawa, ON.

  • Including the equivalent of Minors in Education Studies and Linguistics.

Professional development

PGCert HEA Accreditation Program. October 2021 - present.

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University – Educational Development Unit (EDU)

Collegium Workshop: Engaging Online Learners. 23 August 2021.

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University – EDU Online Teaching Professional Development Sessions

Collegium Roundtable: Challenges of Online Learning. 18 March 2021.

University of the Fraser Valley – College of Arts

Badges - UFV Online MicroCourse Series for Faculty

Faculty Workshop: Plagiarism, International Student Supports, and Course Delivery Diversity. 21 Aug 2019.

University of the Fraser Valley – Dept. of Social, Cultural, and Media Studies

Workshop: Innovative Pedagogy in the Film and Media Classroom. 5 June 2019.

Film Studies Association of Canada Annual Conference at Congress (UBC)

Online Teaching Resources: Pearson Revel Project. 19 March 2019.

University of the Fraser Valley – Dept. of Social, Cultural, and Media Studies

New Faculty Orientation: Practices for Student Engagement. 20 August 2018.

University of the Fraser Valley

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LATHE) Program.

University of Victoria – Dept. of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies

  • Jan. 2018 to April 2018: ED-D 610 – Contemporary Issues in Higher Education: A+/100%
  • Sept. 2017 to Dec. 2017: ED-D 600 – Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: A+/93%
    • Indigenous Cultural Acumen Training (ICAT). 25 September 2017.
    • University of Victoria ICAT Training Program
    • Certificate – Teaching Professional Development for Graduate Students. 13 April 2017.
    • University of Victoria – Learning and Teaching Centre / Co-operative Education Program and Career Services
  • Applying for a Learning and Teaching Development Grant - 11 April 2017.
  • Beyond Accommodation: Creating an Equitable Classroom for Students Experiencing Disability - 30 March 2017.
  • Developing the Teaching Dossier - 22 March 2017.
  • The Digital Portfolio: A Dynamic 21st Century Tool for Network Learning - 14 March 2017.
  • Optimizing the Multiple-Choice Test Item - 1 March 2017.
  • Large Classes and Two-Stage Exams - 20 February 2017.
  • LATHE and the Teaching Dossier Workshop - 12 January 2017.

Certificate – Peer-Teaching Facilitator Training. 12 April 2017.

University of Victoria – Learning and Teaching Centre

Diploma – Teaching English as a Second Language. November 2001

Pan Pacific International English College – Victoria, BC

250-hour - TESL Canada and BCTEAL recognized

Professional appointments

Assistant Professor of Media Studies, 2021-2022

Department of Media and Communication

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Visiting Scholar, 2021-2022

Centre for Cinema and Media Studies

University of British Columbia

Assistant Professor, 2018-2021

Department of Social, Cultural and Media Studies

University of the Fraser Valley

Sessional Instructor, 2014-2021

Department of Art History and Visual Studies

University of Victoria

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