A photo of Kalani Michell

Kalani Michell

Assistant Professor

E-mail: michell@humnet.ucla.edu Office: Royce Hall 328

Office Hours: Mon, 9:00am-11:00am

Fields of interest: film and media studies, media theory and historiography, installation and performance art

Kalani Michell is Assistant Professor of Germanic Languages at the University of California Los Angeles. Prior to this, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the research collective (Graduiertenkolleg) “Configurations of Film” and as an Assistant Professor (wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) in Media Studies at the Goethe University Frankfurt. She has taught and written about a wide range of media, including photography, comics, installation and performance art, print culture, film and media theory, sound studies, and media historiography.

Currently, Professor Michell is preparing her monograph, “All in the Same Box: Unhinging Audiovisual Media in the 1960s and 1970s,” which explores the transnational expansion of art, film, and other medial objects outside of conventional exhibition contexts during this time period. This project emphasizes the potential of integrating media theoretical analyses into case studies previously approached from the perspective of a single medium. In order to rigorously engage with media clusters (Medienverbünde), as is the case for many multimedial projects of the 1960s/70s, one must first acknowledge that they don’t inherently correspond to disciplinary boundaries and ‘high’ and ‘low’ aesthetic categories. These theoretical analyses take relocation, or the unhinging from standard sites of exhibition, as their point of departure, forcing intermedial concerns about ownership, access, order, storage, and containment to the foreground.

In addition to working on this project, Professor Michell has published on a variety of art and media topics, such as on Marcel Broodthaers’s experiments with ink in 16mm film and the return to his work in the web-based practices of Haegue Yang (in Re-Animationen), on Timm Ulrichs and the circulation of the Mona Lisa in the set design of pornographic productions (in CineAction), and on a computer game that restages waiting for a performance by Marina Abramović (in kultuRRevolution). Her research on German cinema has examined concepts of surveillance, memory, and home movies in Thomas Heise’s Barluschke (in East, West and Centre), invisibility techniques in a sci-fi film from the Third Reich (in Continuity and Crisis), and experiments with moving image formats in the long sixties (in Celluloid Revolt). Her latest research projects focus on comics, sound studies, and bureaucracy: the comics storyboard and sketch aesthetic in Christian Petzold’s filmic shot composition, the emergence of academic podcasts that reposition the boundaries of German studies and film studies, and paperwork as a key, if overlooked, aspect of film labor and production.


  • Ph.D. University of Minnesota. German Studies and minor in Moving Image Studies
  • M.A. University of Minnesota. German Studies
  • B.A. University of Nevada, Reno. German Studies and International Affairs

Courses commonly taught

Undergraduate Courses:

  • Ger 159: Transatlantic Bauhaus
  • Ger 104: German Films You Won’t Find at the Oscars
  • Ger 104: Unradical German Films of the 1960s/1970s
  • Ger 110: What’s Happening in German Media Studies?
  • Ger 103: Lubitsch Touch-Quatsch
  • Ger 110: Media Environments and German Palm Tree Dreams
  • Ger 191A: Speculative Ways of Writing History

Graduate Courses:

  • Ger 261: Comparative Media Studies
  • Ger 263: Where is Photography?
  • Ger 213: Paperwork in Film Work

Honors and Awards

  • UCLA Society of Hellman Fellows award (2022-2023)
  • Council on Research Faculty Research Grant (2022-2023)
  • EPIC Mellon Fellow for Environmental Humanities Seminar in Teaching Excellence (2022)
  • Council on Research Bridge Research Grant (2021-2022)
  • Faculty Career Development Award (2020-2021) 
  • Council on Research Faculty Research Grant (2020-2021)
  • Fulbright Research Grant (2014-2015)
  • Harold Leonard Memorial Fellowship in Film Study (2013-2014)
  • Center for Austrian Studies Research Fellowship for archival project on Valie Export (2013)
  • Hella Lindemeyer Mears Fellowship (2010-2011)
  • Center for German and European Studies Fellowship for the Leo Baeck Summer University in Jewish Studies (2009)
  • Max Kade Fellowship (2008-2009)
  • Fulbright Scholar (2007-2008)

Professional Activities

  • Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Vertretungsprofessorin (Interim Professor) for Film Studies, Summer Semester 2022
  • Member of the Chicano Studies Research Center Faculty Advisory Committee (2020-present)
  •  Editorial board member of Configurations of Film book series with Meson Press (2019-present)

Articles and Book Chapters

Shorter Contributions and Reviews

  • Royce Hall,” in Thomas Mann’s L.A: Stories from Exile 1941–1952, eds. Nikolai Blaumer and Benno Herz (Los Angeles: Angel City Press, 2022), 34-37.
  • Animierte Bildkulissen,” rev. of Curtains (2014) by Lucy Raven at the Portikus Exhibition Hall, in Texte zur Kunst 97, issue on “Bohème” (March 2015), 183-186.
  • Rev. of New Austrian Film, eds. Robert von Dassanowsky and Oliver C. Speck, in Austrian Studies Newsletter 23.2 (Fall 2011), 17-18.