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
- “Pod Fictions,” in Format Matters: Standards, Practices, and Politics in Media Cultures, eds. Marek Jancovic, Alexandra Schneider and Axel Volmar (Lüneburg: Meson Press, 2020), 253-279.
- “Revolting Formats: Hellmuth Costard’s Der kleine Godard. An das Kuratorium Junger Deutscher Film,” in Celluloid Revolt: German Screen Cultures and the Long 1968, eds. Christina Gerhardt and Marco Abel, in the series “Screen Cultures: German Film and the Visual” (Rochester: Camden House, 2019), 253-267.
- “Comic Storyboardkonstruktionen. Petzolds Angriffsflächen,” in Storyboarding. Filmisches Entwerfen, eds. Jan Henschen and Anna Häusler (Marburg: Schüren, 2017), 127-147.
- “Seeing Crisis in Harry Piel’s Ein Unsichtbarer geht durch die Stadt (1933),” in Continuity and Crisis in German Cinema 1928 – 1936, eds. Valerie Weinstein, Mihaela Petrescu and Barbara Hales, in the series “Screen Cultures: German Film and the Visual” (Rochester: Camden House, 2016), 251-269.
- “Barluschke: Toward an East West Schizo-History,” in East, West and Centre: Reframing Post-1989 European Cinema, eds. Michael Gott and Todd Herzog (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015), 253-266.
- “I Know It When I See It: Mona Lisa on the Move,” in CineAction 91, issue on “Film+Art” (September 2013), 50-57.
- “Anstehen mit Foucault,” in kultuRRevolution – Zeitschrift für angewandte Diskurstheorie 64, issue on “Foucault und/oder Ideengeschichte” (June 2013), 58-68.
- “Drei (und mehr) Arten, Tinte ans Laufen zu kriegen,” in Re-Animationen. Szenen des Auf- und Ablebens in Kunst, Literatur und Geschichtsschreibung, eds. Ulrike Hanstein, Anika Höppner and Jana Mangold (Cologne/Weimar: Böhlau Publishers, 2012), 281-310.
Honors and Awards
- 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)
- 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)
- Ger 159: Transatlantic Bauhaus
- Ger 104: German Films You Won’t Find at the Oscars
- 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
- Ger 213: Paperwork in Film Work
- Ger 261: Comparative Media Studies
- Ger 263: Where is Photography?