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Baruch's Alison Griffiths Named CUNY Distinguished Professor, the University's Highest Faculty Honor



Alison Griffiths, professor of film and media studies at Baruch College's Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, was voted unanimously by the CUNY Board of Trustees the title of Distinguished Professor of Film and Media Studies.

On Monday, December 16, The City University of New York (CUNY) Board of Trustees voted unanimously to confer upon Alison Griffiths, PhD, the title of CUNY Distinguished Professor of Film and Media Studies. CUNY Distinguished Professorships are the highest honor that the University confers on faculty and the highest rank that a CUNY professor can achieve. The number of Distinguished Professors is limited to 250 across the entire University.

Dr. Griffiths is a professor of film and media studies in the George and Mildred Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, and she is an internationally recognized scholar. Her research crosses the fields of film studies, 19th-century visual culture, and medieval visual studies. Within this interdisciplinary arena, she examines cinema’s relationship to, and experience in, nontraditional spaces of media consumption. She has been a faculty member of Baruch’s Department of Communication Studies since 1998 and the CUNY Graduate Center’s Doctoral Program in Theater since 2004.

A World-Class Faculty

“Baruch is extremely proud to have a creative and visionary scholar like Alison Griffiths, on our faculty,” said Baruch President Mitchel B. Wallerstein, PhD. “Her dedication and success are an inspiration to our students, and she continues to make significant contributions to the knowledge base of humanity.” Dr. Wallerstein also praised the University for “investing in and recognizing faculty who produce such highly regarded research.” Among many other distinctions, Professor Griffiths has twice received Baruch College’s Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Scholarship.

In congratulating Dr. Griffiths, Aldemaro Romero Jr., PhD, dean of the Weissman School, said, “As a renowned researcher and sought-after professor, Alison is emblematic of the Weissman School’s world-class faculty. Her groundbreaking research, writings, and scholarship, have helped to raise the national profile of the school.”

A Distinguished Career

Alison Griffiths’s numerous awards and honors include a 2018–19 Guggenheim Fellowship for Film, Video, and New Media Studies, which supported her latest book project, Nomadic Cinema: A Cultural Geography of the Expedition Film. Currently under contract with Columbia University Press (CUP), Nomadic Cinema examines filmmaking as a tool of exploration in the early 20th-century interwar period. Watch Dr. Griffiths discuss this project here.

Her three other full-length studies are Wondrous Difference: Cinema, Anthropology, and Turn-of-the-Century Visual Culture (CUP, 2003), Shivers Down Your Spine: Cinema, Museums, and the Immersive View (CUP, 2008), and Carceral Fantasies: Cinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America (CUP, 2016). She is also the author of more than 50 journal articles, book chapters, and book reviews.

Devoted Scholar

“To be included among CUNY’s Distinguished Professors is a tremendous honor, one that makes me immensely proud of my scholarly and teaching career at Baruch College and the Graduate Center,” said Dr. Griffiths. “My next book dives into the world of medieval visual artworks for uncanny evocations of our contemporary digital media, an unlikely pairing of academic disciplines that has come to define my approach as a media historian.”

Dr. Griffiths’s research has also been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Huntington Library, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Eugene Lang Foundation, and PSC-CUNY, among others.

Alison Griffiths earned a BA from the University of Leicester, a master’s in film and media from the University of London, and a PhD in cinema studies from New York University. In 2015–16, Professor Griffiths served as interim dean of the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences.

The History of CUNY’s Highest Faculty Honor

First established at the University in 1967, CUNY Distinguished Professorships are the highest honor that the University confers on faculty and the highest rank a CUNY professor can achieve. The title designates an exceptional scholar with a national and international reputation for scholarly and/or research excellence, whose outstanding accomplishments enrich the University’s academic environment.

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(Story published on 12/17/19)

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