Lecture on the cultural history of Sámi peoples

Alison Griffiths takes us on a journey through the film archive to explore the vibrant cultural history and resilience of Sámi peoples in some of the earliest films made in the Sápmi region. How do archival films inscribe the landscape, cultural heritage, and memory of Sámi peoples whose ancestral roots extend deep into recorded time? And how can contemporary works made by Sámi artists reimagine this archival history by incorporating photographs and films that evoke themes of belonging and connectedness? Finally, what responsibilities do archives have as caretakers of Indigenous audiovisual heritage, and what best practices are there for repatriating films to their homelands?


Final Conference Projecting Knowledge: The Magic Lantern in Science Communication

“Griffiths gave a lecture at Utrecht University in October 2022 that explored the use of lantern slides as evidentiary media.  She explored the concept of wonder (and its close cousin curiositas) as a way of grappling with the lantern slide’s dialectical indebtedness to veritas (truth) and imaginari (the imagination), as well as the idea of contra-vignetting, a literal and metaphorical shifting away from the center of an image as the locus of meaning.  Griffiths grounded these ideas in a case study examination of the use of lantern slides at the Explorers Club in New York City, a vibrant “maker space” where the latest technology and images of adventure were projected onto the screen.”

Design at the Border: Liminality in Medieval and Postmodern Contexts

Griffiths presented her work on cartography, immersion, and virtual reality at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds, UK in July, part of a broader research project on a media imaginary in medieval visual works. An earlier version of this research appears in the “In Focus” section of the most recent issue of the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies entitled “Humanitarian Immersion” vol. 61, no. 3 (Spring 2022), available here. Griffiths was on a panel entitled “Design at the Border: Liminality in Medieval and Postmodern Contexts,” co-moderated by Laura Hollengreen, University of Arizona and Rebecca Rouse, Institutionen för Informationsteknologi Högskolan i Skövde, Denmark.

Fulbright Distinguished Arctic Scholar Award to Norway

As the Fulbright Arctic Chair, Dr. Griffiths will be based at the National Library of Norway in Oslo with a secondary affiliation at the UiT, The Arctic University in Tromsø, where she will examine amateur films of Indigenous Sámi people made between 1907-1960 within a broader historical context of visual representations of the Arctic, including cartographic materials in the world famous Ginsberg Map Collection at the National Library.

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CUNY Research Foundation Enhanced Award Grant

Granted for book project in progress: New Worlds From the Margins: Travel, Identity, and Vernacular Media. Archival research on amateur film featuring Indigenous Australians at the National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra, Australia.


CUNY Distinguished Professor

Award Press Release

Research Grant, The Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society, Villanova University

Awarded for “Collective Memory and Visual Communication: The Archival Legacy of the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial, Gallup, New Mexico.”
WFI Awards Page


Mayer Fellowship, Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Awarded for “Nomadic Cinema: A Cultural Geography of the Expedition Film.”
Huntington fellowship link


John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship

Awarded for “Nomadic Cinema: A Cultural Geography of the Expedition Film.”
Guggenheim website

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Project Development Grant

Awarded for “Nomadic Cinema: A Cultural Geography of the Expedition Film.”
ACLS grantees

Frame enlargement, In Borneo, the Land of the Head-Hunter (Carl Lumholtz, 1917)

New Book Project: Nomadic Cinema: A Cultural Geography of the Expedition Film

Nomadic Cinema is the first monograph to examine the expedition film, focusing on films shot in Borneo, Central Asia, Tibet, Polynesia, and the American Southwest during the so-called “great age” of exploration. Grounded in archival research and drawing upon the fields of cultural geography, postcolonialism, and environmental media studies, Nomadic Cinema constructs an intellectual history of expedition filmmaking that views it as inexorably shaped, haunted if you will, by the twin specters of colonialism and adventure. The book also contextualizes expedition filmmaking within the longue durée of pre-modern travel writing and medieval theories of the world as spatialized knowledge, as well as new technologies of exploration such as VR and augmented reality.


Carcerial Fantasies Book Signing

On September 8th, 2016 at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, colleagues, friends and family were greeted by author and professor Alison Griffiths at the book signing for her latest work, Carceral Fantasies: Cinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America (Columbia University Press, 2016)

Carceral Fantasies explores the little-known history of how cinema found a home in the U.S. penitentiary system and how the prison emerged as a setting and narrative trope in modern cinema. Opening remarks were made by Dr. Aldemaro Romero Jr., the newly appointed Dean of the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, and David Birdsell, Dean of the Baruch College School of Public and International Affairs. Baruch College President Mitchel Wallerstein was in attendance as well as many colleagues, family, and friends of the author.

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