School of Cinematic Arts Directory Profile

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Kara Keeling

Associate Professor

Affiliated Divisions:

Division of Cinema & Media Studies


Kara Keeling’s current research focuses on theories of temporality, spatial politics, finance capital, and the radical imagination; cinema and black cultural politics; digital media, globalization, and difference; and Gilles Deleuze and liberation theory, with an emphasis on Afrofuturism, Africana media, queer and feminist media, and sound. Her book, The Witch's Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense, explores the role of cinematic images in the construction and maintenance of hegemonic conceptions of the world and interrogates the complex relationships between cinematic visibility, minority politics, and the labor required to create and maintain alternative organizations of social life.

Keeling is author of several articles published in anthologies and journals and co-editor (with Colin MacCabe and Cornel West) of a selection of writings by the late James A Snead entitled European Pedigrees/ African Contagions: Racist Traces and Other Writing and (with Josh Kun) of a collection of essays about sound in American Studies entitled Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies. Currently, Keeling is writing her second monograph, tentatively entitled Queer Times, Black Futures and co-editing (with Thenmozhi Soundarajan) a collaborative multi-media archive and scholarship project focused on the work of Third World Majority, one of the first women of color media justice collectives in the United States, entitled From Third Cinema to Media Justice: Third World Majority and the Promise of Third Cinema.

Prior to joining the faculty at USC, Keeling taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and was an adjunct assistant Professor of Women's Studies at Duke University, and a visiting assistant professor of Art and Africana Studies at Williams College. Keeling has developed and taught courses at the undergraduate and graduate level on topics such as Media and Activism, Cinema and Social Change, Race, Sexuality, and Cinema, and Film As Cultural Critique, among others. In the summer of 2005, Keeling participated in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on African Cinema in Dakar, Senegal. She currently serves on the editorial boards of the journals Cultural Studies, Feminist Media Studies, and Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, and she is the Editor of the Moving Image Review section of the journal Gay and Lesbian Quarterly (GLQ).


Racist Traces and Other Writings: European Pedigrees/African Contagions (co- editor, Palgrave-MacMillan, 2003)

The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme and the Image of Common Sense (Duke University Press, 2007)

Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies (co-editor, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012)