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Thomas Pringle, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies
Research Areas: Environmental Media and Ecocinema, Media Theory, Media Archaeology and Historiography, Science and Technology Studies

Affiliated Divisions:

Division of Cinema & Media Studies

Work Phone: 213-740-2838
Office: SCA 332

Thomas Patrick Pringle is an Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. He received his Ph.D. in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University. Prior to joining USC, Pringle was Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the University of Chicago’s Institute on the Formation of Knowledge and Assistant Professor of Communication and Environmental Studies at Tulane University. He has held research fellowships with the Digital Cultures Research Lab at Leuphana University, the SenseLab at Concordia University, and SSHRC.

Pringle focuses on historical approaches to film and media, with an emphasis on how media shape how environments are conceived in a given place and time and how technologies interact with physical environments. With Gertrud Koch and the late Bernard Stiegler, Pringle co-authored Machine (University of Minnesota Press/Meson Press, 2019). His writing on cinema, media, and the environment appears in the journals New Media & Society, Spectator, Heliotrope, NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, and Journal of Film and Video, as well as the volume Toxic Immanence: Decolonizing Nuclear Legacies and Futures (ed. Livia Monnet, 2022).

Pringle has three related research programs. The first is a book manuscript titled The Climate Proxy that looks to archival cinema and media, as well as critical appropriation film practices, to explain why certain images stand in for, or dispute, global warming. This project employs media historiographical methodologies to show how social and political values have conditioned non-fiction images of climate change for better and worse. Arguing that periodized attitudes about global warming informed the media aesthetics publicizing the science, this book describes why a climate can mean such different things and support disparate political agendas. The second is a monograph titled Streaming Capital that compiles a critical media history of natural capitalist economics, assessing how film and media—from ecological and resource imaging to oil corporation propaganda and greenwashing’s digital turn—have participated in the conjoint imperial projects of monetarily valuing biophysical environments and the dispossession of Indigenous peoples. Finally, Pringle’s archival research gives an account of how cinema and media practitioners facilitated the global, and globalizing, circulation of American environmentalist ideals.

Recent Publications:

"The whole earth and apartheid: Media, peer-production, segregation." New Media & Society, Vol. 25, No. 8, pp. 1863-1887. 2023:

“Emergency/Salvage Archeology: Excavating Media and Uranium in the Glen Canyon.” Toxic Immanence: Decolonizing Nuclear Futures and Legacies. Ed. Livia Monnet. Montréal: McGill-Queen’s UP. 2022.

“Streaming is Doing: The Environmental Impact of Digital Media and the Ecosystem Service Economy.” Spectator, Vol. 42, No. 2, pp. 8-18. 2022:

Manufactured Uncertainty and the Media History of Risk.” Formations: The IFK Blog. 2021:

“The Tech Ecosystem and the Colony.” Heliotrope Journal. Environmental Media Lab. 2021: 

“The Ecosystem is an Apparatus: From Machinic Ecology to the Politics of Resilience.” Machine. Co-authored with Gertrud Koch and Bernard Stiegler. In Search of Media Series. Lüneburg, Germany and Minneapolis, USA: Meson Press and University of Minnesota Press. 2019: