Faculty Spotlight


Christine Holmlund (Professor of French)


          I've continually enjoyed having Chris Holmlund as a colleague in Cinema Studies since she joined the faculty at UTK after having completed her Ph.D. at one of the Midwest Meccas of the movies, the University of Wisconsin. Chris was one of the first faculty members at UT who had been trained in film studies and who was hired to teach film as a part of her regular rotation of courses, and she's thrived since her arrival as an active scholar, an inspiring teacher, and an energetic colleague and administrator.


          Chris has published nearly fifty articles and book chapters on experimental, documentary, and mainstream genre films made in Canada, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S. She's also an outstanding editor and collaborator, having co-edited a book with Cynthia Fuchs on lesbian and gay documentary films, another with Justin Wyatt on contemporary American independent film and, most recently, edited American Cinema in the 1990s in the prestigious Rutgers Screen Decades series. Her 2002 book, Impossible Bodies, is an important contribution on masculinity and femininity in the movies, written, according to one reviewer, in a "scholarly, yet witty and passionate" style. Her current projects include a book on stardom in action films and a reader on Sylvester Stallone.


          Chris and I have also enjoyed working together in our central professional organization, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, where she has regularly participated in memorable panels and performed her presentations with great vitality. I've heard a lot of them; one of the best was a panel of feminists defending the work of Clint Eastwood; Chris gave a great paper on Tightrope, a movie that still commands our attention. She also can give pretty passable impressions of action heroes from Stallone to her fellow Swede, Dolph Lundgren (Drago in Rocky IV). Lest all this seem too lighthearted, Chris is held in high esteem in SCMS: she served on the editorial board of Cinema Journal, a term as an elected member of the executive committee, and last spring, she was elected President of the organization. This fall she is playing a key role in the organizing of the 50th annual conference, to be held next spring in Los Angeles. Next year she will chair the conference program committee arranging the 51st annual conference, to be held in New Orleans.


          The interdisciplinary programs at UT thrive largely on the passions of the faculty involved in them. Chris has not only taught enthusiastically a wide variety of cinema courses-Sexuality and Cinema, French Film, Latin American Film, American Film Genres, American Independent Film, and Action Film, among others-but she has also served in recent years as Chair of the Cinema Studies Program. As an administrator, she's molded a fabulous website that includes a section on what some of our former students are doing in film and television, and she's also shown a special talent at getting a wide variety of units to help support the visits of filmmakers and film scholars. She usually signs her emails to Cinema Studies minors, "yours in film fandom," which perfectly captures how enthusiastically she teaches, discusses, promotes, and writes about the art of the movies. It's a continual pleasure to work with someone who demonstrates so much energy and joy in her work.


Submitted by Charles Maland, Professor of English, Head of Department of English