James Leo Cahill

Associate Professor
Innis College 323



Cinema Studies Institute

Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • • French Cinema History and Theory
  • • Surrealism
  • • Animal Studies
  • • Critical Theory
  • • Historiography


James Leo Cahill’s research focuses on French cinema and cultural history, nonfiction and experimental media, critical theory, and historiography. He has a special interest in scientific cinema and animals and moving image media. His first book, Zoological Surrealism: The Nonhuman Cinema of Jean Painlevé, is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press. He is working on projects on the postwar French cinema and literature of exploration and its conceptualizations of the world, the globe, and globalization in the contexts of collaboration, colonialism, and coca-colonisation as well as a set of essays on classical film theory and experiments in historical perception. He is general editor of Discourse: Journal of Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture. He has been residential fellow at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France and a visiting professor with the Franke Institute for the Humanities/Center for Disciplinary Innovation at the University of Chicago. Professor Cahill teaches courses on French cinema, international cinema history and theory, animals and cinema, and exploration and cinema. At the graduate level he teaches seminars on Surrealism and cinema, theories and practices of cinematic media, montage and/as historical method, film and media historiography, and the guillotine and barricade as cultural forms and figures of history.


PhD, University of Southern California
MA, UC Irvine
MA, UNC Chapel Hill
AB, Occidental College


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