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Haggins named new director of film and media studies


October 15, 2009

Professor Bambi Haggins was appointed director of film and media studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She steps into a spot vacated by professor Daniel Bernardi, who requested a return to his faculty position where he will focus on teaching and writing in preparation for a sabbatical in Spring 2011.

"We thank professor Bernardi for his major accomplishments in working with the faculty to build enrollment and to make retention of students a top priority," said Quentin Wheeler, ASU vice president and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Deborah Losse, dean of humanities, in a joint announcement earlier this month. "His work in program building and building the faculty has been remarkable."

Haggins was serving as acting director before the appointment. She joined the ASU faculty ranks last year from the University of Michigan where she had a major role as director of graduate studies.

"Focused on student success and engagement, professor Haggins brings a wealth of experience in program building in film studies from the University of Michigan. We are fortunate to be able to tap this experience," says Losse. "Her stature in the field of film studies is a major asset to the program, to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and to the university."

Haggins' research explores representations of class, ethnicity, gender, race and region in American film and television, fan culture and popular media (from graphic novels to YouTube), and media literacy. After graduating from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in American studies and a master's degree in education, Haggins taught high school American history for several years before earning her doctorate at UCLA's School of Film, Television and Digital Media.

"Professor Haggins' vision and energy will lead the unit to the next level of excellence. As film and emerging media play an ever increasing role in how society explores itself and tells its stories, an academic approach to its study becomes more and more valuable," says Wheeler.

As a media scholar and former high school teacher, Haggins remains committed to establishing programmatic ties between the university and secondary schools.

"Whether we're teaching film and media studies majors or high schoolers in media literacy programs, those making media or those making meaning from media texts, we challenge students to think about cinema, television and digital media as entertainment products as well as reflections and refractions of culture, industry, politics and society. That's our job," says Haggins.

Haggins' publications include articles in Emergences, Flow, Framework and Ms. as well as essays in "The Essential HBO Reader" and "The Persistence of Whiteness." Her first book, "Laughing Mad: The Black Comic Persona in Post Soul America" won the prestigious Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award for outstanding book of the year from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and, more recently, recognition from the ASU Institute for Humanities Research.