Chris Robé

Chris Robé is a professor of film and media studies. His articles on media activism have appeared within journals such as Jump Cut, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Framework and Film History. He has written two books: Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Left Film Culture (2010) and Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Videotape Guerrillas, and Digital Ninjas (2017). His forthcoming co-edited collection with Stephen Charbonneau, InsUrgent Media from the Front: A Media Activism Reader, will be published by University of Indiana Press in fall 2020. . He is currently completing a book on state repression, media activism, and grassroots organizing that addresses copwatching, Muslim American resistance, counter-summit protesting, and animal rights activism. He is also conducting archival work on Raymond Williams' work concerning grassroots and alternative media. In his spare time he agitates for his friendly faculty union and plays music. None of his views reflect that of his employer-- thank god.
Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ Film Series Keeps Chipping Away at Racism

Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ Film Series Keeps Chipping Away at Racism

Small Axe fuses the political and poetic and reminds that oppression does not define communities; it is one element of a much richer cultural tapestry and emotional terrain.

Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: The Utopian Vision in ‘Women Talking’

Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: The Utopian Vision in ‘Women Talking’

In Women Talking, director Sarah Polley masterfully illustrates how new futures can be possible by reckoning and wrestling with the past and present.

The Alchemy of the Velvet Underground’s Art

The Alchemy of the Velvet Underground’s Art

In The Velvet Underground documentary, Todd Haynes shows the music catapulting across time and space to Andy Warhol’s Factory, where the alchemy worked its magic.

‘Minding the Gap’ Skateboarding Documentary Mines Surviving Domestic Violence

‘Minding the Gap’ Skateboarding Documentary Mines Surviving Domestic Violence

For those who proclaim that people are solely responsible for their life's choices, Bing Liu's, Minding the Gap shows what costs come with attempting to break cycles of violence, poverty, and addiction.

Scorsese’s ‘World Cinema Project  No. 3’ Has a Filtered Gaze

Scorsese’s ‘World Cinema Project  No. 3’ Has a Filtered Gaze

Scorsese's selections for World Cinema Project No. 3 recall an attitude typical of a bygone age of film studies when professors would rationalize overlooking the reactionary politics of a film because aspects of the filmmaking itself trumped such "trivial" concerns.

Disruptive Films and Political Turmoil

Disruptive Films and Political Turmoil

Facet's Disruptive Film: Everyday Resistance to Power, Volume Two documents the multiple approaches a variety of filmmakers take in wielding video and celluloid for social change.

Domesticity Marks a Deeply Fraught Terrain in Ida Lupino Films

Domesticity Marks a Deeply Fraught Terrain in Ida Lupino Films

The early Ida Lupino films hold a particular nuance for female characters and the textures of their everyday lives, which has rarely been exhibited in classical Hollywood filmmaking.

The Rise and Fall of Female Silent Filmmakers

The Rise and Fall of Female Silent Filmmakers

Filmmaking was only one element of a much wider feminist movement that was manifesting itself in various forms, from the flapper to the suffragette to the birth control advocate to the bohemian female writer and political activist.

Adjusting the Focus on Somali-Americans: ‘First Person Plural’ and ‘Muslim Youth Voices’

Adjusting the Focus on Somali-Americans: ‘First Person Plural’ and ‘Muslim Youth Voices’

Eric Tretbar's First Person Plural and PBS' shorts Muslim Youth Voices both offer new representations of Somali-Americans. A significant contribution, given the Islamophobic frameworks that structure most cinema, television, and popular culture in general.

Bill Gunn’s ‘Personal Problems’ and a History of the Video Revolution

Bill Gunn’s ‘Personal Problems’ and a History of the Video Revolution

Kino Lorber's release of Personal Problems can be seen as a major intervention in recovering "lost" videotapes, representing an important black collective creative contribution of US grassroots videomaking.

Wild Women, 40 Pricks, and Western Noir: On Barbara Stanwyck

Wild Women, 40 Pricks, and Western Noir: On Barbara Stanwyck

Samuel Fuller’s Forty Guns fuses the Western with film noir and provides ample space for Barbara Stanwyck commanding performance of a Western female heroine.

Framing White Nationalism in Spike Lee’s ‘BlacKkKlansman’