Ferdinand Schevill Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities, University of Chicago
Ellen Maria Gorrissen Fellow - Class of Spring 2004
Miriam Bratu Hansen was the Ferdinand Schevill Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she taught in the Department of English and the Committee on Cinema and Media Studies (of which she was founding chair). She received her doctoral degree in English and American Literature from the University of Frankfurt, Germany, in 1975, and before coming to Chicago she taught at Yale and Rutgers University. Since 1984, she had been a co-editor of New German Critique.
Her publications include a book on Ezra Pound’s early poetics (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1979) and Babel and Babylon: Spectatorship in American Silent Film (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1991; 1994), as well as numerous articles, focusing on questions of film aesthetics, cinema experience and the public sphere, and, more recently, on the notion of cinema as a form of “vernacular modernism.” At the Academy she was completing a study titled “The Other Frankfurt School: Kracauer, Benjamin, and Adorno on Cinema, Mass Culture, and Modernity.” The book was published in October 2011 as Cinema and Experience: Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor W. Adorno.
After a long battle with cancer, Miriam Hansen died on Februrary 5, 2011, in Chicago. She is survived by her husband, Michael E. Geyer.