Shawn Shimpach

Shawn Shimpach

Associate Professor

410 Machmer Hall


(413) 545-2341


My research interests include Hollywood and popular cinema, television studies, audiences, and the cultural history of media and entertainment. My work focuses on the value and meanings created at the conjuncture of cultural, institutional, and textual practice. My book Television in Transition: The Life and Afterlife of the Narrative Action Hero (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) combines and connects analysis of the contemporary television industry with close readings of four individual programs to explain how innovation takes place and meaning is produced amidst changing institutional configurations. My work has also appeared in Cultural Studies, Social Semiotics, American Quarterly, and such collections as Media and Public Spheres (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), the Handbook of Media Audiences (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), and The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013).


PhD, Cinema Studies, New York University

Courses Taught:

Undergraduate: Film Styles & Genres; Introduction to Film Studies; Film History; Television in Transition.

Graduate: Media Historiography; Hollywood Industry & Style; Television Studies: Text, Culture, Industry


Television in Transition: The Life and Afterlife of the Narrative Action Hero, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.  

"Realty Reality: HGTV and the Subprime Crisis." American Quarterly 63:3, September 2012, 515-542.

"Viewing," in Virginia Nightingale (ed), Handbook of Media Audiences, Wiley-Blackwell (part of the Handbooks in Global Media and Communication Series), 2011, 62-85.

"Representing the Pubilc of the Cinema's Public Sphere," in Richard Butsch (ed.), Media and Public Spheres, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, 136-148.

"Working Watching: The Creative and Cultural Labor of the Media Audience," Social Semiotics 15:3, December 2005, 343-360.

"The Immortal Cosmopolitan: The International Co-production and Global Circulation of Highlander: The Series," Cultural Studies 19:3, May 2005, 338-371.  

"'This is What I Need, This is What Will Travel': Television Programs in the Era of Transition." In The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies: Media Production (Volume II), Vicki Mayer, ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 192-214.


Work in progress: I am currently on sabbatical, writing my next book, Progressive Viewing, which links the social shape of the emerging cinema in the first decades of the twentieth-century to the concurrently professionalizing discourse of pre-social science studies in the U.S. to show how the screen audience emerged as a categorically new way of knowing people that conforms to the needs of global mass cultural production.  Current work also includes a collaborative project investigating and theorizing the complex afterlife of cultural objects in an era characterized by both the intended and unintended continuing circulation of culture.

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