Cynthia Baron

Professor Theatre and Film Ph.D., University of Southern California

222 Wolfe Center

Cynthia Baron was born in Hollywood, California. Her first (traumatic) encounter with media performance occurred when she was a first grader selected to appear on the television show Art Linkletter’s House Party, known for its “Kids Say the Darndest Things” segment. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley as a philosophy major, she worked on independent films in San Francisco and Los Angeles. She received her Ph.D. in Film, Literature, and Culture from the Critical Studies Program at the University of Southern California in 1996.

Research/Teaching Interests:
Critical Methods, American Independent Cinema, Screenwriting, Taste Formation, Censorship, Industry Studies, Food Studies, Third Cinema, Women’s Cinema, Modernism, Actor Training, Stardom, and Screen Performance. She has taught courses on intersections between the film-media industry, national security, and cultural moments such as the Cold War and the Vietnam era.

Dr. Baron works with graduate students in Theatre, American Culture, and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and continues to develop the undergraduate film production and film studies programs. She is the faculty advisor for Tuesdays at the Gish, the fall and spring film series featuring cult and independent films, and programming that supports Black History Month and Women’s History Month. She is the faculty advisor for BG Reel, a student group that fosters film/video production and culture on campus, and she often serves on the American Culture Studies preliminary exam and PhD advisory committees. She is the founding editor of The Projector, a peer reviewed journal on film, media, and culture, and the editor of the Palgrave Studies in Screen Industries and Performance series. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Film and Video (the official journal of the University Film and Video Association), and is co-chair of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Women’s Caucus.

Recent Publications:
Dr. Baron is the author of Modern Acting: The Lost Chapter of American Film and Theatre (Palgrave, 2016) and Denzel Washington (British Film Institute, 2015). She is the co-author of Appetites and Anxieties: Food, Film, and the Politics of Representation (Wayne State University Press, 2014) and Reframing Screen Performance (University of Michigan Press, 2008). She is also the co-editor of More Than a Method (Wayne State University Press, 2004). Books under contract include: Acting Indie: Aesthetics, Industry, and Performance (Palgrave).

She has articles in journals such as:
L’Atalante: Revista de Estudios Cinematograficos, Revue Cinémas, The Cine-Files, Theatre Annual, Cineaste, Journal of Film and Video, The Velvet Light Trap, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Film and Philosophy, Popular Culture Review, Food Culture and Society, Food and Foodways, Spectator, and Women's Studies Quarterly. She has co-edited a Special Issue on Screen Performance for the Journal of Film and Video, and written the entries on film acting for the Oxford Bibliographies Online, the Routledge Companion to Film History, and the Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film.

She has chapters in volumes such as:
Indie Reframed: Women and Contemporary American Independent Cinema (2016), American Film History: Selected Readings (2015), Acting: Behind the Silver Screen (2015), Cult Film Stardom (2013), New Constellations: Movie Stars of the 1960s (2012), The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film (2012), Acting and Performance in Moving-Image Culture (2011), Genre and Performance (2010), Acting on Stage-Acting on Screen (2008), Sayles Talk (2006), Movie Acting: The Film Reader (2004), Contemporary Hollywood Stardom (2003), The James Bond Phenomenon (2003), Headline Hollywood (2001), Screen Acting (1999), and Postmodernism in the Cinema (1998). Chapters under contract include a piece on Viola Davis for Exploring Television Acting and one on television acting for The Craft of Criticism: Critical Media Studies in Practice.

Recent Presentations:
Dr. Baron has done keynote presentations at the Rethinking Realist Acting Conference in New York, and at the Acting in Film Conference in Potsdam. She has presented research papers at the Screen Conference in Glasgow, the Stars Conference in London, the Acting on Stage/Acting on Screen Conference in Thessaloniki.

She has presented papers at a number of University Film and Video Association annual conferences and has presented papers at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference for more than twenty years.

Recent Awards & Recognitions:
Dr. Baron has been interviewed by the BBC and her work on acting, stardom, post-modernism, food in film, James Bond, and post-colonialism has been cited in more than 135 scholarly books or articles.

She has been invited to present her research at Syracuse University in New York and at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. As a graduate student, she was awarded a Cagney and Lacey Dissertation Fellowship and a Carole Fielding Research Grant; she was also a Society for Cinema Studies Dissertation Award finalist. As a graduate students, she received the Arlen Collier Award from the Far West Popular Culture Association. In 2006, she received the Gold Award in the University Film and Video Association Critical Paper Competition.

At BGSU, Dr. Baron has been awarded research and instructional improvement grants, including Classroom Specialists Grants, a Creative Imaginings for Student Success Grant, and, with Lucy Long as principal author, a $25,000 NEH Humanities Focus Grant. In 2010, she was awarded a Scholars-and-Artists-in-Residence Fellowship from the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society; in 2013 she was a Master Teacher Award finalist.