Cynthia Baron


Ph.D. Film, Literature, and Culture-University of Southern California – School of Cinema-Television

Dissertation: “Before Brando: Film Acting in the Hollywood Studio Era”

Dissertation Committee: Marsha Kinder, Lynn Spigel, Sharon Marie Carnicke

M.A. Film San Francisco State University

Thesis: “Melodrama and the Hollywood Aesthetic”

Thesis Committee: John L. Fell, James Kitses, Robert Lewis

B.A. Philosophy University of California, Berkeley

Courses Taught:

  • Screenwriting
  • Independent Filmmakers
  • Critical Approaches in Film and Media Studies
  • History of Film
  • Hollywood and Vietnam
  • Cinema and Cold Wars
  • Hollywood and the Red Scare
  • Hollywood, Censorship, and American Culture
  • Actor Training: Contemporary Theatre and Performance
  • Modernism and Performance: Interdisciplinary Performance Theory
  • What Constitutes American: Performance and Theatre in the Americas

Research/Teaching Interests: Independent Cinema, Media Industry Studies, Third Cinema, Politics of Representation, Creative and Precarious Labor, Indie TV, Genre Studies, Actor Training, Screen Performance, Stardom, Women’s Cinema, Food Studies, and Screenwriting. She is a professor in the Department of Theatre and Film and an affiliated faculty in the American Culture Studies doctoral program and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies graduate and undergraduate programs. She has a background in freelance independent film production.

Cynthia Baron is the editor of the Journal of Film and Video, the official publication of the University Film and Video Association. She is the co-chair of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Caucus on Class and the former co-chair of the Gender and Feminisms Caucus. She is the editor of the Palgrave Studies in Screen Industries and Performance series and the founding editor of The Projector, a peer reviewed open-access journal on film, media, and culture.

Dr. Baron is a member of the undergraduate film production and film studies faculty, and she works with graduate students in American Culture Studies, Theatre, and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies. She is the advisor for Screen-Play, which presents staged readings of student screenplays in the fall and spring semesters. From 2007 to 2020, she organized the Tuesday Night Film Series featuring cult films, independent cinema, and programming that supported Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Women's History Month. She was one of the faculty advisors for UFO (University Film Organization), a student organization that established the annual BGSU Film and Media Festival and led to other campus organizations that foster film appreciation and student film and media productions.

Publications: Cynthia Baron is the author of Modern Acting: The Lost Chapter of American Film and Theatre (2016) and Denzel Washington (2015). She is the co-author of Acting Indie: Industry, Aesthetics, and Performance (2020), Appetites and Anxieties: Food, Film, and the Politics of Representation (2014), and Reframing Screen Performance (2008). She is also the co-editor of Intersecting Aesthetics: Literary Adaptations and Cinematic Representations of Blackness (2023) and More Than a Method: Trends and Traditions in Contemporary Film Performance (2004).

Her articles appear in The Velvet Light Trap, Cinephile, Revue Cinémas, L’Atalante: Revista de Estudios Cinematograficos, Czech and Slovak Journal of Humanities, The Cine-Files, Theatre Annual, Cineaste, Journal of Film and Video, 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.

Her anthology chapters appear in Kubrick and Race (2024), Action Cinema Since 2000 (2023), Screening American Independent Film (2023), Gender, Power, and Identity in the Films of Stanley Kubrick (2023), The Bloomsbury Handbook to Sofia Coppola (2023), Indie TV: Industry, Aesthetics, and Media Specificity (2023), Screening the Crisis: US Cinema and Social Change in the Wake of the 2008 Crash (2022), Stellar Transformations: Movie Stars of the 2010s (2022), American Cinema of the 2010s: Themes and Variations (2010), Black Panther: Afro-Futurism, Gender, Identity, and the Re-Making of Blackness (2021), Exploring Television Acting (2018), The Craft of Criticism: Critical Media Studies in Practice (2018), 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), Dirty Dancing and Popular Culture (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).


Cynthia Baron has presented keynote addresses at the Stars and Actors as Anomalies Conference in Paris (2022), Film and Media History Conference at Rowan University (2018), Rethinking Realist Acting Conference in New York (2014), and Acting in Film Conference in Potsdam (2010). She has presented papers at the Screen Conference in Glasgow, Stars Conference in London, and Acting on Stage/Acting on Screen Conference in Thessaloniki. She has presented papers at several University Film and Video Association conferences and at almost every Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference since 1994.

Awards & Recognitions:

Cynthia Baron received the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Distinguished Service Award in 2023 and was named BGSU Research Scholar of Excellence for 2017-2020. She also received the Gold Award in the University Film and Video Association Critical Paper Competition in 2006. She has been an interviewee on the “007 x 7” podcast, programming for BBC Radio 4 and the Truthworks Network, as well as regional and national media publications. Her work on acting, stardom, representation, independent cinema, postmodernism, James Bond, and food in film has been cited in more than 700 scholarly publications.

Dr. Baron is a member of the international research project “Critical Historiography of Film Acting” led by Pedro Guimarães, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, São Paolo, Brazil. She has been invited to present her research on acting at Syracuse

University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. As a graduate student, she was a Society for Cinema Studies Dissertation Award finalist, and she received the Arlen Collier Award from the Far West Popular Culture Association. She was awarded a Carole Fielding Research Grant and a Cagney and Lacey Dissertation Fellowship.

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 received a Scholars-and-Artists-in-Residence Fellowship from the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society and in 2013, she was a Master Teacher Award finalist.

Updated: 06/06/2023 08:11AM