Kara Keeling

" "
Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College
Classics 314D
Ph.D., The University of Pittsburgh
Research Interests: African American film; theories of race, sexuality, and gender in cinema; critical theory; cultural studies


On leave for the 2021-2022 Academic Year. 

Kara Keeling is a Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. Keeling’s research has focused on African American film, representations of race, sexuality, and gender in cinema, critical theory, and cultural studies. Keeling’s most recent monograph, Queer Times, Black Futures, was published in 2019 by New York University Press. It considers the promises and pitfalls of imagination, technology, futurity, and liberation as they have persisted in and through racial capitalism by exploring how the speculative fictions of cinema, music, and literature that center black existence provide scenarios wherein we might imagine alternative worlds, queer and otherwise. Keeling’s first book, The Witch's Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense (Duke University Press, 2007), explores the role of cinematic images in the construction and maintenance of hegemonic conceptions of the world and interrogates the complex relationships between cinematic visibility, minority politics, and the labor required to create and maintain alternative organizations of social life. Keeling is co-editor (with Josh Kun) of Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies, a collection of writings about sound and American Studies and (with Colin MacCabe and Cornel West) of a selection of writings by the late James A. Snead entitled European Pedigrees/ African Contagions: Racist Traces and Other Writing. Keeling’s essays have appeared in the journals GLQThe Black ScholarWomen and Performance, and elsewhere.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Chicago, Keeling worked at the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Keeling is past editor of the Moving Image Review section of Gay and Lesbian Quarterly (GLQ) and currently serves on the editorial boards of the journals Cultural Studies, Feminist Media Studies, and is part of the editorial collective of boundary2.



*Co-Editor of Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies


Previous course taught include: Afrofuturism (CMST 21004), Theory, Blackness, and Cinema (CMST 61032), Issues and Aesthetics in Contemporary Black Film (CMST 61120), Film and the Moving Image (CMST 14400) and Gender, Sexuality, Imagination (CMST 20430 / 30430)