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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff

Susan Courtney

Title: Professor
Department: English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-3265
Office: HUO, Room 505
Resources: Film and Media Studies Program
English Language and Literature


PhD, Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley


    U.S. screen cultures (from Hollywood to home movies)
   • cultural formations of race, gender, region & nation
    American studies


    Introduction to Film and Media Studies
   • Film and Media History
   • Mediating Ferguson, U.S.A.: 1915-2015
   • The South on Screen


   • Two Thumbs Up Award, Office of Student Disability Services, University of South Carolina, 2016
   • Research Professorship, Department of English, University of South Carolina, 2012
   • Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Visiting Research Fellow, Tanner Humanities Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 2010-11
   • Provost’s Arts and Humanities Grant, University of South Carolina, 2010
   • Associate Professor Professional Development Award, College of Arts and Sciences, USC, 2009
   • Josephine Abney Award, Women’s Studies Program, University of South Carolina, 2005
   • Outstanding Professor Award, NADA International Student Residence, USC, 2000


My research investigates historical relationships between popular conceptions of identity (especially race, gender, region, and nation) and pervasive forms of moving image culture. My most recent book, Split Screen Nation, proposes that our visions of the American West and the American South must be thought in relation to one another if we are to fully understand the marks both have left on popular ways of imagining the U.S. Analyzing an eclectic range of films and related screen media from the decades following World War II, the book argues that conflicted sentiments about the nation’s most paradoxical narratives—e.g., “land of the free”/land of slavery, conquest, and segregation—were mediated by an implicit, and at times explicit, opposition between the screen West and the screen South. Split Screen Nation reveals this opposition to have been unstable, dynamic, and dramatically shifting in the postwar era, and in ways that have marked popular ways of knowing and feeling the U.S. ever since. To understand this history, the book investigates appearances of the West and the South across a diverse field of U.S. screen culture, including Hollywood cinema, television, educational and corporate films, home movies, and military and civil defense films.


   • Split Screen Nation: Moving Images of the American West and South. (Oxford University Press)
   • Hollywood Fantasies of Miscegenation: Spectacular Narratives of Gender and Race, 1903-1967 (Princeton University Press)

   • “Framing the Bomb in the West: the View from Lookout Mountain” in Haidee Wasson and Lee Grieveson, eds., Cinema and the American Military (University of California Press, forthcoming)
   • “Mediating Ferguson in Columbia, SC,” Flow: A Critical Forum on Television and Media Culture, vol. 24, no. 2, 2016
   • "Ripping the Portieres at the Seams: Lessons from Streetcar on Gone with the Wind" in J. E. Smyth, ed., American Historical Cinema in the Studio Era (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)
   • "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner with Eldridge Cleaver and the Supreme Court" in Daniel Bernardi, ed., The Persistence of Whiteness (Routledge, 2008)