Michael Aronson

Alt=""Michael Aronson
Cinema Studies Acting Associate Department Head  
Associate Professor of Cinema Studies

101 PLC

Research Statement

I am a film historian with a background in filmmaking, specifically in the camera department on TV commercials and music videos (back when you were more likely to find them on MTV than YouTube). I'm a historian because I like old stuff, and digging around both online and in archives, to find out things about the past. Probably because of my own history as a cameraman, a lot of my work focuses on the intersection of what academics call "Industry Studies" and "Reception Studies," which is just a fancy way of saying that I am interested in the people that made or showed films and the various types of communities that ended up watching them. In the case of the Lester Beck article, for instance, Elizabeth Peterson and myself worked together to write a history of Dr. Beck, an Oregon psychologist who, in the 1940s, produced the first sexual education film for American middle-school students. At the moment I am completing research for an article about women who owned and managed movie theaters in the 1910s.

Recent Citations – Publications – Professional Work

  • "No Birds, No Bees, No Moralizing: Lester Beck, Psychologist Filmmaker," Coauthor, Elizabeth Peterson, MLS. The Moving Image, 2014
  • "Teaching Film and the Internet" in Teaching Film, Lucy Fischer and Patrice Petro, editors. Modern Language Association, 2012
  • Nickelodeon City: Pittsburgh at the Movies, 1905-1929, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008


  • ENG 265 "History of Motion Pictures, 1890s-1929"
  • ENG 380 "Warner Bros Studio History"
  • ENG 695 "Silent Film History"