Samantha Noelle Sheppard

Associate Professor


Dr. Samantha N. Sheppard is an Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies and Interim Chair in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. 

Dr. Sheppard was the inaugural Mary Armstrong Meduski '80 Assistant Professor from 2017-2021. She was the recipient of the 2021 Robert and Helen Appel Fellowship for Humanists and Social Scientists, which recognizes faculty excellence in Cornell's College of Arts & Sciences. From 2017-2022, Dr. Sheppard was the Faculty Director of Cornell's Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program

She received her BA in Film & Television Studies and Women and Gender Studies from Dartmouth College and her MA and PhD in Cinema and Media Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. She also holds a graduate certificate in Women's Studies from UCLA's Department of Gender Studies.  

Dr. Sheppard's research interests include Black cultural production and production cultures, African American representation in cinema, television studies, sports films, feminist media studies, embodiment studies, and critical race theory. She writes extensively on issues of race, gender, and representation in film, television, and digital media. She teaches courses on global cinema, sports films, contemporary television, African American film history, popular culture, women filmmakers, and blackness on screen.

She is the author of Sporting Blackness: Race, Embodiment, and Critical Muscle Memory on Screen (University of California Press, 2020). She is co-editor of the anthologies From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry (University Press of Mississippi, 2016) with TreaAndrea Russworm and Karen Bowdre and Sporting Realities: Critical Readings on the Sports Documentary (University of Nebraska Press, 2020) with Travis Vogan. 

She has published  essays in Feminist Media Histories, Film Quarterly, The Velvet Light Trap, Cinema Journal, Journal of Sport History, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Black Camera: An International Journal, and FLOW: A Critical Forum on Media and Culture alongside chapters in the anthologies L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema (University of California Press, 2015) and Race and the Revolutionary Impulse in The Spook Who Sat by the Door (Indiana University Press, 2018). She has also written for The AtlanticFlash Art International, DocalogueLos Angeles Review of Books, and Nike

In 2022, she was commissioned to write an essay, "Deep Cuts," for Tiona Nekkia McClodden's exhibition "The Trace of an Implied Presence," a multidisciplinary exhibition exploring contemporary Black dance organized by Tiona Nekkia McClodden and co-produced by Nike and The Shed. Her most recent publication, "A Profound Edge: Collectivism and the New Negress Film Society," can be found in the Fall 2023 edition of Film Quarterly.  

She is currently working on two book projects and one edited collection. The first, The Basketball Film: A Cultural and Transmedia History, is in progress and under contract with Rutgers University Press as a part of the "Screening Sports" series. The second book is tentatively titled A Black W/hole: Phantom Cinemas and the Reimagining of Black Women's Media Histories, a project for which she was named a 2021 Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Alongside Dr. Alix Beeston and Dr. Hayley O'Malley, Dr. Sheppard is working on an edited collection, Women, Sisters, Friends: The Selected Plays and Screenplays of Kathleen Collins.

She has been quoted in a range of popular press and featured on film, television, and several podcasts, including appearing as a special guest for Turner Classic Movie's Black History Month programming and Sunday Silent Nights alongside TCM host Jacqueline Stewart.

To learn more about Dr. Sheppard, see her website:

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