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Charles R. Acland, PhD

Distinguished University Research Professor, Communication Studies

Charles R. Acland, PhD
Office: L-CJ 4.419  
Communication Studies and Journalism Building,
7141 Sherbrooke W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2558
By appointment.


BA, Commerce (Economics and Marketing), Carleton University

Graduate Diploma, Communication Studies, Concordia University

PhD, Institute of Communications Research (Cultural Studies), University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Postdoctoral Scholar, Communication Studies, Concordia University

Areas of research

Media and Cultural Theory, Film and Moving Image Studies, Cultural History, Audiovisual Technology, Popular Culture, Media Industries

Selected publications


2020, American Blockbuster: Movies, Technology, and Wonder, Duke University Press, pp 388 Outstanding Academic Title (Film Studies) Choice.

2016, The Arclight Guidebook to Media History and the Digital Humanities, edited with Eric Hoyt, REFRAME (in association with Project Arclight), pp. 403.

2012, Swift Viewing: The Popular Life of Subliminal Influence, Duke University Press, pp. 328.

2011, Useful Cinema, edited with Haidee Wasson, Duke University Press, pp. 386. Awarded Honorable Mention as the 2013 SCMS Best Edited Book and finalist for the 2012 Kraszna-Krausz Best Moving Image Book Award.

2007, Residual Media, an edited collection, University of Minnesota Press, pp. 416.

2003, Screen Traffic: Movies, Multiplexes, and Global Culture, Duke U. Press, pp 337. Winner of the 2004 Robinson Book Prize for Best Book by a Canadian Communication Scholar and Honorable Mention by Screening the Past as one of the most influential works of media scholarship in the last ten years, 2007.

1999, Harold Innis in the New Century: Reflections and Refractions, edited with William Buxton, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s U. Press, pp. 435.

1995, Youth, Murder, Spectacle: The Cultural Politics of “Youth in Crisis,” Boulder, CO.: Westview Press, pp. 176.

Refereed journal articles, since 2001

2022 Crawley Films and Canada’s AudiovisualInfrastructure of Resource Extraction,” Canadian Journal of Film Studies,31.2, 5-25.

2022 “Hollywood’s Cultureof Scientific and Technical Achievement,” Velvet Light Trap, 89, Spring,56-72.

2021 “The Dead-end ofAd-hocracy,” Cultural Studies, 35.2 and 3, Special issue “The CulturalPolitics of COVID-19,” 475-488.

2017 "American A.V. Edgar Dale and the Information Age Classroom,” Technology and Culture, 58.2, April, 392-421.

2014 “Never Too Cool for School,” Journal of Visual Culture, 13.1, Special issue "Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media at 50," 1-4.

2014 "Dirt Research forMedia Industries,” Media Industries,1.1, 1-5.

2013 “New ConformismRedux,” Communication andCritical/Cultural Studies, 10.2, 1-5.

2013, “Senses of Success and the Rise of the Blockbuster,” Film History, 25.1/2, 11-18.

2012, “The Crack in the Electric Screen,” Cinema Journal, 51.2, 167-171.

2009, “Curtains, Carts and the Mobile Screen,” Screen, 50.1, 148-166. Winner of the 2010 Kovacs Prize for Best Essay, from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

2006, “Harold Innis, Cultural Policy, and Residual Media,” International Journal of Cultural Policy, 12.2: 171-185.

2004, “Moore Than This: Fahrenheit 9/11, Screen Numbers, and Political Community,” Environmental Planning D: Society and Space, 22: 901-906.

2003, “Haunted Places: Montreal’s Rue Ste. Catherine and its Cinema Spaces,” Screen, 44.2.

2001, “Patterns of Cultural Authority: The National Film Society of Canada and the Institutionalization of Film Education, 1938-41,” Canadian Journal of Film Studies, 10.1: pp. 2-27.

Book chapters, selected and since 2008

2018    “An Empire of Pixels: Canadian Cultural Enterprise in the Digital Effects Industry,” in Cultural Crossings, ed. Gillian Roberts, Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 143-170.

“Consumer Electronicsand the Building of an Entertainment Infrastructure,” in Signal Traffic, eds. Lisa Parks and Nicole Starosielski, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 246-278. Signal Traffic won the SCMS Best Edited Book Award, 2016.

2013, “The End of James Cameron’s Quiet Years,” in Media Studies Futures, ed. Kelly Gates, London, Blackwell Press, pp. 269-295.

2011, “Celluloid Classrooms: Post-WWII Consolidation of Community Film Activism,” in Learning with the Lights Off: Educational Film in the United States, eds. Dan Streible, Marsha Ogeron, and Devin Ogeron, Oxford UP, 377-396. Learning with the Lights Off won the SCMS Best Edited Book Award, 2012.

2011, “Hollywood’s Educators: Mark May and Teaching Film Custodians,” in Useful Cinema, eds. Charles R. Acland and Haidee Wasson, Duke UP, 59-80.

2011, “Utility and Cinema,” co-authored with Haidee Wasson, in Useful Cinema, eds. C. Acland and H. Wasson, Duke UP, 1-14.

2009, “Screen Technology, Mobilization, and Adult Education in the 1950,” in Patronizing the Public: American Philanthropy’s Transformation of Culture, Communication, and the Humanities, ed. William J. Buxton, Lanham, Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield/Lexington Books, 261-279.

2008, “Classrooms, Clubs, and Community Circuits: Reconstructing Cultural Authority and The Film Council Movement, 1946-1957,” in Inventing Film Studies, edited by Lee Grieveson and Haidee Wasson, Durham: Duke University Press, 149-181.

2008, “Theatrical Exhibition: Accelerated Cinema,” in The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry, eds. Paul McDonald and Janet Wasko, London: Blackwell Press, 83-105.

Non-refereed articles, selected and since 2009

2011, “Avatar as Technological Tentpole,” FlowTV, 13.14, “Flow Favorites Special Issue,” Reprint from issue 11.05.

2011, “You Haven’t Seen Avatar Yet,” FlowTV, 13.08,

2010, “Everybody Knows,” FlowTV, 13.03,

2010, “Marshall’s Children,” FlowTV, 11.08,

2009, “The Last Days of Videotape,” FlowTV, 11.02,

Consultancy report

2012, “From International Blockbusters to National Hits: Analysis of the 2010 UIS Survey of Feature Films,” UNESCO Institute of Statistics, Montreal, pp. 24. Also translated as “Des superproduction internationales aux succès nationaux : analyse de l’enquête 2010 sur les statistiques des films de long métrage.”

Scholarly Dossier

2017 “Canada,” with Ira Wagman, Global Internet Television Consortium,, 13 manuscript pages. Updated 2019

Web Resources

2014 Project Arclight, an on-line hub for media history and digital humanities, featuring the Arclight Analytic app,, with Dr. Eric Hoyt (UW-Madison)

2010  Canadian Educational Sponsored and Industrial Film Project, an on-line resource including a 5000-entry filmography of films from private Canadian producers,, with Louis Pelletier.

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