Philip Sewell is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Film/Media Studies program. He has taught media history, theory, and criticism at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Washington University in St. Louis. His book, Television in the Age of Radio: Modernity, Imagination, and the Making of a Medium (Rutgers University Press, 2014), demonstrates how evaluative frameworks and circuits of cultural authority shaped both the emergence of television and the ways that thinking and talking about electronic images became an index of modernity. His research interests include the media industries’ business and legal cultures, media technologies, the mediation of masculinities, and the history of debates about the future of television.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Madison, Department of Communication Arts
  • M.A., University of Texas at Austin, Radio-Television-Film

Scholarly Interests

  • Television History and Criticism
  • Media Technologies
  • Film/Media and Gender
  • Media Industry Culture

Courses for Fall 2016

  • ENFS 130 - Introduction to Film/Media Studies

Current Projects

Sewell is currently finishing a cultural and industrial history of Texas’s main film exhibition circuit during the studio era. This project situates the company’s hybrid distribution practices, exploitation strategies, and regulation of content and audiences within a framework that highlights the incongruities in our sometimes monolithic conception of the Hollywood studio system’s distribution and exhibition endeavors. He is also working on a study of the intersection of melodrama and science-fiction in recent television “space operas” and a cultural history of media outlawry.

Selected Publications

Television in the Age of Radio: Modernity, Imagination, and the Making of a Medium, Rutgers University Press, 2014. “From Discourse to Discord: Quality and Dramedy at the End of the Classic Network System,” in Television and New Media, Volume 11 (July 2010): 235-259.

“Trading in Masculinity: Muscles, Money, and Market Discourse in the WWF,” coauthored with Douglas Battema, in Steel Chair to the Head: The Pleasure and Pain of Professional Wrestling, edited by Nicholas Sammond (Duke University Press, 2005).

“Introduction: Innovation and Experimentation,” coauthored with Eija Niskanen and Billy Budd Vermillion, The Velvet Light Trap: A Critical Journal of Film and Television, No. 54 (University of Texas Press, Fall 2004).


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