The Catholic University of America

 Martin L. Johnson, Assistant Professor of Media Studies

Ph.D., New York University

Martin Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He received his Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University, his M.A. in Folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his B.A. in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University. His research interests include the social experience of moviegoing, film exhibition and publicity, nontheatrical film production and exhibition, amateur cinema, and ethnographic and documentary film. More broadly, he is interested in the role media plays in producing and shaping publics, and the use of film as a locus for historical and social inquiry.

His current book project is a history of the local film in the United States. While film historians have long known that exhibitors in the early cinema period (1895-1908) often produced local films to entice passersby outside the theater to “see yourselves as others see you” on screen, until recently it was assumed that this practice died out as narrative fiction motion pictures took hold. His research shows that local film practices instead transformed in the early teens as itinerant filmmakers began to incorporate fictional narrative, documentary practices, and industrial and advertising film aesthetics into their films. As a result, local films served as sites where communities could reflect on, and participate in, cinema cultures as they developed in the early and mid-20th Century.

Professor Johnson has taught a variety of classes in film and media studies, including Histories of Moviegoing and Contemporary Global Cinema.


 (202) 319-5488  (202) 238-2056                           Marist 115A