Sara Swain is a writer, researcher, and educator currently based in Toronto, ON. She recently received her Ph.D. from the Joint Program in Communication and Culture at York and Ryerson Universities. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Memorial University, and an M.A. in Film Studies from Concordia University. She has published essays on representations of virginity and sexual initiation in Joss Whedon’s TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and on the gendered critical backlash against Jenny McCarthy’s transgressive gross-out comedy Dirty Love.
In her doctoral research she studied animal encounters with media and situated these strange meetings as rich field sites from which to excavate particular and previously neglected animal-media histories. These histories in turn illuminate significant material and discursive relationships between animals and media, relationships that indicate that non-human animals are deeply implicated in the imagination and development of media technologies, as well as how we conceptualize and theorize communication.
Her current research continues to probe these complex theoretical, historical, and material relationships in the hopes of making cinema, media, and communication studies more inclusive of and generous towards the contributions of non-humans, and better equipped to consider the multispecies assemblages that constitute our reality.
She has an eclectic and broad range of interests and teachable areas, including film aesthetics, cinematic realism, film genres (horror and comedy especially), gender and spectatorship, film and media theory, film and media philosophy, television studies, communication history and theory, infrastructure and materiality of communication, as well as the philosophy of technology, and the history of ideas.