Nova Smith

Nova Smith, B.A. Preceptor, PhD Candidate in Cinema and Media Studies

B.A. Preceptor, PhD Candidate in Cinema and Media Studies
nova@uchicago.edu
773.834.0709

Nova Smith is a PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Studies with certificates in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Latin American and Caribbean Studies.  She also holds an MA in Cinema Studies from New York University, a BA in English from Spelman College, and has participated in study abroad programs in Brazil and Zimbabwe.  Nova’s dissertation focuses on what she’s identified as a relatively new subcategory of black cinema—films made by black filmmakers, but for and about white people.  Specifically, she is interested in what it might mean cinematically and culturally for black artists to create and control on-screen whiteness. What is its subversive potential, and how does it impact longstanding black aesthetic traditions?  This research touches on critical issues of post-blackness, Whiteness studies, an imagined post-whiteness, alternative aesthetic possibilities of abjection, affect, and camp, and intersections of class, race, gender, and sexuality as they are explored within contemporary black cinema.

Prior to returning to academia to pursue a doctorate, Nova worked in various capacities within the entertainment industry, particularly independent cinema. In addition to her doctoral studies, she is also deeply committed to working with initiatives for under-represented youth education, the arts, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Nova resides at the nexus of W.E.B. Du Bois’ call to be a “co-worker in the kingdom of culture” and Anna Julia Cooper’s recognition that “when and where I enter…then and there the whole Negro race enters with me.”