I am a scholar of German, French, Film and Media Studies, based at St Andrews University. My research interests include film and the moving image, media theory and history, visual and design cultures, the body and techniques of subjectivity, literature and the avant-garde. Recent publications include an award-winning monograph on Walter Ruttmann; a comprehensive sourcebook of early German film theory; and articles on the emergence of cinephilia, screen Cultures of Weimar cinema, film and radio between the wars, and expanded animation in the interwar period.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D. in German Studies, UC-Berkeley, 2004
  • MA in French, University of California, Berkeley, 1998
  • BA in Cultural Studies, University of North Carolina, 1996, summa cum laude


  • St Andrews University, Film Studies, 2015-present
  • McGill University, German Studies, World Cinemas, Art History and Communications 2006-2015
  • University of Virginia, German Department 2005-2006
  • UC-Berkeley, Graduate Student Instructor in French, German and Comparative Literature, 1997-2003

Awards and Honors

  • Limina Award for Best International Book in Film Studies (with Nicholas Baer and Anton Kaes), 2017
  • Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), Award of Distinction for Best Edited Collection (with Nicholas Baer and Anton Kaes), 2017
  • Willy Haas Award for best book on German Cinema, winner 2014, shortlisted 2016
  • St Andrews Student Association Teaching Award, Shortlist, 2016
  • Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), Kovács Essay Award, 2015
  • BAFTSS Essay Award, 2015
  • BAFTSS Best Book Award, Honourable Mention, 2015
  • Kraszna-Krausz Book Award, Category of the Moving Image, finalist, 2015
  • Dawson Research Chair for German Cinema, McGill University, 2010-2014
  • SCSM Kovács Essay Award, Honorable Mention, (2012)
  • McGill Arts Award for Distinction in Research (2008)


  • British Academy Small Grant (2016)
  • SSHRC (Canada), Insight Grant (2013-2017) 
  • IFK (International Research Center for Cultural Studies, Vienna), Senior Research Fellowship (winter 2014)
  • CFI (Canadian Foundation for Innovation), Leaders Opportunity Fund to build the Moving Image Research Laboratory, Principal Investigator (2009-2013)
  • FQRSC (Québec) team grant for the Advanced Research Team for the History and Epistemology of Moving Image Studies, co-investigator (2013-2017)
  • FQRSC early career research grant (2010-2013)
  • DAAD workshop grant for “Filmic Interventions: Advertising and Industrial Film” (2010)
  • SSHRC standard research grant for “Rhythm and German Modernity” (2009-2012)
  • SSHRC conference grant for conference “Prises de rue: The Street in Recent European Cinema,” Principal Researcher (2010)
  • McGill Arts Undergraduate Improvement Fund (AUIF) grant (2009)
  • DAAD grant for the research group “Project on European Cinemas” (2008)
  • Dean’s Normative Time Fellowship, UC-Berkeley (2004)
  • Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (Vienna), Student research fellowship (2003-2004)
  • Studienstiftung des Abgeordnetenhauses von Berlin, Ph.D. research fellowship (2001-2002)
  • Regents Intern Fellowship, UC-Berkeley (1997-1999)
Michael Cowan
Department of Film Studies
101a North Street
St Andrews, UK
KY16 9AD