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Samantha N. Sheppard, PhD

Associate Professor

Cinema and Media Studies 

Cornell University

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Dr. Samantha N. Sheppard is an Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She writes extensively on issues of race, gender, and representation in film, television, and digital media. She teaches courses on global cinema, sports films, contemporary television, African American film history, popular culture, women filmmakers, and blackness on screen.  She was selected as a 2021 Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Learn more in BIO



Dr. Sheppard is the author of Sporting Blackness: Race, Embodiment, and Critical Muscle Memory on Screen  (University of California Press, 2020) and coeditor of the anthologies Sporting Realities: Critical Readings of the Sports Documentary (University of Nebraska Press, 2020) and From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry (University Press of Mississippi, 2016).


She is currently working on two book projects. The first, The Basketball Film: A Cultural and Transmedia History, is under contract with Rutgers University Press as a part of the "Screening Sports" series. The second project is tentatively titled A Black W/hole: Phantom Cinemas and the Reimagining of Black Women's Media Histories


She has written for popular presses, including The Atlantic, Flash Art International and Los Angeles Review of Books. For more of her academic and popular writing, see PUBLICATIONS


Sporting Blackness: Race, Embodiment, and Critical Muscle Memory on Screen examines issues of race and representation in sports films, exploring what it means to embody, perform, play out, and contest blackness by representations of Black athletes on screen. To learn more, visit SPORTING BLACKNESS


Dr. Sheppard is a professional speaker, lecturer, and consultant on film, television, and media. She also hosts conversations and events with scholars and film and media industry professionals. She had been featured in documentaries, on Turner Classic Movies, and Amazon Prime. For past and upcoming talks, lectures, and conversations see SELECT PUBLIC EVENTS or view selected VIDEOS.


Dr. Sheppard organizes a lecture series that brings distinguished scholars to Cornell to discuss Black media. For past and upcoming lectures see VOICES & VISIONS



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