Scott Bukatman

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Scott Bukatman is a cultural theorist and Professor of Film and Media Studies at Stanford University.[1] Bukatman's research examines how popular media (film, comics) and genres (science fiction, musicals, superhero narratives) "mediate between new technologies and human perceptual and bodily experience."[2]



In 1986, Bukatman published "Battle with Songs: The Soviet Historical Film as Historical Document" in the journal Persistence of Vision 3-4. In 1988, he curated a retrospective exhibit on the films and television shows of comedian Jerry Lewis at the American Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. In 1989, he published "The Cybernetic (City) State: Terminal Space becomes Phenomenal" in the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 2. In 1992, Bukatman completed his Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University.

He has taught at NYU, Yale University, the School of Visual Arts in New York, the Free University of Berlin, and the University of New Mexico. Courses that Bukatman has developed include a range of interdisciplinary, intermedial offerings such as Cinema and the City, World's Fairs and Theme Parks, The Body in American Genre Film, and Cyborgs and Synthetic Humans.

In 1994, Bukatman co-organized "Cine City: Film and Perceptions of Urban Space 1895-1995" at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. In 1997, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Departments of Art and Comparative Literature at Stanford University, where he has developed the Film and Media Studies program in collaboration with Henry Breitrose and Art History professor Michael Marrinan.[citation needed]

Bukatman wrote Terminal Identity: The Virtual Subject in Postmodern Science Fiction (Duke University Press) and a monograph on the seminal science fiction film Blade Runner for the British Film Institute. His articles have been published in Artforum International, Architecture New York, October and Camera Obscura. He has served as a consulting editor for Science Fiction Studies and is on the editorial boards of Art/Text and Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal.


In 2003, Bukatman published Matters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the 20th Century (Duke University Press). According to a review in Guardian Unlimited, the fusing of the genres of superhero story and cyberpunk in films such as The Matrix are "...superbly analysed in Scott Bukatman's collection of essays." Bukatman addresses the "question of bodies in a technologised age", arguing that in modern science fiction "...the body may be 'simulated, morphed, modified, re-tooled, genetically engineered and even dissolved', but it is never entirely eliminated: the subject always retains a meat component." In addition, Bukatman analyzes the "scopic mastery" of special-effects shots in several seminal sci-fi movies, which provide an "omnipotent God's-eye view" vision and "panoramic displays," which he argues address "...the perceived loss of cognitive power experienced by the subject in an increasingly technologised world." [3]

Bukatman's latest project is a book-length study of Winsor McCay, an early innovator in both newspaper comics and animated film.

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