Having arrived at MSU just three years ago, Joshua Yumibe has already reinvigorated the university’s longstanding commitment to the study of film and media and was instrumental in developing and launching the new B.A. in Film Studies at MSU. Under his guidance, the program focuses on cinema in its industrial and artisanal forms and provides a distinctive, in-depth grounding in a central medium of our globally networked visual environment that teaches students to engage the cinematic arts in ways that integrate filmmaking and critical studies.
Yumibe’s teaching combines passion for his subject, innovation, and intellectual rigor. From “Introduction to Film” to core courses in film history and film theory to advanced seminars on the evolution of color cinema aesthetics and technologies, and cinematic modernism and modernity, his classes are designed to encourage students to put film history and film theory in dialogue. He encourages active class participation by requiring students to post responses to class screenings and discussion questions electronically.
Yumibe’s research in film history and theory is internationally recognized. His groundbreaking book, Moving Color: Early Film, Mass Culture, Modernism, examines the earliest color films of the silent era—decades before The Wizard of Oz. In 2013, it was honored by the Cinémathèque française and by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, which noted that “this inspiring book presents a vibrant history—[and] brings a startling moment in cinema’s genealogy to life.” In 2012 he was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Grant that funds the study of the chromatic modernity of the 1920s. His most recent collaborative book is Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema with a foreword by Martin Scorsese (2015), which among other accolades has been reviewed in The Atlantic and featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Yumibe’s dedication to film culture and history are also manifest through the variety of events he has organized at MSU, from bringing to campus renowned producer Christine Vachon and coordinating numerous lectures with filmmakers and scholars at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum to organizing outreach efforts with the Traverse City Film Festival and the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Yumibe’s critical engagement with, and promotion of, film culture at Michigan State exemplifies the dynamic range and depth of the university’s teacher–scholars.
Originally published in MSUToday.