Ryan Jay Friedman
Professor and Vice Chair
565 Denney Hall
Areas of Expertise
- Film studies
- African American literature
- Critical theory
- Twentieth-century American literature
- PhD, Northwestern University, 2004
- BA, University of Notre Dame, 1998
Ryan Friedman specializes in early African American film and the racial politics of classical Hollywood, while teaching courses and writing on a number of other topics, including African American literature, film theory and American film’s social histories.
Friedman is the author of Hollywood’s African American Films: The Transition to Sound and The Movies as a World Force: American Silent Cinema and the Utopian Imagination. He has contributed essays on race, representation, and film technology and form to the collections Early Race Filmmaking in America, Hollywood at the Intersection of Race and Identity, Media Ventriloquism: How Audiovisual Technologies Transform the Voice-Body Relationship and Resetting the Scene: Classical Hollywood Revisited. Friedman’s scholarship, covering topics from Charles Chesnutt’s critique of scientific racist thought to James Baldwin’s film writings, has also appeared in a range of academic journals. He is currently working on a manuscript on African American “specialty numbers” in World War II-era Hollywood and Black independent films.
- The Movies as a World Force: American Silent Cinema and the Utopian Imagination. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2019.
- “Signifying Excess: The African American Specialty Number and the Classical Musical.” Resetting the Scene: Classical Hollywood Revisited, ed. Katherine Spring and Philippa Gates, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2021.
- “By Herself: Intersectionality, African American Specialty Performers, and Eleanor Powell.” Hollywood at the Intersections of Identity, ed. Delia Malia Konzett, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2019, pp. 122-140.
- “‘Mike Fright’: Racial Ventriloquism in the Hollywood Talkies.” Media Ventriloquism: How Audiovisual Technologies Transform the Voice-Body Relationship, ed. Jaimie Baron, Jennifer Fleeger and Shannon Wong Lerner, New York: Oxford University Press, 2021, pp. 83-95.
- Hollywood’s African American Films: The Transition to Sound. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2011.