Jennifer Blaylock

(she/her/hers)

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies
  • Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Areas of Study

Education

  • PhD, film and media studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • MA, film and media studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • MA, moving image archiving and preservation, New York University
  • BA, anthropology, minor in English, University of California, Berkeley

Biography

I am a film and media historian with research interests in audio-visual archives, postcolonial and decolonial theory, and African studies. Most of my research has been focused on Ghanaian media histories. Currently, I am writing an article on the distribution and preservation of the 1965 Ghanaian film adaptation of Hamlet called Hamile: The Tongo Hamlet. I am also thrilled to have recently published two articles on the broadcasting work of Oberlin alumni, Shirley Graham Du Bois ’34, who was appointed director of Ghana Television in 1964 and is likely the first woman to head a national television station.

In addition to writing about Hamile, I am also working on a book manuscript entitled Making Media New: Race in African Media History. In it, I theorize the history of new media by examining representations of different media technologies—gramophones, radio, cinema, television, and mobile phones—in Africa to highlight the ways racial difference has sustained continuities between iterations of media newness across colonial and postcolonial contexts. My cinema studies course, When Old Media Were New, stems from this research. In it, we survey the field of media history called media archeology and explicitly bring it into conversation with postcolonial and decolonial thought.

Other Oberlin courses I have taught include Introduction to African Cinemas, Feminist Media Histories, and the First Year Seminar Program course, Beautiful Trash. This fall I will teach Theory and History of Global Cinema, a survey course that introduces students to cinema as transnational art practice, tool for solidarity across global revolutionary uprisings, and as a form of entertainment well suited for international capitalism. In the spring, I will teach the introduction to media studies course, What is Media?, where students learn media literacy skills while exploring the theoretical contours of the course title. 

  • “New Media, Neo-Media: The Brief Life of Socialist Television in Ghana” boundary 2 49, no. 1 (2022): 195-230.
  • “The Mother, the Mistress, and the Cover Girls: Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and the Coloniality of Gender” Feminist Media Histories 8, no. 1 (2022): 102-133.
  • “Disorientation and Discomfort as Global Media Pedagogy” The Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 61, no. 6 (2022).
  • “‘Who wants a BlackBerry these days?’: Serialized New Media and its Trash” Screen 62, no. 2 (2021): 1–17.
  • “The Persistent Instructor: Forty-five years of Kofi the Good Farmer in Ghana” Journal of African Cinemas 12, no. 1 (2020): 71–86.

Fall 2022

Theory and History of Global Cinema — CINE 323

Spring 2023

What is Media? — CINE 211

Notes

Jennifer Blaylock Publishes Article on Socialist Television in Ghana

April 29, 2022

Jennifer Blaylock, Visiting Assistant Professor in Cinema Studies, recently published the article "New Media, Neo-Media: The Brief Life of Socialist Television in Ghana" in the journal boundary 2. Television in Ghana was born at a radical time when Africans across the continent were boldly inventing systems of governance resistant to imperialism and racial inequality. Blaylock argues that this Afrofuturist period of Ghana's televisual past provides a counternarrative to media discourse from the colonial era that positioned African countries as the passive receivers of new media technologies. She shows how transnational influences were actively adapted by Ghanaian broadcasters to newly theorize the medium of television in opposition to racial capitalism.

Jennifer Blaylock Publishes Article on Oberlin Alumnus Shirley Graham Du Bois

March 1, 2022

Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies Jennifer Blaylock recently published an article about Oberlin alumnus Shirley Graham Du Bois for a special issue of Feminist Media Histories on decolonial feminisms edited by Pavitra Sunar and Debashree Mukherjee. Shirley Graham Du Bois was the first director of Ghana Television and likely the first Black woman to head a national television station in the world. Blaylock's article, "The Mother, the Mistress, and the Cover Girls: Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and the Coloniality of Gender" analyzes Graham Du Bois' theorization of television as a tool for decolonization and shows that while Graham Du Bois' media practice rarely addressed gender inequality specifically, her work as a female broadcast leader in the mid-1960s set a precedent for decolonial feminist futures. 

Jennifer Blaylock Publishes Article in Journal of Cinema and Media Studies

January 19, 2022

Jennifer Blaylock, visiting assistant professor in cinema studies, contributed an article about her globally oriented media archaeology course, When Old Media Were New, to the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies Winter Teaching Media Dossier "Teaching 'the Global' in Media Studies," edited by Juan Llamas-Rodriguez.