Tanine Allison

Assistant Professor

Film & Media Studies

Office: Rich Bldg 109B

Phone: 404-712-4393

Email: tanine.allison@emory.edu

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  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 2010
  • BA, Brown University, 2001


As a new Assistant Professor, I’m pleased to be joining Film and Media Studies at Emory.  My research and teaching investigate the intersections of cinema and digital media studies, particularly as they address genre transformation, popular media and video games, and theories of realism and spectacle.  Before arriving at Emory, I taught film and media courses at the University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Filmmakers media arts school.  I have organized courses around genres (war, science fiction, film noir), technologies (video games, virtual worlds, special effects), aesthetics (realism, spectacle, documentary), and American and global film history.

I am presently at work on two book projects.  The first—a revision of my dissertation, “Screen Combat: Recreating World War II in American Film and Media”—reevaluates the World War II combat genre by looking at it through the lens of the digital.  By juxtaposing contemporary, digitally inflected films and video games (Saving Private Ryan, Call of Duty, Inglourious Basterds) with the classic texts of the genre (The Battle of San Pietro, Destination Tokyo, Sands of Iwo Jima), I aim to challenge our assumptions about the genre—namely, that it promotes a vision of World War II as the “good war.”  Video games and current films set during the war call attention to the dark underside of this time period: the mass destruction, violence, cruelty, and dissent.  I argue that these can also be found in earlier representations, particularly in combat sequences that use cutting-edge technology to present awesome destruction and spectacular annihilation.

My second book project investigates “motion capture” (or mocap) technology, which uses an actor’s performance to drive the animation of a digital character (like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings).  This technique crystallizes our contemporary cinematic moment, shifting from celluloid to digital filmmaking, and allows us to explore the changing circumstances of film acting, celebrity, virtual cinematography and environment building, cinematic realism, and digital representations of gendered, raced, classed, and (dis)abled bodies.


  • Film and Media Genres (especially war/combat, science fiction, and film noir)
  • Video Games and New Media
  • Special and Digital Effects
  • Theories of Cinematic Realism


“More than a Man in a Monkey Suit: Andy Serkis, Motion Capture, and Digital Realism,” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 28.4 (July 2011): 325–341.

“The X-Men Are Army Strong: Military Marketing and the Summer Movie Theater,” In Medias Res, The Contemporary Summer Blockbuster Theme Week (June 16, 2011), http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/imr/2011/06/16/x-men-are-army-strong-military-marketing-and-summer-movie-theater

 “The World War II Video Game, Adaptation, and Postmodern History,” Literature/Film Quarterly 38.3 (July 2010): 183–193.

Review-essay of The Virtual Life of Film by D. N. Rodowick, Critical Quarterly 51.1 (April 2009): 147–154.