Scott Combs began teaching at St. John’s in the fall of 2007. He received his B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies with Honors from the University of Chicago in 1998, and his M.A. (2001) and Ph.D. (2006) from the University of California, Berkeley. In the year prior to joining the St. John’s faculty, Professor Combs taught at Berkeley and Stanford University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on international film history, American film genres (noir, melodrama, horror, westerns), novel-to-film adaptation, and death, dying, and modern medicine. His research has focused primarily on the cinematic nature of death both on and off the screen. He is currently preparing a book manuscript on the ways American cinema sees dying, tracing film death across a range of technological innovation, from the coming of story films, to early synchronized sound, to the medical use of body imaging devices. Recently he has begun researching the political formation of the white rural poor as a category of denigration in popular culture. He is also a published poet under the pseudonym Harlan Mackey.
“The Other Within: Poor Whites and the Purging of American National Identity” Vietnam panel on Bringing the War Back Home (session moderator and presenter )
Society of Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference
“Final Moments: Death Scenes in Early American Silent Film” (invited lecturer)
Claremont Graduate University
“The Movie Camera as a Death Technology.” (invited speaker)
Death and Dying Potluck, Berkeley
“Goodbye’s Sound Space”
Visual Cultures Working Group, UC Berkeley
“The Lady from Shanghai’s Enigmatic Plot of the Self”
Pacific Film Archive
“The Range of Death’s Cinematic Motion”
Death in American Culture Annual Conference
“Edison, Early Film, and the Dying Body”
Identifiable Remains: The Body and the Moving Image Conference
“Insecure Movies: Hollywood’s Representations of Execution”
2003 Society of Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference
“The Return of Silent Cinema: John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln and the Suppressive Cut”
Pacific Film Archive
“Brief Flesh: Suicide, Code-Era Hollywood, and the Jury”
Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference
“The Jazz Singer or the Corpse.” Music and the Moving Image Conference, New York University. May 15, 2011.
“White Face, Redneck: Performance and White Trash Eroticism.” 2010 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, UCLA.
“Every Afternoon.” Invited Lecture for St. John’s College Annual Faculty Symposium, November 2, 2009.
“Screening Dying.” 2009 American Comparative Literature Association Conference, Harvard University.
“Bringing the War Back Home: Allegorizing Vietnam in Film and Television.” Panel Chair, 2007 Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Chicago, Il.
Deathwatch: American Film, Technology, and the End of Life (forthcoming, Columbia University Press).
“Mobile Endings: Screen Death, Early Narrative, and the Films of D.W. Griffith.” Cinema Journal (Fall 2012).
“The Jazz Singer or the Corpse: Al Jolson, Diegetic Music, and the Moment of Death.” Music and the Moving Image 5:3 (Fall 2012).
“The Screen Kallikak: White Trash for White Guilt in Post-Vietnam American Film,” in Beyond the Plantation: Southern Identities in Contemporary Films, ed. Andrew Leiter (McFarland Press, 2011).
“Cut: Editing, Execution, and Instant Death.” Spectator 28:2 (Fall 2008), 31-41.