Samantha Noelle Sheppard

Associate Professor


Dr. Samantha N. Sheppard is an Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. 

Dr. Sheppard was the inaugural Mary Armstrong Meduski '80 Assistant Professor from 2017-2021. She was the recipient of the 2021 Robert and Helen Appel Fellowship for Humanists and Social Scientists, which recognizes faculty excellence in Cornell's College of Arts & Sciences. 

She received her BA in Film & Television Studies and Women and Gender Studies from Dartmouth College and her MA and PhD in Cinema and Media Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. She also holds a graduate certificate in Women's Studies from UCLA's Department of Gender Studies.  

Dr. Sheppard's research interests include Black cultural production and production cultures, African American representation in cinema, television studies, sports films, feminist media studies, embodiment studies, and critical race theory. She writes extensively on issues of race, gender, and representation in film, television, and digital media. She teaches courses on global cinema, sports films, contemporary television, African American film history, popular culture, women filmmakers, and blackness on screen.

She is the author of Sporting Blackness: Race, Embodiment, and Critical Muscle Memory on Screen (University of California Press,  2020). She is co-editor of the anthologies From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry (University Press of Mississippi, 2016) with TreaAndrea Russworm and Karen Bowdre and Sporting Realities: Critical Readings on the Sports Documentary (University of Nebraska Press, 2020) with Travis Vogan. 

She has published  essays in Feminist Media Histories, Film Quarterly, The Velvet Light Trap, Cinema Journal, Journal of Sport History, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Black Camera: An International Journal, and FLOW: A Critical Forum on Media and Culture alongside chapters in the anthologies L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema (University of California Press, 2015) and Race and the Revolutionary Impulse in The Spook Who Sat by the Door (Indiana University Press, 2018). She has also written for The Atlantic, Flash Art International, Docalogue, and Los Angeles Review of Books.

Most recently, she was commissioned to write an essay, "Deep Cuts," for Tiona Nekkia McClodden's exhibition "The Trace of an Implied Presence," a multidisciplinary exhibition exploring contemporary Black dance organized by Tiona Nekkia McClodden and co-produced by Nike and The Shed.

She is currently working on two book projects. The first, The Basketball Film: A Cultural and Transmedia History, is in progress and under contract with Rutgers University Press as a part of the "Screening Sports" series. The second book is tentatively titled A Black W/hole: Phantom Cinemas and the Reimagining of Black Women's Media Histories, a project for which she was named a 2021 Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

She has been featured on several podcasts, most recently American Prodigiesand seen on television as a special guest for Turner Classic Movie's Black History Month programming and Sunday Silent Nights alongside TCM host Jacqueline Stewart.

To learn more about Dr. Sheppard, see her website:


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