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Roberta Pearson

Professor of Film and Television Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I received my BA from Duke University, my MPhil from Yale University and my Phd from New York University. I taught at the Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pennsylvania and Cardiff University before coming to Nottingham in 2004. I served as the Director of the Institute of Film and Television Studies from 2004 to 2010 and then as Head of the new Department of Culture, Film and Media from 2010 to 2013.

Expertise Summary

My research and publications encompass a wide variety of topics and interests.

1) American television drama: I am interested in the multiple determinants of textual meaning from the production context to textual characteristics (narrative/genre) to audience reception and fandom. At the moment, I am fascinated by the emergence of multi-platform, transmedia storytelling and its historical antecedents. I have co-edited an anthology on cult television, edited an anthology on Lost and co-authored a book on Star Trek and American Television.

2) Shakespeare and media: I am primarily concerned with Shakespeare as cultural icon, rather than adaptations of individual texts, although have written about film and television adaptation as well.

4) acting and actors: I have a long standing interest in film acting that goes back to my PhD dissertation, which was published as Eloquent Gestures. I am also interested in the craft of the actor and have recently interviewed Patrick Stewart about his interpretation of Mark Antony in an interview which appeared in the journal Shakespeare.

5) early cinema/film history: I have written quite a bit about early American cinema.

6) film/television and history: how do moving image media represent the past? How do representations of particular historical events vary over time or across a range of media at the same time. My own work in this area has focused on the ill-fated American general, George Armstrong Custer.

7) culturally iconic figures: a theme that runs through much of my research in an interest in the cultural significance of particular historical or fictional figures such as Shakespeare, Custer, Batman or Sherlock Holmes.

8) fan studies: I have written several book chapters and articles about fandom

9) Sherlock Holmes: I have written several book chapters about Holmes and am working on a major monograph titled 'I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere': Multi-media, Transatlantic, Post-Millenial Holmes

Teaching Summary

I am interested in supervising Mres and Phd students with interests in popular culture, fan studies, American and British television,international television distribution, popular culture icons such… read more

Research Summary

I have just publlished a co-edited collection titled Storytelling in the Media Convergence Age: Screen Narrative Contexts. The essays in the collection connect industrial conditions of production to… read more

Selected Publications

  • PEARSON, R., 2012. "Good Old Index", or, The Mystery of the Infinite Archive. In: STEIN, L.E. and BUSSE, K., eds., Sherlock and Transmedia Fandom: essays on the BBC series McFarland. 150-164
  • PEARSON, R., ed., 2009. Reading Lost: perspectives on a hit television show I.B. Tauris.
  • PEARSON, R., 2010. The multiple determinants of television acting. In: CORNEA, C., ed., Genre and performance: film and television Manchester University Press. 166-183
  • PEARSON, R., 2011. Cult Television as Digital Television’s Cutting Edge. In: BENNETT, J. and STRANGE, N., eds., Television as Digital Media Duke University Press. 105-131

I am interested in supervising Mres and Phd students with interests in popular culture, fan studies, American and British television,international television distribution, popular culture icons such as Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes, television narrative, the representation of history and cultural memory. I am currently supervising Phd students working on projects on web drama, the internationalisation of UK television, the history of transmedia storytelling, the branding of authorship in film, television and video games, the history of Bermudan television as well as several other topics.

Current Research

I have just publlished a co-edited collection titled Storytelling in the Media Convergence Age: Screen Narrative Contexts. The essays in the collection connect industrial conditions of production to the way stories are told across a range of media (television, comics, films and video games) in several different countries from the UK and the US to India. The collection reflects my interest in narrative theory and intermediality, that is the relations between different media.

My own contribution compares the UK and US adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock and Elementary, by placing them within the context of their national broadcasting cultures. This reflects my interests in television, media industries and Sherlock Holmes. I am currently working on a monograph entitled 'I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere': Multi-media, Transatlantic, Post-Millennial Holmes which compares the representation and reception of Holmes in the UK and the US.

Currently in press is Many More Lives of the Batman, an updated sequel to my classic co-edited book The Many Lives of the Batman, first published in 1991. The new book reprints the best essays and interviews from the original and contains several new chapters. The book reflects my interests in both comics and popular culture icons.

I am currently working on a collaborative project with colleagues at our Ningbo campus and at Loughborough University. The project concerns China, heritage and comparative memory studies. This reflects my interest in cultural memory and the representation of history in popular culture.

Past Research

I have just published a co-authored book called Star Trek and American Television. The book uses Star Trek as a case study to investigate the history of American television, the way that television shows get made and the ways that television tells stories. It is based on interviews with more than twenty Star Trek personnel including Sir Patrick Stewart (who wrote the foreword for the book) and William Shatner.

I have in the past co-edited books on Batman and on the television show Lost. I have published book chapters and journal articles on Shakespeare, on fandom, on screen acting and on the representation of history.

  • ROBERTA PEARSON, 2017. ‘Additionality and Cohesion in Transfictional Worlds’ The Velvet Light Trap. 79(spring), 113-119
  • ROBERTA PEARSON, 2016. Googling Sherlock Holmes: Popular Memory, Platforms, Protocols and Paratexts’. In: SARA PESCE AND PAOLO NOTA, ed., The Politics of Ephemeral Digital Media: Permanance and Obsolescence in Paratexts Routledge. 77-94
  • ROBERTA PEARSON, 2015. Sherlock Holmes, a De Facto Franchise?. In: LINCOLN GERAGHTY, ed., Popular Media Cultures: Fans, Audiences and Paratexts Palgrave-MacMillan. 186-205
  • ROBERTA PEARSON, 2015. ‘I hear of Sherlock Everywhere’?: The Holmes Franchise at the Centre and the Margins. In: JENNIFER ALEXANDER, DANIEL JACKSON, HEATHER SAVIGNY AND EINAR THORSEN, ed., Media, Margins and Popular Culture Palgrave-MacMillan. 188-201
  • ROBERTA PEARSON, WILLIAM URICCHIO AND WILL BROOKER, ed., 2015. Many More Lives of the Batman BFI/Palgrave.
  • ROBERTA PEARSON, 2014. Remembering Frank Sinatra: Celebrity Studies Meets Memory Studies’. In: BRONWEN THOMAS and JULIAN ROUND, eds., Real Lives, Celebrity Stories:: Narratives of Ordinary and Extraordinary People Across Media Bloomsbury. 187-209
  • ROBERTA PEARSON and MAIRE MESSENGER DAVIES, 2014. Star Trek and American Television University of California Press.
  • ROBERTA PEARSON and ANTHONY N. SMITH, eds., 2014. Storytelling in the Media Convergence Age: Screen Narrative Contexts Palgrave MacMillan.
  • ROBERTA PEARSON, 2014. A Case of Idenity: Sherlock, Elementary and Their National Broadcasting Systems. In: ROBERTA PEARSON and ANTHONY N. SMITH, eds., Storytelling in the Media Convergence Age: Screen Narrative Contexts Palgrave MacMillan.
  • 2013. Star Trek: Serialized Ideology. In: JASON MITTELL, ed., How to Watch TV New York University Press. 213-222
  • 2013. L'eteroglossia di Star Trek. In: Cult Television Rigel Edizione. 77-90
  • PEARSON, R., 2012. "Good Old Index", or, The Mystery of the Infinite Archive. In: STEIN, L.E. and BUSSE, K., eds., Sherlock and Transmedia Fandom: essays on the BBC series McFarland. 150-164
  • 2012. Review essay of James Bennett, Television Personalities: Stardom and the Small Screen for ‘In Focus on Performance’ Cinema Journal. 51(3), 165-167
  • PEARSON, R., 2011. Cult Television as Digital Television’s Cutting Edge. In: BENNETT, J. and STRANGE, N., eds., Television as Digital Media Duke University Press. 105-131
  • PEARSON, R., 2010. Fandom in the Digital Era Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture. 8(1), 1-12
  • PEARSON, R., 2010. The multiple determinants of television acting. In: CORNEA, C., ed., Genre and performance: film and television Manchester University Press. 166-183
  • PEARSON, ROBERTA, 2010. Observations on Cult Television. In: ABBOTT, STACEY, ed., The Cult TV Book I.B. Tauris. 7-18
  • EVANS, ELIZABETH and PEARSON, ROBERTA, 2009. Boxed Out: Visually Impaired Audiences and the Cultural Value of the Television Image P@rticipations: The Online Journal of Audience Research.
  • PEARSON, R., ed., 2009. Reading Lost: perspectives on a hit television show I.B. Tauris.
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2008. Screening Shakespeare: A Review Essay European Journal of Communication. 23(1), 79-85
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2007. <i>Lost</i> in Transition: from post-network to post-television. In: MCCABE, J. and AKASS, K., eds., Quality TV: contemporary American television and beyond: . London: I.B. Tauris. 239-256
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2007. Anatomising Gilbert Grissom: The Structure and Function of the Televisual Character. In: ALLEN, M., ed., Focus on CSI I.B. Tauris.
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2007. Bachies, Bardies, Trekkies and Sherlockians. In: GRAY, J. and HARRINGTON, C.L AND SANDVOSS, C., eds., Fan Audiences New York: New York University Press. 98-109
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2007. The Triple Pillar of the World: Patrick Stewart Talks About Mark Antony Shakespeare. 3(2), 256-269
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND MESSENGER-DAVIES, M, 2007. The Little Program That Could; the Relationship between NBC and Star Trek. In: HILMES, M., ed., NBC: America's Network Berkeley: University of California Press. 209-223
  • PEARSON, R.E AND SIMPSON, N., 2007. Reverse Flow: European Media in the United States. In: MAZLISH, B; CHANDRA, N; WEISBRODE, K., ed., The Paradox of a Global USA Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. 103-121
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND URICCHIO. W., 2006. Brushing up Shakespeare: relevance and televisual form in Great Britons and In Search of Shakespeare. In: HENDERSON, D.E., ed., A Concise Companion to Shakespeare on Screen Malden, MA: Blackwells. 197-215
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2005. The Writer/Producer in American Television. In: HAMMOND, M. and MAZDON, L., eds., The Contemporary Television Series Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 11-26
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND MESSENGER-DAVIES, M, 2005. Class Acts?: public and private values and the cultural habits of theatre-goers. In: SONIA LIVINGSTONE, ed., Audiences and Publics: When cultural engagement matters for the public sphere Intellect Books, Bristol. 139-162
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2004. The Menace of the Movies: Cinema's Challenges to the Theater in the Transitional Period. In: KEIL, C. and STAMP, S., eds., American Cinema's Transitional Era: audiences, institutions, practices Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 315-331
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2004. Heritage, Humanism, Populism: Representing Shakespeare in Contemporary British Television. In: ECKART, V, ed., Janespotting and Beyond: British heritage retrovisions since the mid-1990s 87-97
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2004. Bright, Particular Star: Patrick Stewart, Jean-Luc Picard and Cult Television. In: PEARSON, R.E. AND GWENLLIAN-JONES, S., ed., Cult Television Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 61-80 (In Press.)
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2004. Television: Teacher, Mother, Secret Lover! FRAMEWORK. VOL 45(NUMB 2), 62-67
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND MESSENGER-DAVIES, M, 2004. To Boldly Bestride the Narrow World: Shakespeare, Star Trek and the British Television Market. In: BONDEJBERG, I. AND GOLDING, P., ed., European Culture and the Media Bristol, Intellect Books. 65-90
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2004. The Histrionic and Verisimilar Codes in the Biograph Films. In: WOJCKI, P.R., ed., Movie Acting: The Film Reader London and New York, Routledge. 59-68
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND GWENLLIAN-JONES, S., ed., 2004. Cult Television Minneapolis, MN, US, University of Minnesota Press.
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND URICCHIO. W., 2004. How Many Times Shall Caesar Bleed in Sport? Shakespeare and the Cultural Debate about Moving Pictures. In: GRIEVESON, L. AND KRAMER, P., ed., The Silent Cinema Reader London: Routledge. 155-168
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2003. A White Man's Country: Native Americans in Yale's Chronicles of America Photoplays. In: GRAINGE, P., ed., Film and Popular Memory Manchester, UK, Manchester University Press. 23-41
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2003. Kings of Infinite Space: Cult Television Characters Scope: An Online Journal of Film Studies. (In Press.)
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND MESSENGER-DAVIES, M, 2003. Stardom and Distinction: Patrick Stewart as an Agent of Cultural Mobility A Study of Theatre and Film Audiences in New York City. In: AUSTIN, T. AND BARKER, M., ed., Contemporary Hollywood Stardom London, Edward Arnold. 167-186
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND MESSENGER-DAVIES, M, 2003. You're not going to see that on tv: Star Trek: the Next Generation in film and television. In: JANCOVICH, M. AND LYONS, J., ed., Quality Popular Television: Cult TV, the Industry and Fans London: British Film Institute. 103-117
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2002. Shakespeare's Country: The National Poet, English Identity and the Silent Cinema. In: HIGSON, A., ed., Young and innocent?: the cinema in Britain, 1896-1930 Exeter: University of Exeter Press. 176-190
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2002. Pleasing the Million: Shakespearean Cinema in the Nineties. In: NEALE, S., ed., Genre and Contemporary Hollywood: Formulas, Cycles and Trends Since the Late 1970s London, British Film Institute. 146-159
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND URICCHIO. W., 2002. Corruption, Criminality and the Nickelodeon. In: JENKINS, H. and MACPHERSON, T. AND SHATTUCK, J., eds., Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture Durham: Duke University Press. 376-388
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND URICCHIO. W., 2002. Coming to Terms with New York City's Moving Picture Operators, 1906-1913 The Moving Image. 2(2), 73-93
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2002. Actor-Persona and Actor-Character. In: VICHI, L., ed., The Visible Man: Film Actor from Early Cinema to the Eve of Modern Cinema Udine, Italy, Udine Forum Press. 69-83
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND MESSENGER-DAVIES, M, 2002. A Brave New World A Week: Star Trek, cult television, master narratives and postmodernism. In: LE GUERN, P., ed., Les cultes mediatiques: Culture fan et oeuvers cultes Presses Universitaires de Rennes II, Rennes, France. 263-280
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2002. Corruption, Criminality and the Nickelodeon. In: Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture Durham, NC, US, Duke University Press. 376-388
  • PEARSON, R.E., 2001. Indianism?: Classical Hollywoods Representation of Native Americans. In: BERNARDI, D., ed., Classic Whiteness: Race and the Hollywood Studio System Minneapolis, MN, US, University of Minnesota Press. 245-262
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND URICCHIO. W., 2001. Celluloid Shakespeare and the Complexities of Popular Meaning. In: GRIPSRUD, J., ed., The Aesthetics of Popular Art Kristiansand, Norway, Norwegian Academic Press. 91-113
  • PEARSON, R.E. AND SIMPSON, P., ed., 2001. Critical Dictionary of Film and Television Theory London and New York, Routledge.

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