Photo of Professor Joe Kember

Professor Joe Kember

Research interests

My research is in popular and visual culture throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and especially in early and silent cinema. My book, Marketing Modernity: Victorian Popular Shows and Early Cinema (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2009), provides an expansive analysis of the institutional development of early film in relation to emergent models of self-identity and personality at the turn of the century.  Other notable publications in the field of silent film studies include Early Cinema 1895 - 1914: From Factory Gate to Dream Factory (London: Wallflower, 2004), co-authored with Simon Popple.

A second strand of my research is in popular entertainments, exhibitions, and displays between 1850 and 1914. I am the reviews editor for Early Popular Visual Culture, a journal which specialises in this type of subject matter. From 2007 I led, with Professor John Plunkett, the AHRC funded project, Moving and Projected-Image Entertainment in the South-West 1840-1914.  I am completing the co-authored book, Picture Going: Popular Visual Media in the South-West 1840-1914, which will be the major published output for the project. Within the project, I have also co-edited special issues of the journals Early Popular Visual Culture and Nineteenth-Century Theatre and Film and a volume in the Pickering and Chatto ‘Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century’ series entitled, Popular Exhibitions, Science and Showmanship, 1840-1910 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2012). Among my  other recent articles and chapters, are publications that have tackled spectatorship, performance and screening practices in exhibition sites such as Victorian freak shows, lecture theatres, public halls, and the magic theatre.I am currently the UK Principal Investigator in the project, A Million Pictures: Magic Lantern Slide Heritage as Artefacts in the Common European History of Learning, which is a Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage - Heritage Plus, and which is funded in the UK by the AHRC and co-funded by the European Commission.

My next project is an intermedial study of the performance and representation of the human face between 1880 and 1930, provisionally entitled Pulling Faces. I have already published several chapters and articles on related subjects, and hve been a Co-investgator on the 1914FACES2014 project, which aimed to analyse how the mutilated faces of soldiers injured during the Great War significantly influenced medical practice, social and political history, arts, law, and philosophy. My own responsibilities in this project related to performative and representational histories of the face on film, especially during the late teens and 1920s.