Francesco Casetti currently teaches courses on Semiotics, on Film and Media Theories, on Post-Cinema and Technical Images, and on Media and Space. He is the author of six books, translated into (among other languages) French, Spanish, Czech, and Korean; he is also co-author of two books, editor of more than ten books and special issues of journals, and author of more than sixty essays.
During the 1970s and 1980s, his research was mostly focused on semiotics of film and television, in particular about genres, intertextuality, and enunciation. His major achievement was an extensive study on the implied spectator in film (Inside the Gaze, Indiana, 1999, or. 1986) and an edited book on television and its imagined audience (Tra me e te, 1988). During the ‘90s he increasingly moved toward an original combination of close analysis and ethnographic research of actual audiences, introducing the notion of “communicative negotiations” (L’ospite fisso, 1995, on media consumption in 32 Italian families, and Communicative Negotiation in Cinema and Television, 2002, on the idea of “communicative pact” and “communicative situation”). In the 2000s Casetti explored the role of cinema in the context of modernity and the decline of cinema in the electronic age in two award-winning books. Eye of the Century. Film, Experience, Modernity (Columbia, 2008, or. 2005) suggests that cinema was crucial in negotiating between the opposite trends of modernism, like the focus on language and the desire of immediacy, or the fascination for machines and the preservation of human. The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key words for the Cinema to Come (Columbia, 2015) interprets film’s current transformations as an ongoing process of ‘relocation’ of media in new physical and technological spaces. Casetti has also significantly written, and still writes, on film theories (Theories of Cinema. 1945-1995, Texas, 1999, or. 1993, and the anthology Early Film Theories in Italy. 1896-1922, AUP 2017). He is currently working on a book that tackles the deep history of fears of media and mediation, and that focuses on the peculiar answer offered by the modern optical-spatial arrangements based on sealed spaces and screened images, starting from the Phantasmagoria of 18th Century.
Francesco Casetti has taught in Italy at the University of Genova, of Trieste, and the Catholic University of Milan. He was visiting professor at Université de Paris III - la Sorbonne Nouvelle (1977), at the University of Iowa (1988, 1991 and 1998) and Harvard (2014). In 2000 he was the recipient of the Chair of Italian Culture for a distinguished scholar at the University of California-Berkeley. He was William P. Evans Fellow at the University of Otago (New Zealand) in 2011, Fellow at the IKKM, Bauhaus University at Weimar in 2012, and Fellow at the BildEvidenz research group, Freie University Berlin in 2019.
He is member of the Advisory Boards of several film journals and research institutions. He is a member of the Historical Accademia degli Agiati, correspondent member of the Historical Accademia delle Scienze (Bologna), and foreigner member of the Historical Accademia di Scienze Morali e Politiche (Naples).
With Jane Gaines (Columbia University), he is the co-founder of the Permanent Seminar on Histories of Film Theories, an international network of film scholars aimed at a systematic exploration of the field of film and media theories (see the website: http://filmtheories.org/).
At Yale, Casetti is an Affiliated Faculty at the School of Architecture and member of the Humanities Program.
Photo ©Laila Pozzo