John MacKay

John MacKay's picture
Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and of Film Studies
(203) 432-7202

Biography

John MacKay is Professor of Film and Media Studies and Professor and Chair of Slavic Languages and Literatures and at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. He completed a BA in English at the University of British Columbia in 1987, and a PhD in Comparative Literature at Yale in 1998. He teaches a wide variety of courses on literature, Russian culture, cultural theory, and film and moving image media. His current research interests include documentary and experimental film, early Soviet culture and its later reception, Marxist theory, the comparative and cross-linguistic study of film and media concepts, and the comparative study of the short story form.

Research Interests

Current research interests include documentary and experimental film, early Soviet culture and its later reception, Marxist theory, the comparative and cross-linguistic study of film and media concepts, and the comparative study of the short story form.

Education History

BA, English, University of British Columbia, 1987
Pushkin Russian Language Institute (certificate in Russian), 1989
Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, Yale University, 1988

Publications

Largely forgotten during the last 20 years of his life, the Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov (1896-1954) has occupied a singular and often controversial position over the past sixty years as a founding figure of documentary, avant-garde, and political-propaganda film practice. Creator of Man with a Movie Camera (1929), perhaps the most celebrated non-fiction film ever made, Vertov is equally renowned as the most militant opponent of the canons of mainstream filmmaking in the history of cinema.

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the nineteenth century’s best-selling novel worldwide; only the Bible outsold it. It was known not only as a book but through stage productions, films, music, and commercial advertising as well. But how was Stowe’s novel—one of the watershed works of world literature—actually received outside of the American context? True Songs of Freedom explores one vital sphere of Stowe’s influence: Russia and the Soviet Union, from the 1850s to the present day.