Jessica Scarlata

Jessica Scarlata

Jessica Scarlata


Associate Professor

global and transnational cinema; incarceration and security; diaspora and migration; violence and human rights; colonialism; Indian, Irish, and Latin American film; race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality

Jessica Scarlata is an associate professor of English and film and media studies and the director of the Screen Cultures minor (formerly Film and Media Studies) in CHSS. Her work addresses questions of incarceration, contested geographies and memories, and an approach to globalization that emphasizes national security discourses and cultural/political/national exclusion. Her book, Rethinking Occupied Ireland: Gender and Incarceration in Contemporary Irish Cinema (Syracuse University Press, 2014), studies films that explore Irish history from the perspective of those marginalized within or ejected from Irish and British national narratives, offering a chance to interrogate Ireland's legacy of colonialism and anti-/postcolonial nationalism and to reevaluate what constitutes political cinema and political resistance. Her main focus in teaching is world cinema, particularly that of postcolonial nations. Her courses have covered Third Cinema and its legacy; representations of gender and sexuality; constructions of race, religion, and ethnicity; multiculturalism and migration; carceral spaces and institutions; and geographies of violence, all from a wide range of national/cultural contexts. 


Current Research

I am currently working on a book tentatively titled Geographies of Irish Visual Culture that looks at film, video, television, and photography made in or about Northern Ireland after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. This project seeks out works that deliberately or haphazardly open Irish history up to a wider global history of oppression, occupation, and emergency legislation. I am interested in the representation of contested spaces, places, and memories in the North, particularly in works that dissent from dominant narratives of the Troubles by inviting associations to other contested sites/sites of contest within and beyond Ireland and the UK.

Selected Publications

Rethinking Occupied Ireland: Gender and Incarceration in Contemporary Irish Film. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2014.

“Outside/In: Performance and Belonging in Loins of Punjab Presents . . .South Asian Popular Culture, 11(1) :1-14 (2013).

“Othello Nightmares: Time, Race, and Tragedy in Fred Wilson’s September Dream,” Art-in-Sight 28 (Fall 2005).

“Carnivals and Goldfish: History and Crisis in The Butcher Boy.”  Literature and Film: A Reader. Ed. Robert Stam and Alessandra Raengo. Oxford: Blackwell Press, 2004, 233-251.


PhD in Cinema Studies, New York University, 2004

MA in Cinema Studies, New York University, 1998


Dissertations Supervised

Aimee Anthony, Behind the Scenes: African American Women Filmmakers in Early Cinema, 1890s to 1940s (2021)

Mika’il Petin, "I’m Not an American": Sovereign Masculinity and Images of Black Muslim Men during the War on Terror (2016)