Brian R. Jacobson is Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies and History at the University of Toronto. His research spans the history and theory of moving image media, the history and philosophy of technology, environmental history, and art and architectural history.
He is the author of Studios Before the System: Architecture, Technology, and the Emergence of Cinematic Space (Columbia University Press, Film and Culture Series, 2015), a book that situates the world’s first film studios in the architectural and technological developments of urban industrial modernity and argues that cinema should be understood as a critical component of what historians of technology have termed the “human-built world.”
In 2013 he was the winner of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Dissertation Award. He has also been a Fulbright Advanced Student Fellow to France (2009-2010) and a fellow of the Social Science Research Council's International Dissertation Research Fellowship (2009-2011) and Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (Visual Culture field, 2007).
He is currently working on a series of projects about industrial and corporate media, including French industrial and agricultural films and film festivals and a monograph that focuses on cinema’s longstanding role in the politics, industrial processes, and public perception of global energy. Research for this work has been supported by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and the University of Rochester Humanities Center (where he is an external faculty fellow for 2016-2017).
His articles have appeared in journals including Film Quarterly, Framework, Film History, History and Technology, Amodern, Media Fields Journal, and Early Popular Visual Culture.
Thesis: Constructions of Cinematic Space: Spatial Practice at the Intersection of Film and Theory