It is, of course, a kind of admitting or concession of a certain kind of truth, a
recognizing (which is to say, a kindred mode of knowing), but also an under-
standing, a debt, even receipt (as of a letter), and I accede above all to this con-
fession: it has always been my greatest pleasure, the claim of being a student of.
My gratitude is therefore first owed to the academic programs through
which I have passed in the last decade, ones that indelibly shaped me in their
curious, sometimes contradictory, and always wonderfully complicated inter-
actions. I am the proud product of the Film Studies Program at Yale Univer-
sity, the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture at the University
at Buffalo, and the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown Uni-
versity, and my scholarly debt to the abstractions of the traditions represented
therein is as real and felt as to any named body that breathes.
Moira Fradinger and John MacKay taught me how to form intellectual com-
mitments—to the rigors of close reading, to the wild speculations of theory—
while Brigitte Peucker bestowed kindnesses on me that I can never requite,
including introducing me to many of the filmmakers about whom I write and
modeling the promise and challenge of attending to the nuances of represen-
tation in even the most maligned texts. I was their formal charge for only a
few years, but I have been their student for half my life.
Tim Dean, for me, is the mode of the unexpected. I am continually taken
aback by the reach of his sincerity, goodness, and intellectual generosity. To
be his student, to experience the technique of perpetual mentorship, involves
bearing witness to an ethic of unfearful questioning, an observance that is also
a challenge and is also a call.
As a student of Mary Ann Doane’s, I appreciated immensely her admoni-
tions for pushing arguments without losing precision in writing. She was a
keen auditor of assumptions and an exceptionally valuable tutor. I was also
very fortunate to work closely with Lynne Joyrich for many years, and the
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