2020 Laughlin Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement
Dr. Jennifer Fleeger, Associate Professor of Media and Communications Studies and Coordinator, Film Studies
Jennifer Fleeger received her B.A. from Macalester College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She joined us at Ursinus in 2013. She is a scholar and teacher of film and teaches courses on topics from film theory to horror film to women authors. She is the author of two monographs, Sounding American: Hollywood, Opera, and Jazz (2014), and Mismatched Women: The Siren’s Song Through the Machine (2014), both published by Oxford University Press, and is currently at work on her third book.
It is my pleasure to announce that this year’s recipient of the Henry J. Laughlin Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement is Dr. Jennifer Fleeger, Associate Professor of Media and Communications Studies and Coordinator of the Film Studies Program here at Ursinus. A scholar of film and sound; her work is dedicated to exploring how film and other media depict what the world sounds like. A prodigious scholar and a creative and dedicated teacher, Jennifer exemplifies how scholarship can inform teaching and engagement with students at Ursinus.
Jennifer is the author of two books published by Oxford University Press, Sounding American: Hollywood, Opera, and Jazz and Mismatched Women: The Siren’s Song through the Machine. Jennifer’s work explores the ways in which voice serves as a “guarantor of identity” and music serves as cultural marker of Americanness, moving seamlessly between discussions of Al Jolson, Disney Princesses, and Susan Boyle of Britain’s Got Talent. Jennifer’s works are marked by their mixture of rigor and accessibility; she is the rare scholar whose work is as open to readers outside the field as it is to specialists. Anyone curious about the intersections of cinema and music will enjoy and learn from her work.
Jennifer’s scholarly energies show no sign of abating. She’s currently at work on an anthology and a third book, tentatively entitled A Very, Very Nervous Person’s Guide to Media and Childhood. Jennifer also generously serves as a resource for her colleagues on topics ranging from movies about weather, Hollywood films featuring amazing costumes, and horror on screen from The Golem to the present. Trained as a classical violinist, she plays in orchestras around town and has taught during the summers at the Flapping Fiddle School. Finally, at the time of this writing, Jennifer has at least 92 videos up on Youtube, many involving stringed instruments, stuffed animals, and cats.