Media and Communication Studies

  • Eric Dienstfrey

Eric Dienstfrey

Eric Dienstfrey researches the history of film, music, and sound media, specifically how new technology can both disrupt and reinforce an industry’s economic and aesthetic practices. His publications have appeared in JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Film History, Music and the Moving Image, and the anthology Voicing the Cinema. His 2016 article “The Myth of the Speakers” won the 2017 Katherine Singer Kovács Award from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies.

Before joining the faculty at Ursinus, Eric taught at Catholic University, University of Arizona, University of Texas at Austin, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently writing a book for University of California Press, titled Making Stereo Fit, about the history of surround sound as a storytelling tool.


Media and Communication Studies


B.A., Washington University in Saint Louis
• M.A. & Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison


Public Speaking
Media Technology
Media and Emotions
Media Franchising
Media Aesthetics
Global Art Cinema
Sound Design
Common Intellectual Experience

Research Interests

Media Archaeology
Surveillance Media
Sound Studies
Aesthetic Theory
Narrative Theory
Production Cultures
East Asian Cinema
Middle Eastern Cinema
African Media

Recent Work

“A New Medium for Studios: The Transition to Magnetic Tape, 1946 to 1952.” Music, Sound, and the Moving Image 16, no. 2 (2022): forthcoming.

“Under the Standard: MGM, AT&T, and the Academy’s Regulation of Power.” JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 59, no. 3 (2020): 23–45. (Project Muse)

“Monocentrism, or Soundtracks in Space: Rediscovering Forbidden Planet’s Multi-Speaker Release.” In Voicing the Cinema: Film Music and the Integrated Soundtrack, edited by James Buhler and Hannah Lewis, 229–44. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2020. (Project Muse, JSTOR)

“The Myth of the Speakers: A Critical Reexamination of Dolby History.” Film History 28, no. 1 (2016): 167–193. (Project Muse, JSTOR)