Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Dr. Ramona Curry

Associate Professor of English, Media and Cinema Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, and Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies

User Photo

Contact Information

Download CV

Office Hours

  • on leave from the University of Illinois in Fall 2015


Ph.D. Northwestern University, M.A. University of Tuebingen, Germany, B.A. University of Chicago

Teaching Interests

American and international cinema history and historiography; writing about film; issues of gender, race/ethnicity and social class in media and popular culture; trans-national media flows; cross-cultural media adaptations; genre theory.


SPRING 2016: Engl/MACS/CWL 502: Historiography of Cinema Engl 396 (Honors Seminar): Theories of Popular Culture.

Research Interests

Ramona Curry teaches histories, theories, and strategies for writing about cinema and other forms of popular media and culture. As a Fulbright faculty award recipient in 2004, Prof. Curry taught in the Dept. of Cinema Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University and will spend Spring 2015 as the "Fulbright Distinguished Chair of American Studies" at Uppsala University in Sweden. Prof. Curry's research focuses on the sociocultural impact of media institutions, including film stars and cinema distribution and exhibition historically. She is author to date of a book on the shifting cultural functions of Mae West's image over eight decades and of numerous essays that have appeared in anthologies and journals in the US, Europe, and Asia. Prof. Curry has written extensively about German cinema and also about films made in Hong Kong. Her most recent publications draw heavily on census and genealogical records, shipping manifests, and other newly digitized government and newspaper archives, to reveal fresh facets of early trans-Pacific film distribution and reception. Prof. Curry is currently completing a monograph entitled "Trading in Cultural Spaces: How Chinese Film Came to America," which takes an urban cultural geographic and historiographic approach to rewriting American cinema history “from the margins.” The archive-research-intensive project has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2008, 2011) and the University of Illinois Mid-Career Faculty Release Time Award (2014).

Selected Publications


Book Contributions

Journal Articles

  • "Benjamin Brodsky (1877-1960): The Transpacific American Film Entrepreneur -- Part One, Making A TRIP THRU CHINA ." Journal of American-East Asian Relations 18.1 (2011): 58-94.
  • "Benjamin Brodsky (1877-1960): The Trans-Pacific American Film Entrepreneur – Part Two, Taking A TRIP THRU CHINA to America." Journal of American - East Asian Relations 18.2 (2011): 142-180.

Encyclopedia Entries


  • Curry, Ramona. "Reviving the History, Revising the Historiography of Female Media Pioneers." Rev. of Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood; The Girl from God’s Country; Nell Shipman and the Silent Cinema; It’s One O’Clock and Here Is Mary Margaret McBride; The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons. Journal of Women’s History 21.3 (2009): 188-203.

Works in Progress

  • Monograph: "Trading in Cultural Spaces: How Chinese FIlm Came to America"
  • Essay on the "first Chinese movie star" in the U.S., "Lady Tsen Mei," and on the early Chinese American vaudevillians Edgar Donsang and his sister Dong Fong Gue (Minnie Donsang)