Alumnus Slowik ’03 Returns to Wesleyan, Joins Film Studies Faculty

Olivia DrakeNovember 8, 20164min
Michael Slowik
Michael Slowik '03
Michael Slowik ’03

As an undergraduate film studies major in the early 2000s, Michael Slowik admired how Wesleyan’s film faculty emphasized “their unabashed enthusiasm for movies,” the history of film and ways films impacted the audience. “These were things I closely connected with,” Slowik said.

Slowik, who graduated from Wesleyan in 2003 with a BA in film studies, was appointed assistant professor of film at Wesleyan this fall. His research interests include U.S. film history, film sound, film authorship and film’s relationship to music and theater.

“Nearly all of the film professors who were so influential to me are still at Wesleyan, so when I was offered a position in the department, I was happy and honored to accept it,” he said. “I feel privileged to be able to teach in our beautiful film building, and I also love the warm, almost family-like atmosphere of the department. It’s great to be back ‘home’ at Wesleyan.”

After graduating from Wesleyan, Slowik received a MA in humanities from The University of Chicago and a MA and PhD in film studies from the University of Iowa. His dissertation, After the Silents: Hollywood Film Music in the Early Sound Era, 1926-1934, was ultimately published by Columbia University Press in 2014. The book also was a top 10 finalist for the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation Moving Image Book Award.

Slowik authored papers published in New Review of Film and Television Studies, the Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Journal of Popular Film and Television, American Music, The Journal of American Culture, Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film and Music, Sound, and the Moving Image.

Slowik has delivered more than a dozen presentations on topics such as “Sound Effects and Sonic Depth in the Early Sound Western;” “Representing Pearl Harbor and September 11th in Fiction and Film;” “Before Kong: Film Music and Other Worlds in the Early 1930s;” “Sonic Sparseness in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock;” and “Losing the Human Element: The Shift from Live to Recorded Music in Hollywood’s Early Sound Era.”

Prior to his appointment at Wesleyan, Slowik taught classes at the University of Iowa, Western Kentucky University, Kutztown University and San Diego State University. During the 2016-17 academic year at Wesleyan, he is teaching courses on the history of world cinema, classic American film comedy and the Western genre of film.

“Teaching at Wesleyan has been a wonderful experience. The students are eager and thoughtful class participators, which makes my job all the more pleasurable,” Slowik said. “It’s not uncommon to bump into a student across campus and engage in an extended conversation about a recent film we watched in class. They also keep me on my toes, offering perceptive interpretations that force me to rethink films I thought I knew.”

Slowik, who is a member of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, resides in Middletown with his wife, Amy, and six-month-old daughter, Emily. When he’s not watching films, Slowik enjoys running.