Like a careful gardener, Miriam Hansen planted and interwove traditions of Frankfurt critical theory, modern film history, and her own critical passions and curiosity. She is an important transatlantic bridge for the traditions of enlightenment and film art. She was not only a theoretical mind, but someone who also exerted a strong, practical influence on filmmaking. Because of her, the Minutenfilm saw a rebirth, as well as film projected onto multiple screens, the Max Ophuls renaissance, and much more. We auteurs listened to her. She wasas she sat in her Chicago office and worked, occasionally glancing over the lakeour prophet.
Alexander Kluge, Berlin Journal
Cinema and Experience is a doubly poignant book: simultaneously a soulful investigation into the complex fate of experience in a mass-mediated modernity and the posthumous publication of the culminating masterwork of one the master scholars of cinema studies. Rich and probing insights resonate from every page of this wonderful volume.
Dana Polan, author of Scenes of Instruction: The Beginnings of the U.S. Study of Film
Miriam Hansen s brilliant analysis of the cinematic experience combines a democratic respect for mass culture with the highest standards of scholarly excellence. Mickey Mouse, slapstick comedy, the photographic image and filmed reality become her keys to deciphering the philosophical differences between Adorno and Benjamin, and the philosophical significance of Kracauer s journalistic eye. The presentnew media, social networking, drone warfareis never out of her sight. For the beginning student and the advanced scholar in multiple disciplines, Hansen s writing is a gift, and a roadmap to every relevant scholarly debate. This is an indispensable book by an irreplaceable author. We shall miss her.
Susan Buck-Morss, author of The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project
Miriam Hansen s study is the first comprehensive reconstruction of the complex theoretical frames in which Adorno, Benjamin, and Kracauer set their philosophical thoughts on film and cinema. Hansen s profound knowledge of the complete works of these influential thinkers allows her to relate questions of film and cinema aesthetics to the core thoughts of the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School in manifold and sometimes surprisingly new ways. This study will establish a new look at the Frankfurt School as well as on film theory in general.
Gertrud Koch, author of Siegfried Kracauer: An Introduction
In her posthumous book, Miriam Hansen offers novel readings, both subtle and robust, of Kracauer, Benjamin, and Adorno s reflections on cinema as experience, weaving often disconnected threads into a tapestry of common concepts and concerns that highlights closeness and distance between these writers in unexpected ways. What emerges is yet another Frankfurt School: Critical Theory as media aesthetics and theory of experience.
The triangulation of Adorno and Benjamin with Kracauer permits her to think beyond the annoyingly persistent accounts pitting the Eurocentric mandarin against the progressive film and media theorist. The inspirational role of Kracauer for Benjamin is finally acknowledged and Kracauer is freed from the misunderstanding of his work on photography and film as a naive realism. And who but Miriam Hansen would have been able to link Benjamin s notion of auraexplicated in a much broadened discursive and political contextto Adorno s aesthetic of natural beauty? Thinking with Adorno beyond Adorno in modernist aesthetics, with Benjamin beyond Benjamin in media theory, with Kracauer beyond Kracauer on mass culture, she keeps the legacy of Critical Theory alive for an analysis of human experience and cultural practice in our age of digital media.
Andreas Huyssen, Columbia University