Maggie Hennefeld is Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is the author of the award-winning book, "Specters of Slapstick and Silent Film Comediennes" (Columbia UP, 2018), a curator of the 4-disc DVD/Blu-ray collection "Cinema's First Nasty Women" (Kino Lorber, 2022), an editor of the journal "Cultural Critique," and co-editor of two volumes, "Unwatchable" (Rutgers UP, 2019) and "Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence" (Duke UP, 2020). Her new book, "Death by Laughter: Female Hysteria and Early Cinema" (Columbia UP, 2024) reveals the untold history of women who allegedly died from laughing too hard. 

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • Ph.D. : Modern Culture and Media, Brown University, 2014
  • B.A. : Cinema Studies, Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, University of Pennsylvania, 2006


  • film and media studies
  • comedy, humor, laughter
  • silent cinema (especially early cinema)
  • film theory and film history
  • archival film curating
  • feminism, affect theory, gender politics
  • speculative approaches to critical thought
  • media historiography and its relation to social justice