Maggie Hennefeld is McKnight Presidential Fellow and Associate 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). She is currently writing a book about the history of women who allegedly died from laughing too hard, considered alongside theories of female hysteria and historiographies of early cinema. In addition to her academic writing, she is a cultural critic and international curator of silent cinema.

Educational Background & Specialties
Open Close

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