Megan Minarich



Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
M.A., Vanderbilt University
M.A., Stanford University
B.A., University of Illinois at Chicago

311 Humanities


Dr. Megan Minarich is Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in English. She earned her doctorate from Vanderbilt University, where her research centered on American modernist literature, visual culture, and early through classical Hollywood cinema. Her research and teaching interests also include American literature 1865-present, film and media studies, film censorship, women’s and gender studies, women's reproductive rights, science and film/literature, medical humanities, aesthetics of labor/industry and (cultural) production, infrastructuralism, narrative theory, and the Frankfurt School.

Dr. Minarich specializes in women’s and gender studies and American film history and censorship. She is currently working on her manuscript, “Hollywood’s Reproduction Code: Regulating Contraception and Abortion in American Cinema, 1915-1968," wherein she examines the visual and verbal rhetorics of choice with regard to filmic representations of contraception, abortion, and female reproductive agency. Her project draws upon films such as Where Are My Children? (1916), Christopher Strong (1933), Gambling With Souls (1936), Leave Her to Heaven (1945), and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963), which she considers alongside censorship practices and the Production Code, reproductive rights history, legal and eugenics discourses, and narrative concerns. She argues that over time, film’s progressive treatment of reproductive agency sharply declines, and any vestiges of objectively, scientifically didactic aims or goals disappear. However, as a result of this marked increase in moralizing and conservatism, later contraception and abortion films actually have the effect of further advocating the importance of reproductive choice. This trend demonstrates an increasing disconnect between pro-choice popular morality and anti-choice prescribed morality.

 At TSU, Dr. Minarich is actively involved in the TSU Film Club and its screening series, and she is working to create more opportunities for students to study and connect with film and film scholarship.


“‘What are they going to do to me?’: Surgical Spectacle and Reproductive Agency in     

Tomorrow’s Children (1934) and Men in White (1934).” Panelist. Western Michigan University Medical Humanities Conference. Kalamazoo, MI. September 2016.

“‘Can’t you see that I’m well and strong?’: Denying Female Health Knowledge in Crane Wilbur’s Tomorrow’s Children (1934).” Panel Organizer, Chair, and Panelist. Society    for Cinema and Media Studies. March-April 2016.

“On-Screen Narrative Activism?: The Early Birth Control Movement and Cinema’s Transitional Era.” Modernist Studies Association. Seminar Participant. Boston. November 2015.

“Christopher Nolan’s Memento: An Examination of Narrative Structure.” Invited Talk. Warren Film Series. Vanderbilt University. March 2015.

 “Where Are My Children? and Obvious Child: Cinematic Abortion, 100 Years Apart.” Invited Guest Lecture. WGS 150W: Sex and Gender in Everyday Life, taught by Dr. Donika      Ross. Vanderbilt University. October 23, 2014. 

“Contraceptive Education: Morals, Science, and Eugenics in Lois Weber’s Where Are My Children?” Invited Guest Lecture. WGS 272: Feminism and Film, taught by Prof. Kelly      Oliver. Vanderbilt University. October 9, 2013.

“Sex Ed and Exploitation: Narrating Abortion in Jack Townley’s Guilty Parents (1934).”  Panelist. Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Chicago. March 2013.

 “A Eugenic Education: The Contraception and Abortion Film in the 1910s.” Dissertation Talk.  Vanderbilt University. March 2012.

“Ghost Children: The Ethics of Eugenic Abortion in Where Are My Children? and The Black Stork/Are You Fit to Marry?” Panel Organizer, Chair, and Panelist. Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Boston. March 2012.

“Abortion Spectacle in John M. Stahl’s Leave Her to Heaven.” Panelist. Women’s and Gender History Symposium: Indecency. University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. March 2012.

“The Aesthetics of Work and Industrial Tourism Along Chicago’s South Shore Line.” Panel Organizer and Panelist. American Studies Association. San Antonio. November 2010.

 “Industrial Tourism in Interwar Chicagoland.” Seminar Participant. Modernist Studies Association. Montréal. November 2009.

“‘DEATH TO THE MACHINE--!!’: Industrial Spectacle and Narrative Destruction in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.” Panelist. Captive Senses and Aesthetic Habits. University of Chicago. October 2009.

“The Industrial Getaway?: The Aesthetics of Industry in South Shore Line Travel Posters, 1925-1929.” Panelist. Navigating the Body: Mapping, Spaces, and Embodiment. University of Virginia. March 2009.

“Aesthetics and Modern Subjectivity in the Workshop of America.” Seminar Participant. Modernist Studies Association. Nashville. November 2008.

“‘That’s not how it happened’: Memory Eugenics and the Narrative in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend.” Workshop Participant and Presenter.  Re-Configurations of American Studies. Dartmouth College. June 2008.


Film and Popular Culture Committee


ENGL 1010: Composition 1 (focus on media and the public/private divide)
ENGL 1020: Composition 2 (focus on biological, technological, and cultural reproduction)
ENGL 2022: Poetry and Drama (focus on 20th-century women authors)
ENGL 4010: Special Topics: Reproductive Choice in American Film