Profile picture of Michael Aronson

Michael Aronson

Associate Professor
Cinema Studies Program
Phone: 541-346-3927
Office: 101 PLC
Research Interests: Early and transitional cinema (particularly the 1910s), exhibition and moviegoing culture, and lots of digital stuff


I am a film historian with a background in filmmaking, specifically in the camera department on TV commercials and music videos (back when you were more likely to find them on MTV than YouTube). I'm a historian because I like old stuff, and digging around both online and in archives, to find out things about the past. Most of my research focuses on the intersection of what academics call "Industry Studies" and "Exhibition Studies," which is just a fancy way of saying that I am interested in the people that made or showed films and the various types of communities that ended up watching them.  You can see this most clearly in the online platform the Oregon Theater Project, a collaborative site for original research related to the history of Oregon movie theaters and moviegoing around our state and over time.  The majority of the histories are produced by undergraduate students in CINE 335, a course I teach with Librarian Elizabeth Peterson.



BA, Film Studies, Penn State University, 1990
MA/PhD, Cultural and Critical Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 2002


My research interests include early and transitional cinema (particularly the 1910s), exhibition and moviegoing culture, and lots of digital stuff. My first book, Nickelodeon City (2008), explores movie culture in Pittsburgh during the silent era. I am currently working on two books focusing on the history and practice of cinematography.


John Hamrick’s Blue Mouse Cinemas: Independent Exhibition and Influence in the Studio Era
University of Exeter Press, 2024

"Planned, Plotted, Played and Pictured: Ed's Coed, and the Heights of Amateur College Filmmaking" Coauthor, Elizabeth Peterson, MLS. Film History, 31, No. 2, Summer 2019, Bloomington: University of Indiana Press.

“Completing The Transmedia Trinity: A History of The Telenews Theater Corporation,” in Rediscovering US Newsfilm: Cinema, Television and the Archive, Mark Cooper, Sara Beth Levy and Mark Williams, eds. Routledge Press, 2018.

“No Birds, No Bees, No Moralizing: Lester Beck, Psychologist Filmmaker” Coauthor, Elizabeth Peterson, MLS. The Moving Image 14, No. 1, 2014 Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

"Teaching Film and the Internet" in Teaching Film, Lucy FIscher and Patrice Petro, editors. Modern Language Association, 2012

"Nickelodeon City:  Pittsburgh at the Movies," 1905-1929, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008


CINE 265:  "History of Motion Pictures, Part I"
CINE 335:  "Exhibition & Audiences"
CINE 399:  "Hollywood Studio System: Warner Bros"
CINE 410:  "Slapstick Comedy"
CINE 410:  "Cinematography, Theory & Practice"
ODUB 388:  "Contemporary Irish Cinema"