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Eric Ames

Professor and Department Chair
Eric Ames

Contact Information

(206) 543-7542
Box: 354338
B537 PDL
Office Hours: 
By appointment


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2000

I am generally interested in historical and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of modern culture. Within this framework I also have a number of more specific interests, including visual culture, the various technologies and institutions that produce it, and the historical experiences associated with them. I have published on several forms of nineteenth-century display culture, including zoological gardens, ethnographic exhibitions, and Wild West shows in Germany. I have also published on the interrelationship of science, technology, and popular culture in specific situations: the vital importance of the phonograph and the archive to the formation of ethnomusicology, and the cinema’s function as an instrument of cultural power in the writings of Hugo Münsterberg. I am co-editor of Germany’s Colonial Pasts (Nebraska, 2005) and author of Carl Hagenbeck’s Empire of Entertainments (Washington, 2009) and of Ferocious Reality: Documentary according to Werner Herzog (Minnesota, 2012). My edited collection, Werner Herzog: Interviews (Mississippi, 2014), is now available in paperback. Most recently, I published a little book on Aguirre, the Wrath of God in the BFI Film Classics series.

Currently, I am working with my colleagues to develop a new graduate degree program in Cinema and Media Studies. In Autumn 2019, I will teach a new version of CMS 271: Great Directors, focusing on the films of Werner Herzog. And in Spring 2020, I will lead the Senior Capstone course, CMS 480, exploring the intersection of documentary and avant-garde cinemas.


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