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I am Assistant Professor in Film Studies at University College Dublin. Before joining UCD in 2020 I was Teaching Fellow in Film Studies at King’s College London, and I have also taught at LSE; Royal Holloway, University of London; Kingston University; Oxford Brooks University; and the University of Surrey. I specialize in American cinema, and my interests are in three primary areas: (urban) space, genre, and feminist film history.

My first book, New York City and the Hollywood Musical: Dancing in the Streets (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) examines reads the spatiality of the film musical in relationship to the history and geography of both its primary setting, New York, and the Hollywood film industry. It argues that at its peak the musical was a prime vehicle for the idealization of urban density and that the transformation that New York underwent after World War II constituted a major challenge to the genre’s representational strategies, leading to its eventual decline.

I have also published widely on gentrification and contemporary US cinema. My current research focuses on cinema, television, and real estate, particularly since 2008, exploring the ways in which real estate and its logics underpin both media industries and various forms of contemporary American film and media texts.

My work on genre includes horror and the romantic comedy as well as the musical. More recent work on the musical includes Musicals at the Margins: Genre, Boundaries Canons (Bloomsbury, 2021), co-edited with Julie Lobalzo Wright, which focuses on films and media at the margins and boundaries of the musical genre in a range of historical and global contexts and seeks to rework not only theories of the musical but also theories of genre more broadly.

My work on feminist film history and women’s film authorship includes work on Daria Nicolodi’s authorship of Suspiria, and Women and New Hollywood: Gender, Creative Labor, and 1970s American Cinema, co-edited with Aaron Hunter, which focuses on women’s creative labour in American cinema of the 1970s, recuperating the labour of women working as directors and other creative roles, but also considering how attention to that labour challenges the auteurist and masculinist understanding of that period of American cinema and reframes theories of women’s authorship. Women and New Hollywood will be published by Rutgers University Press in 2023.


PhD in Film Studies, King’s College London

MA in Film Studies, University of East Anglia

BA (Hons) Film and American Studies, University of East Anglia, including a year at Occidental College.


Research monograph

New York City and the Hollywood Musical: Dancing in the Streets (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Edited collections

Forthcoming: Women and New Hollywood: Gender, Creative Labor, and 1970s American Cinema, co-edited with Aaron Hunter (Rutgers University Press, May 2023).

Musicals at the Margins: Genre, Boundaries, Canons, co-edited with Julie Lobalzo Wright (Bloomsbury, 2021).

Peer-reviewed journal articles

“The Comedy of Redevelopment: Romantic Comedy, Real Estate, and the ‘New’ Times Square,” JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies (formerly Cinema Journal) 60, no. 2 (Winter 2021): 105-128.

  • shortlisted for the BAFTSS Award for Best Journal Article.

“A new way of living: West Side Story, street dance and the New York musical,” Screen 56, no. 4 (Winter 2015): 450-470.

“Sax and the City: New York, New York (Scorsese, 1977), Urban Decline and the Jazz Musical,” The Soundtrack 6, no.1 & 2 (March 2014): 53-66.

Chapters in edited collections

Xanadu and the Musical’s History of Failure,” in The Oxford Handbook of the Hollywood Musical, edited by Dominic Broomfield-McHugh (Oxford University Press, 2022), 459-479.

Obvious Child, Bookshops, and Postcrisis Romcom Urbanism,” in After “Happily Ever After”: Romantic Comedy in the Post-Romantic Age, edited by Maria San Filippo (Wayne State University Press, 2021), 163-178.

  • collection nominated for the BAFTSS Award for Best Edited Collection.

“E-Q-U-I-T-Y: Generic Boundaries, Gender, and Real Estate in the Magic Mike Films,” in Musicals at the Margins: Genre, Boundaries, Canons, edited by Julie Lobalzo Wright and Martha Shearer (Bloomsbury, 2021), 41-54.

“The Secret Beyond the Door: Daria Nicolodi and Suspiria’s Multiple Authorship,” in Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre, edited by Alison Peirse (Rutgers University Press, 2020), 47-59.

  • collection nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction.

  • runner-up for the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Book of the Year Award.

  • winner of the BAFTSS Award for Best Edited Collection.

  • winner of the Best Non-Fiction Award at the British Fantasy Awards.

“’British People are Awful’: Gentrification, Queerness and Race in the US-UK Romances of Looking and You’re the Worst,” in Love Across the Atlantic: US-UK Romance in Popular Culture, edited by Barbara Jane Brickman, Deborah Jermyn, and Theodore Louis Trost (Edinburgh University Press, 2020), 91-105.

“The Party’s Over: On the TownBells are Ringing, and the Problem of Adapting Postwar New York,” in The Oxford Handbook of Musical Theatre Screen Adaptations, edited by Dominic McHugh (Oxford University Press, 2019), 87-107.

“Frances Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: Gender, Crisis, and the Creative City in Frances Ha and The Giant Mechanical Man,” in The City in American Cinema: Film and Postindustrial Culture, edited by Johan Andersson and Lawrence Webb (Bloomsbury, 2019), 351-373.

Book reviews

George Rodosthenous, ed., Twenty-First Century Musicals: From Stage to Screen (Routledge, 2018), Studies in Musical Theatre 12, no. 3 (December 2018): 405-406.


Cats (Tom Hooper, 2019),” Fantasy/Animation (10 January 2020)

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” Catcher in the Reel: Media Matters in Review (2 October 2014)

Blog Posts

    Martha Shearer

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