Dr. Meredith C. Ward is a historian of film and media, and a specialist in the joint areas of media historiography, media archaeology, and sound studies.
Her first book, Static in the System: Noise and the Soundscape of American Cinema Culture, was published by the University of California Press and was a finalist for the Marshall McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book in the Field of Media Ecology. Her second and third books, Echoes and Cries: The Aural Culture of America Under COVID-19 (a work of aural history on the COVID-19 pandemic in America) and Sound Convergence: Listening to Twenty-First Century Media (a media archaeological work on the use of 21st century sound technologies), are currently in progress.
She received her Ph.D from the Screen Cultures Program at Northwestern University in 2015. Her dissertation, Chatter, Reverberation, and the Static in the System: Noise in American Cinema Culture won the 2016 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Dissertation Award for the best dissertation submitted to the international organization for film and media scholars.
Dr. Ward's research interests include cultural history as it relates to film, sound theory, analysis, and aural culture, media archaeology, media ecology, and the history of film reception. She has presented at conferences in the United States and Europe, and was a guest speaker at the Chicago Film Seminar. Her work has been included in multiple annual meetings of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, and the annual Screen conference in Glasgow.
Her work has been published in the journals Music, Sound, and the Moving Image; Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film; and Sound Effects, as well as anthologies the Oxford Handbook for Cinematic Listening and Media, Popular Culture, and the American Century.
She is affiliated faculty for the Johns Hopkins Center for Advanced Media Studies: the JHU division that awards media certificates to humanities Ph.D. students who do extensive research in film and media.
Dr. Ward teaches on film theory, cultural theory, and the "moving image" as it is broadly defined. This includes cinema, television, social media, internet and popular culture. She also teaches sound studies courses for the undergraduates and graduate populations.
With her colleague Matthew Porterfield, she teaches a theory and practice filmmaking course. Her courses include Introduction to Cinema I and II; Theorizing Popular Culture, an upper-level seminar on the interactions between cultural theory and popular culture; Love and Film, a course on the "philosophy of love" as it applies to film as an art form; a Film Theory course based on the notion of passionate engagement with cinema's basic questions; a course on the history and practice of cinephilia; 21st Century Television Auteurs; Introduction to Writing for Television; and "Mediated Listening" and "Deep Listening," courses on sound and media for undergraduates and graduates, respectively.
She was the longtime faculty advisor to the Johns Hopkins Film Society, and advised on their annual Johns Hopkins Film Festival. She is the founder/designer of Studio North, JHU's own student-run film production company that funds prestigious student projects, and she continues to supervise this group in its operations and serve as a guiding force within it. She is the founding Creative Director of the television Writers Room at Johns Hopkins. She founded the Johns Hopkins Film Festival for High School Students in 2017 and served as its first Administrative Director. She co-founded the Saul Zaentz High School Film Festival in 2019 and serves as one of its two co-directors. She originated the Johns Hopkins Visiting Artist Series in film and media, and served as its first director.
She has served as an advisor to Woodrow Wilson fellows, PURA grant recipients, Arts Innovation Grant recipients, Women and Gender Studies grant recipients, and students writing senior humanities theses and completing other capstone projects.
She was a finalist for the 2012 and 2013 Excellence in Teaching Awards, and the 2016 Undergraduate Advising Award. She won this award in 2020. She was also a second-round finalist for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Innovative Pedagogy Award in 2020. She is currently a Johns Hopkins-sponsored participant in the Op-Ed Project.