Dr Sam Summers


NameDr Sam Summers
Job titleLecturer in Animation Contextual Studies
Research institute
Primary appointmentSchool of Film
Email addressS.Summers@mdx.ac.uk
ORCIDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-0724-7298
Contact categoryResearcher

Biography

Biography

Sam Summers is an animation theorist and historian, who joined Middlesex in 2023 as a Lecturer in Animation History & Theory and joint-programme leader for BA Animation.

He completed his PhD in 2018 at University of Sunderland, with his thesis 'Intertextuality And The Break From Realism in DreamWorks Animation'. He has since taught on animation and film studies programmes at Sunderland, Newcastle, Liverpool Hope and University of the Arts London.

Sam's research interests lie in the intersections between animation and other pop cultural forms, and as such his research has focussed on themes of intertextuality, adaptation, remix cultures and animation aesthetics. Although well-versed in a broad range of animation traditions, genres and forms from around the world, his research looks primarily at the history of Hollywood animation, with outputs focusing on studios like Disney, DreamWorks, Pixar, Warner Bros and Hanna-Barbera.

He is active in the communication of animation studies to mainstream audiences, appearing in publications like Variety, Vulture, Vice, Empire and The Independent, and on BBC and CBC radio. He has organised and spoken at numerous public-facing events, most notably as part of BFI's Disney retrospective, and co-hosts the popular animation history podcast Disniversity.

He is the convenor of the Animation Special Interest Group for the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies, in which capacity he has organised and facilitated funding for a wide array of animation-centric research events.

Teaching

Sam is currently joint-programme leader for BA Animation, primarily teaching on modules dealing with the history and theory of animation. His classes aim to equip students with the contextual knowledge and intellectual approaches necessary to become informed, creative and critical practitioners of animation

He also advises students on their practical animation projects, with a focus on developing their writing and storytelling skills as well as their cultural literacy

He also contributes classes on animation history and theory to BA 3D For Games and Film

Education and qualifications

Grants

Prizes and Awards

External activities

Research outputs

Prince with a thousand faces: shifting art-styles and the depiction of violence in Watership Down

Summers, S. 2023. Prince with a thousand faces: shifting art-styles and the depiction of violence in Watership Down. in: Lester, C. (ed.) Watership Down: Perspectives On and Beyond Animated Violence New York, NY Bloomsbury. pp. 176-190

Fun for all the family: adapting the Fast & Furious as animated children's television

Summers, S. 2023. Fun for all the family: adapting the Fast & Furious as animated children's television. in: Gulam, J., Elliott, F. and Feinstein, S. (ed.) Full-Throttle Franchise: The Culture, Business and Politics of Fast & Furious New York, NY Bloomsbury. pp. 213-232

Intertextuality and “adult” humour in children’s film

Summers, S. 2022. Intertextuality and “adult” humour in children’s film. in: Brown, N. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Children's Film Oxford University Press (OUP). pp. 124-144

Book Review: David McGowan, Animated Personalities: Cartoon Characters and Stardom in American Theatrical Shorts (University of Texas Press, 2019)

Summers, S. 2021. Book Review: David McGowan, Animated Personalities: Cartoon Characters and Stardom in American Theatrical Shorts (University of Texas Press, 2019). Open Screens. 4 (1), p. 13. https://doi.org/10.16995/os.65

A real American hero: the superhero-fication of Disney’s Hercules

Summers, S. 2020. A real American hero: the superhero-fication of Disney’s Hercules. in: Blanshard, A. and Stafford, E. (ed.) The Modern Hercules: Images of the Hero from the Nineteenth to the Early Twenty-First Century Brill. pp. 488–505

DreamWorks Animation: intertextuality and aesthetics in Shrek and beyond

Summers, S. 2020. DreamWorks Animation: intertextuality and aesthetics in Shrek and beyond. Cham Palgrave Macmillan.

Adapting a retro comic aesthetic with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Summers, S. 2019. Adapting a retro comic aesthetic with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Adaptation. 12 (2), pp. 190-194. https://doi.org/10.1093/adaptation/apz014

High fantasy meets low culture in How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

Summers, S. 2018. High fantasy meets low culture in How To Train Your Dragon (2010). in: Holliday, C. and Sergeant, A. (ed.) Fantasy/Animation: Connections Between Media, Mediums and Genres New York, NY Taylor & Francis (Routledge). pp. 227-242

From shelf to screen: toys as a site of intertextuality

Summers, S. 2018. From shelf to screen: toys as a site of intertextuality. in: Smith, S., Brown, N. and Summers, S. (ed.) Toy Story: How Pixar Reinvented the Animated Feature New York, NY Bloomsbury. pp. 127-140

Introduction

Brown, N., Smith, S. and Summers, S. 2018. Introduction. in: Smith, S., Brown, N. and Summers, S. (ed.) Toy Story: How Pixar Reinvented the Animated Feature New York, NY Bloomsbury. pp. 1-6

Toy Story: how Pixar reinvented the animated feature

Smith, S., Brown, N. and Summers, S. (ed.) 2018. Toy Story: how Pixar reinvented the animated feature. New York, NY Bloomsbury.

La alternativa de Bugs Bunny. Matador y Estrella en "Bully for Bugs" (Chuck Jones,1953)

Smith, S. and Summers, S. 2017. La alternativa de Bugs Bunny. Matador y Estrella en "Bully for Bugs" (Chuck Jones,1953). Revista de Estudios Taurinos. 41, pp. 251-278.
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