Susan Kerns - Columbia College Chicago

Susan Kerns

Associate Provost for Faculty Research and Development
Associate Professor


Dr. Susan Santha Kerns is an Associate Professor of Cinema and Television Arts, where she teaches courses in cinema studies, producing, and distribution at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She is also an intimacy coordinator, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Chicago Feminist Film Festival, and a Content Acquisitions specialist with Questar Entertainment.She edited ReFocus: The Films of Susan Seidelman (2023), the first scholarly volume devoted to the groundbreaking filmmaker. The volume includes a chapter by Kerns on Smithereens and an extensive interview she completed with Seidelman. 

She is currently producing the 16mm horror feature Communicable, a feminist true crime documentary called Uncoiled, and the VR experience Scapegoat. Formerly, she produced the documentary Manlife, wrote the screenplay for Little Red, and produced or directed numerous short films. Dr. Kerns has spoken about film festivals and distribution on panels at SXSW, Art House Convergence, University Film and Video Association, and the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies. She also has published about film festivals in Journal of Film and Video, The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Feminism, and Cuaderno.

Her scholarship on conjoined twins and disability in popular culture includes a chapter on the Lon Chaney film The Penalty in the collection Phantom Limbs, Prosthetic Relations, and the Semiotics of “Loss." Her writing on conjoined twin representation can be found in Comunicazioni Sociali, Nip/Tuck: Television that Gets Under Your Skin, and an article about Dame Darcy's Meat Cake for the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. She also loves Tank Girl so published a chapter about the Tank Girl comics in The Routledge Companion to Gender and Sexuality in Comic Book Studies.

She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Instructional Areas

Cinema Studies, Producing, Directing, Screenwriting

Creative Practice and Research Interests

Film Distribution, Film Festivals, Feminist Film History, Intimacy Coordination, Horror Films, Sideshows and Conjoined Twins


B.J., Journalism University of Texas Austin 1998
M.A., English (film and media studies) University of Northern Iowa 2002
Ph.D., English (film and media studies) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2013