Joshua Yumibe

C639 Wells Hall
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

FacultyEnglishFilm Studies

Film and Media Studies

ORCID: 0000-0003-1455-877X


Joshua Yumibe’s research focuses on the aesthetic and technological history of cinema, specifically related to color. He also has expertise in avant-garde and experimental cinemas, nineteenth and early twentieth century visual culture, Frankfurt school theory, and archival theories and practices. He is an editor of Screen and of the Contemporary Film Directors Series at the University of Illinois Press.

Yumibe is the author of Moving Color: Early Film, Mass Culture, Modernism (Rutgers University Press, 2012), which received honorable mention for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies first book award. He is co-author of Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema (Amsterdam University Press, 2015), with Giovanna Fossati, Tom Gunning, and Jonathon Rosen, and foreword  by Martin Scorsese. The book was shortlisted for the Kraszna-Krausz Moving Image Book Award. With  Sarah Street (University of Bristol), Yumibe is also co-author of Chromatic Modernity: Color, Cinema, and Media of the 1920s (Columbia University Press, 2019), which was supported by the Leverhulme Trust and won both the Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award (2020) and the IAMHIST-Michael Nelson Prize, International Association for Media and History (2021). He also co-edited five books, including most recently Global Film Color: The Monopack Revolution at Midcentury (2024) with Sarah Street.

Yumibe is currently working on a book, provisionally titled Chromatic Blackness: Color, Race, and the Moving Image. It examines the relation of color as a material and technical hue with the use of color for delineating race, as in people of color. The core of the research focuses on color in the moving image within African and African diasporic cinemas, from the late 1960s through contemporary media while also framing this material comparatively in relation to broader currents in film and cultural history

Since 2003, Yumibe has  been collaborating with Paolo Cherchi Usai on the archival collection, Davide Turconi Project. In 2011, they launched the project online to provide access to the collection as part of the 30th anniversary of the Giornate del Cinema. In 2018, Yumibe curated the related exhibit “Dreaming in Color: The Davide Turconi Collection of Early Cinema” at the George Eastman Museum.

In 2016, he was a recipient of the Michigan State University Teacher-Scholar Award, which is granted to faculty who early in their careers have earned the respect of students and colleagues for their devotion to and skill in teaching, and whose instruction is linked to and informed by their research and creative activities.

From 2013 to 2021, he served as the Director of the Film Studies Program at Michigan State University. He has also served on the executive committee of Domitor, the International Society of the Study of Early Cinema (2011–2018) and was the vice-president of the organization from 2016–2018. Receiving his PhD in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago  in 2007, he was previously an assistant professor at Oakland University and a lecturer at the University of St Andrews. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Turin, Department of Humanities, CAM: Cinema, Arti della scena, Musica e Media (2023).

Yumibe is Japanese American; his late grandparents met and were married at the Tule Lake internment camp during World War II.

Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2007.

Awards and Honors


Cinema and the Archive

Classical Film and Media Theory

Color Cinema

History of Film to Midcentury

Interwar Modernism in Film and Media

Modernism and Modernity in Film

Wong Kar-wai and Global Art Cinemas


Global Film Color: The Monopack Revolution at Midcentury. Co-editor with Sarah Street. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2024.

Provenance and Early Cinema, co-edited with Joanne Bernardi, Paolo Cherchi Usai, Tami Williams and Joshua Yumibe (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2021).

Chromatic Modernity: Color, Cinema, and Media of the 1920sco-authored with Sarah Street(Columbia University Press, 2019). Winner of the IAMHIST-Michael Nelson Prize, International Association for Media and History, 2021. Winner of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award 2020. Runner-up for the Best Monograph Award 2020, British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies. Shortlisted for the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize, 2020.

Guest editor with Elena Gipponi, Cinéma&Cie19, no. 32, Special Issue: Cinema and Mid-Century Colour Culture (2019).

The Colour Fantastic: Chromatic Worlds of Silent Cinema, co-edited Giovanna Fossati, Vicky Jackson, Bregt Lameris, Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi,  Sarah Street, and Joshua Yumibe (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018).

The Image in Early Cinema: Form and Material, co-edited Scott Curtis, Philippe Gauthier, Tom Gunning, and Joshua Yumibe (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018).

Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema, co-authored with Tom Gunning, Giovanna Fossati, Jonathon Rosen, and Joshua Yumibe; foreword by Martin Scorsese (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2015). Shortlisted for the Kraszna-Krausz Moving Image Book Award, 2016.

Guest editor, The Moving Image 15, no. 1, Special Issue: Restoring Color (2015).

Performing New Media: 1890–1915, co-edited Kaveh Askari, Scott Curtis, Frank Gray, Louis Pelletier,  Tami Williams, Joshua Yumibe (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014).

Moving Color: Early Film, Mass Culture, Modernism (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2012). Honorable Mention for the SCMS First Book Award, 2013.

Chariots of Fire Re-run: Locating Film’s Cultural Capital in a Post-Industrial Age,” co-authored with Tom Rice, British Journal of Cinema and Television 12.3 (2015): 321–341.

From Nitrate to Digital Archive: The Davide Turconi Project,” co-authored with Alicia Fletcher, The Moving Image 13.1 (April 2013): 1–32.

Visual Diplomacy: Projections of Power from the Field in Ethiopia,” Early Popular Visual Culture 9.4 (November 2011): 309-323. Shortlisted for the British Association of Film, Television, and Screen Studies’ Best Article in a Refereed Journal Award, 2011–2012.


University News

Several College of Arts & Letters Projects Supported by HARP Grants
Published December 13, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
A collage of photos of various different people in front of a collection of backgrounds.
Twelve College of Arts & Letters faculty members currently are working on projects supported by 2023 Humanities and Arts Research Program (HARP) Grants. The projects range from mixed media…Read now »
Department of English Faculty Recognized with Several Awards and Professional Recognitions
Published January 9, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
The Department of English at Michigan State University is home to a myriad of talented faculty members actively engaged in research and creative activity with several of these scholars and artists…Read now »
Laurence Allen Tate Film Writing Awards Announced
Published May 4, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
MSU’s Film Studies program announced the 2021 winners of the Laurence Allen Tate Film Writing Awards. Mary Telly, junior Film Studies major with minors in Fiction Filmmaking and Graphic Design, took…Read now »
English Professor Receives Prestigious Book Award
Published January 21, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
clock tower surrounded by green pine trees that are covered in white snow with a blue sky
Associate Professor Joshua Yumibe is the recipient of the 2019-2020 Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award for his most recent book, Chromatic Modernity: Color, Cinema, and Media of the 1920s,…Read now »
100-Year Anniversary of Bauhaus Celebrated at MSU
Published October 22, 2019 in College of Arts & Letters
two men sitting on the ground who are holding giant white plastic wrap and strings
The College of Arts & Letters and Residential College in the Arts and Humanities came together last week to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the founding of Bauhaus, a famous art school…Read now »
Professor Oversees Massive Digitization Project of Rare Film Collection
Published June 13, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
a man with dark hair in a tan blazer with a blue shirt
Once threatened by chemical decay and decomposition, an important and rare film collection from the early years of cinema is now available to the public online thanks to a massive preservation and…Read now »