Nora M. Alter

Nora M.
120 Annenberg Hall, 2020 N. 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122
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Nora M. Alter is former Chair of Film and Media Arts, the founding director of the Venice Study Away program. Prior to joining the Temple faculty in 2009 she was a Research Professor in the Departments of English and German and Affiliate faculty in Jewish Studies, Women and Gender Studies at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Alter received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania and is fluent in English, French and German. She has extensive experience teaching and researching abroad in Paris, Berlin and Venice. In 2005 she was awarded the DAAD Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in German and European Studies. From 2008-2010 she was elected the President of Women in German. Alter has been awarded a number of fellowships, most recently, in 2019, she was awarded The Art Writers Grant through the Warhol Foundation and the 2021 Berlin Prize at the American Academy in Berlin, in addition to year long research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Howard Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Alter’s teaching and research focus on comparative media studies. She is author of Vietnam Protest Theatre: The Television War on Stage (1996), Projecting History: Non-Fiction German Film (2002), Chris Marker (2006) and Sound Matters: Essays on the Acoustics of Modern German Culture (2004). She has published over sixty essays on a broad range of topics including Film and Media Studies, Cultural and Visual Studies, Performance Studies, and Contemporary Art. Alter has written on artists including John Akomfrah, Daniel Buren, Maria Eichhorn, Stan Douglas, Dan Eisenberg, Renée Green, Hans Haacke, Mathias Poledna, Martha Rosler and others. She currently serves on the advisory board of the Slought Foundation. Alter's most recent publications include Essays on the Essay Film,  Columbia University Press,  2017 and The Essay Film After Fact and Fiction,  Columbia University Press, 2018. She is currently completing a monograph on Harun Farocki. 

Essays on the Essay Film
Nora Alter Book Cover


  • “Composing in Fragments: Music in the Essay Films of Resnais and Godard,”  in SubStance, eds. David F. Bell, Paul Harris, Éric Méchoulan,(Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin System, 2012), 24-39. (.pdf)
  • Sound Scores: Musical Armature in Displaced Person,” in Postwar: The Films of Daniel Eisenberg, ed. Jeffrey Skoller (London: Black Dog Press, 2010) 48-65. (.pdf)
  • “Acoustic Shapings: Sound, Film and Sculpture,” Kunstlicht #33 “Music Issue,” 2012, 30-38. (.pdf)
  • “Translating the Essay into Film and Installation,” Journal of Visual Culture, 6:1 (April 2007) 45-58. (.pdf)
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