Media and Communication Studies

  • Eric Dienstfrey

Eric Dienstfrey

Eric Dienstfrey researches the history of the film and sound media industries, specifically how new technology can both disrupt and reinforce an industry’s stylistic practices. His work has appeared in JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Film History, Music and the Moving Image, and the anthology Voicing the Cinema. His 2016 article “The Myth of the Speakers” won the 2017 Katherine Singer Kovács Award from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies.

Before joining the faculty at Ursinus, Eric taught at Catholic University, University of Arizona, University of Texas at Austin, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently writing a book for University of California Press, titled Making Stereo Fit, about the history of surround sound in movie theaters.


Media and Communication Studies


• B.A., Washington University in Saint Louis
• M.A. & Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison


Public Speaking
Introduction to Film
Media Production
American Cinema
Global Art Cinema
Music Technology
Sound Design
Film and Emotions
History of Blockbusters
Common Intellectual Experience

Research Interests

Film Aesthetics
Sound Studies
Media Archaeology
Narrative Theory
Puzzle Films
Production Cultures
East Asian Cinema
Middle Eastern Cinema

Recent Work

“A New Medium for Studios: The Transition to Magnetic Tape, 1946 to 1952.” Music, Sound, and the Moving Image 16, no. 2 (2022): forthcoming.

“Under the Standard: MGM, AT&T, and the Academy’s Regulation of Power.” JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 59, no. 3 (2020): 23–45. (Project Muse)

“Monocentrism, or Soundtracks in Space: Rediscovering Forbidden Planet’s Multi-Speaker Release.” In Voicing the Cinema: Film Music and the Integrated Soundtrack, edited by James Buhler and Hannah Lewis, 229–44. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2020. (Project Muse, JSTOR)

“The Myth of the Speakers: A Critical Reexamination of Dolby History.” Film History 28, no. 1 (2016): 167–193. (Project Muse, JSTOR)