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Cary Elza


Cary Elza received her Ph.D. From Northwestern University’s Screen Cultures Program, where her dissertation research focused on Alice in Wonderland narratives—popular representations of female figures who cross between spaces marked as ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’—in the context of technological and social change.  Her other research interests include television and film history and genres (especially horror, fantasy, and science fiction), pre-cinematic devices and late 19th century forms of popular entertainment, early media history and theory, YA and children’s media, animation theory and history, and fandom and fan practices, among other topics. 


Her publications include articles and anthology chapters on Disney’s Alice Comedies, Pokemon, The X-Files, Veronica Mars and the figure of the female detective, Michael Moore and new media, Smallville and superhero mythology, and Twilight and other recent vampire series.

Research Interests

  • Animation, Children’s and Youth Media, Film and Media History, Genres (especially Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy), Criticism, and Analysis, Social Media, Media Technologies
  • Cary Elza,  “Alice in Cartoonland: Childhood, Gender, and Imaginary Space in Early Disney Animation,” animation: an interdisciplinary journal, vol. 9, no. 1 (March 2014).


  • Chair, Historic Preservation Subcommittee.
  • Project Director, Curator, and Writer for “125 Years of Higher Education in Stevens Point,” exhibit at the Edna Carlsten Gallery (Fall 2019)
  • Faculty Advisor, Lambda Pi Eta and YouTube Society


  • Guest on WPR’s Route 51
  • Talks given in various venues: CREATE Portage County, Wausau Public Library

Professional Memberships

  • Program Committee, Society for Cinema and Media Studies
  • Popular Culture/American Culture Association
  • International Girls Studies Association
  • Lewis Carroll Society of North America

UWSP HAS Amazing professors who are completely devoted to student success, often at the expense of their own well-being and sanity.

cary elza
Cary Elza
Associate Professor - Media Studies

311 Communication Arts Center


PhD Screen Cultures (Film Studies/Media Studies)
Northwestern University

MA Film Studies
Emory University

BA American Studies
Smith College


Foundations of Media Writing
Intro to the Art of Film
History of Media
Advanced Media Writing (Screenwriting, Writing for Television, Comedy Writing)
History of Film Part I
History of Film Part II
Media Genres (Cinema and the End of the World, History of Animation, Disney Empire, Fangs on Film, Haunted Cinema)
Media Studies Symposium