Brian Ganter [ ~ he, him ~] is a currently a Faculty member in the Department of English at Capilano University in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where he has taught since 2008.*
During his twenty+ years working in academia, Brian has designed and taught English, Humanities, Cultural Studies, and Cinema Studies courses in the U.S., Canada, and Japan. He has presented at a variety of international Literary, Media, and Cultural Studies conferences. He was educated in Universities across the United States.
In New York Brian began his education at Syracuse University. He entered the University to study advertising. He soon left this specialization and eventually completed his undergraduate degree in Film Studies in the School of Visual and Performing Arts with a Minor in English/English and Textual Studies (ETS).
In his film classes Brian wrote, shot, and edited short films on 16mm and video, using Bolex, Beaulieu, and Arriflex cameras while learning how to edit on Steenbeck flatbed editors. Brian’s filmic and artistic influences at this time included Andy Warhol/Paul Morrissey, Kenneth Anger, Maya Deren, Bruce Conner, and Craig Baldwin.
He also was commissioned to produce a documentary short (Jaime Ferrán: Discovering America) on the life of Jaime Ferrán, a noted Spanish writer and scholar, and a central member of the group of Catalan poets known as the Generation of 1950, an important group of anti-Franco poets in post-war Spain. While at Syracuse University, Brian also took elective courses in vocal training in School of Music and in other areas of the arts.
After a brief period working in the film and television industries, Brian went on to pursue and complete his Master’s Degree at the State University of New York (SUNY) – Buffalo. This dual degree in the areas of Media Studies and English allowed Brian to continue to pursue his crossover interests in cinema, literary studies, critical theory, and Marxism. In Buffalo, Brian focused on synthesizing his interests in critical theory and film with a newfound interest in teaching.
After graduation in 1997, Brian applied and was accepted into the Ph.D. programs in English at the University of Washington as well as at UC Berkeley in California. He opted for UW in Seattle, in part, to paraphrase one of his faculty advisors, because “Berkeley is the past and Seattle is the future.” He relocated from the East Coast to the West Coast to pursue his doctoral studies.
In 1999 Brian left the East and began his Ph.D. in the the Department of English and his formal teacher training in the highly regarded Expository Writing Program at the University of Washington.
In Seattle, as he completed his course work in his doctoral program Brian taught, like many other graduate students, at multiple Universities and Colleges in the greater Seattle and Metro Seattle areas. His teaching institutions included the University of Washington, Seattle Central (an urban campus in the diverse and well-known Capitol Hill area of Seattle, where he taught an introductory Shakespeare course and ran a campus-wide Shakespeare film festival) and Cascadia College, a liberal arts-centered college, which shared a campus with the University of Washington in Bothell, a suburban-rural, commuter campus proximate to the headquarters of Microsoft.
During this time in his teaching life Brian taught a variety of courses in academic writing, Cinema Studies, and lower- and -upper division courses in Literary and Cultural Studies. He moved between University and College student populations, gaining an appreciation for the specific needs and learning demands of each.
At the UW Brian continued his Ph.D work and taught a range of mid-level literature courses with a core set of readings in critical theory that reflected his research interests: Marxism and Globalization, primarily, but also topics that touched on Queer Theory, Prisons + Surveillance, (Post)Coloniality, and Digital Culture. In his teaching he continued to receive strong student evaluations. He began short periods of study of foreign languages. Having taken four years of Latin in high school he turned to the study of German (mainly to be able to read Hegel in the original language) and, later on, Chinese (Mandarin).
Brian’s education and working life as a filmmaker led him into the position of lead Cinema Studies instructor. He designed and taught courses in American Cinema, with screenings ranging from The Searchers and Modern Times to the films of Harmony Korine and Cheryl Dunye. In his World Cinema courses he taught Kurosawa, Wenders, Von Trier, Maya Daren, Guy Madden and others and brought students an introduction to cinema in the age of globalization. Brian also helped introduce and develop courses in “Digital Cinema” which at the time was emerging as a new field of study and practice.
Brian’s teaching has benefited from his work with colleagues and with comrades outside the classroom. Towards the close of his time in Seattle Brian participated as a member of the Cultural Studies Praxis Collective at UW-Bothell, a group of Cultural Studies scholars forging links between theory, the arts and transformative social change. Brian also helped co-found and co-edit The Red Critique, an online journal of Marxist critique and analysis of the contemporary. He served as contributor, co-editor and web manager of the journal.
As of 2007, Brian has relocated to Vancouver, BC, Canada. Upon arrival, he first worked for a short period in the informal/non-profit educational sector as the Media Literacy Coordinator in the Education Department at The Cinematheque, a publicly-funded cultural institution aimed at promoting and preserving the arts of the moving image.
Here, at The Cinematheque, Brian developed and led workshops for K-12 drama and film students; helped organize, administer and instruct at film-making camps for youth; and gave public lectures on cinema and the theater arts. Some workshop subjects of Brian’s included Buster Keaton’s art of the “gag”; media literacy sessions for middle school kids on the critical analysis of gender and sexuality in advertising; and a conference session on “Toxic Masculinity in the Media” for K-12 teachers. Brian appeared as an Education Department representative to give talks on the work of Sergei Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin) and Roman Polanski (whose film Repulsion was screened during The Cinematheque’s popular mental health film series, Frames of Mind, hosted by UBC’s Department of Pscyhology). One memorable lecture addressed the plays of Samuel Beckett and the concept of absurdism for a public audience at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island; another given at the Vancouver Art Gallery touched on the emerging demands of digital literacy and multimodal literacies for K-12 education.
Finally, in 2008, Brian joined the Department of English at Capilano University, where he has taught for 10+ years.
At Capilano U. Brian teaches a wide range of courses including first-year Contemporary Literature and Introduction to Literature courses; third-year courses in Electronic Literature; First Nations Literature and Film; World Literature; Shakespeare in the 21st Century; Litflix: Literature After Television; Literary Theory & Criticism; Literature and Technology; Canadian Literature; Romanticism Reloaded: Introduction to Digital Reading. and courses on video games and tragedy and “videogames as literature” in which students play games and critical explore titles such as Bioshock: Infinite (2013) and Detroit: Become Human (2018).
Brian’s research interests include 21st century literary studies, critical theory and philosophy, Marxism, Digital Humanities (DH), and studies in games, cinema, television — in fact, all technologies of the screen.
Not long after his arrival at Capilano University Brian took over as the Convenor of the CultureNet program, an interdisciplinary degree program exploring changes in philosophy in the self and in culture in relation to technology. Brian oversaw the CultureNet program from 2011-2013, and helped shape a program that gave students a Humanities-centric view of technology, media, and digital life.
In 2013 Brian was selected as Capilano University’s visiting Humanites and English instructor at Aichi Gakusen College in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Brian traveled throughout Japan, with a particular focus on literary and arts landmarks as he carried out a research program related to the dynamics of cultural and economic globalization in Japan.
At Capilano U. Brian’s teaching and learning have extended outside the classroom in his work with the Indigenize the Academy faculty group and, for a brief time in 2010, as one of the faculty co-organizers of the #occupycapilano movement.
The launch of Capilano University’s Bachelor degree, through our LIberal Studies Program (LBST) has given all faculty at Capilano U. the opportunity to develop and build the program and its courses from the “ground up.” The degree structure at Capilano U. means that students in the program take a series of three “tutorials” culminating in a final Graduation Project. Students select their own tutorial advisor. Brian has overseen several tutorials each year on topics such as Data Activism and the Interactive Documentary; Topics in Digital Humanities: Teaching Multimodal ESL/EAP; Feminist Cultural Studies in Media and Technology; Seeing Social Justice: Truth, Ideology, and Utopia in Documentary Film; and Empire of the Undead: Zombie Films and Literature.
From his writing to his literature courses, Brian focuses on the politics of knowledge, which is the scene of all teaching. He has seen it as part of the role of teaching to bring outside speakers into the learning situation and to turn the classroom into a public space of critical dialogue and public accountability. As part of his commitment to engaged teaching and learning Brian has brought many guest speakers to campus including historian Michael Parenti; white privilege essayist and critic, Tim Wise; novelist Ruth Ozeki; speakers on electronic literature Jim Andrews, Jason Nelson, and Dene Grigar; Mozilla open source badge advocate ; Carmen Aguirre ; and Graffiti Research Labs.
Over the course of his teaching life, Brian has organized workshops and presented papers at the conferences of major professional conferences throughout North America including MLA (Modern Language Association), CSA (Cultural Studies Association), SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies) and the ELO (Electronic Literature Organization). Brian is a member of all of these professional bodies.
Brian was the recipient of the President’s Life-Long Learning Award in 2007 at his teaching institution in Seattle for his study of Chinese (Mandarin) and his commitment to continued learning and professional development.
He is currently one of the lead instructors at Capilano in the English Departments’ EAP/ESL Bridge Program . Brian is officially certified as a TSEOL/TESL/TEFL instructor.
Brian remains a U.S. citizen and is proud to have recently become a Canadian citizen in 2018.
*For the Expanded version of this Teaching Biography click here.
* Capilano University, which recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2018, has the distinction of being one of the only universities in British Columbia founded by Faculty. In 2008 it was designated as a “special-purpose teaching University” when it was granted University status by the Provincial Government. As a result, both historically and in its educational mandate, teaching and research in teaching play central roles in the life of the University in general and in the Humanities in particular.