- Ph.D. in Communication from Georgia State University
- M.A. in English from Syracuse University
- B.A. in Film Studies from University of South Carolina
Laurel Ahnert’s research addresses ethical questions raised by global documentary films and other nonfiction moving images. Because documentaries engage directly with the socio-historical world by documenting real people, places, and events, they are fundamentally ethical texts that involve complex negotiations between filmmakers, the subjects of their films, the audiences that consume them, and the contexts that surround them. They also raise questions about the nature of truth, reality, and authenticity in representation and the relationship between embodied performance and identity. Her work uses a film-philosophy approach to analyze these and other fraught questions raised by documentary visual culture.
She has written on the representation of disability in the South Korean documentary Planet of Snail; the mediation of race, subjectivity, and embodiment in European art cinema; community ethics and social movement politics in documentary videos covering Occupy Wall Street; trauma, remembrance, and documentary witness in the Chilean film Nostalgia for the Light; race, surveillance, and compromised subjectivity in interactive web art; and many other topics. Her work has been published in the New Review of Film and Television Studies and Social Text.
She teaches various classes on special topics in film, as well as courses that cover issues of identity and representation in mass media and popular culture.
Dr. Ahnert holds a PhD in Communication, Moving Image Studies from Georgia State University.