Lisa M. Rabin

Lisa M. Rabin

Lisa M. Rabin

Associate Professor

Film history, film reception, "useful" film, Latin American film and other forms of mass media, Latin American literature, service-learning.

Lisa Rabin is Associate Professor of Spanish at George Mason University, where she teaches film, literary, and cultural studies in Spanish and is an active member of the Cultural Studies program.  She received her B.A. in Spanish & French from Pomona College in 1982 and her Ph.D. in Spanish from Yale University in 1993.  Professor Rabin’s current research concerns the social history of film audiences.  

Current Research

I am currently researching and writing on the distribution and exhibition history of Julien Bryan's educational film shorts in US classrooms from the post-World War II period to the 1980s. I am also examining Julien Bryan's long career on the travel-lecture film circuit, from his 1918 lantern slides on the European Front of World War I to his interactive discussions with schoolchildren on the 1960s shorts he produced on post-colonial African nations and cultures.

Selected Publications

Rabin, L. Under peer review. "From travel lecture films to 16mm classrooms: A Comparative Exhibition History of the Films of Julien Bryan, 1933-1980." The Journal for Media History.

Rabin, L. and Kridel, C. “Cinema for Social Change: The Human Relations Film Series of the Harlem Committee of the Teachers Union, 1936-1950.” In Educating Harlem: Schools and the Referendum on the American Dream (digital edition), eds. Ansley Erickson and Ernest Morrell. New York: Columbia UP, 2019, doi: 

Rabin, L. “A Social History of US Educational Documentary: The Travels of Three Shorts, 1945-1958.” Film History: An International Journal (Bloomington: U of Indiana P.) 29:3 (2017).

Rabin, L.  The Social Uses of Classroom Cinema: A Reception History of the ‘Human Relations Film Series’ at Benjamin Franklin High School, East Harlem, 1936-1955.  The Velvet Light Trap 72 (2013): 58-70.

Rabin, L.  The Normals, the Questionables, and the Delinquents: East Harlem Youth and the Movies, 1931-1934. [manuscript accepted.]  Illuminace: The Journal of Film Theory, History and Aesthetics, 28.1 (January 2015), guest editor Richard Nowell. 

Rabin, L.  Service-Learning/Aprendizaje-servicio as a global practice in Spanish.  Invited book chapter in Manel LaCorte (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Hispanic Applied Linguistics (New York: Routledge, 2014).

Rabin, L. & Leeman, J. (2015) Critical Service-Learning and Literary Study in Spanish.  In Service Learning and Literary Studies, editors Roberta Rosenberg and Laurie Grobman.  New York: Modern Language Association.  [manuscript accepted]. 

Leeman, J., Rabin, L., & Román-Mendoza, E.  (2012).  Identity and Social Activism in Heritage Language Education.  Modern Language Journal 95.4: 481-495.

Grants and Fellowships

Balasch-Rodríguez, S., Vikis, A.D., Rabin, L.M. and Sweet, C. "Course Redesign: Using Open Educational Resources (OER) Grant" (for Spanish 305-306-309 courses). Mason 4-VA in collaboration with the University Libraries and Mason Online. George Mason University, spring 2017.. 

Courses Taught

SPAN 544: Introduction to Latin American Film & Television Studies

SPAN 512 | SPAN 482: Mass Media & Popular Culture in Latin America

FRLN 331 (World Cinema in Translation): Latin American Film & Television

SPAN 510: Methods in Literary & Cultural Studies in Spanish

SPAN 390: Introduction to Literary & Cultural Studies in Spanish

SPAN 375: Introduction to Spanish-language Film

SPAN 370: Spanish Writing and Stylistics

SPAN 335: Topics in Spanish (conversation): Latin American Film



Ph.D., Yale University, Spanish Literature (1993)

M. Phil., Yale University, Spanish Literature (1990)

M.A., Yale University, Spanish Literature (1988)

B.A. (cum laude), Spanish and French Literature, Pomona College (1986)

Recent Presentations

Rabin, L. "Becoming International: American Audiences
and the Educational Films of Julien Bryan (1899-1974)." History of Movie Exhibition and Reception Annual Conference. Nassau, Bahamas. June 27, 2019.

Rabin, L. “The Social Dimensions of Educational Film: Hadassah's Local US Screenings of Tomorrow's A Wonderful Day (Helmar Lerski, 1947, English adaptation Hazel Greenwald, Hadassah, 1948), 1948-1957." Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference. Chicago, Illinois. March 2017. SCMS 2017 Chicago - conference program

Rabin, L. “School Kids on Educational Film.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference. Atlanta, Georgia. April 2016.

Rabin, L.  “Seeds of Destiny”: Orphan School Films in the Post-War Period, 1945-1956.  Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference.  Montreal, Canada.  March 2015.

Rabin, L.  Child Utopias and Historical Children: Mid-Century Films on Progressive Schooling, 1941-1953. Cinematic Traces of Things to Come: The Tenth Tel Aviv International Colloquium on Cinema and Television Studies Research Workshop of the Israel Science Foundation.Tel Aviv, Israel. June 2014.

Rabin, L. A Better Tomorrow (Alexander Hammid, OWI, 1945): City Kids as New Global Citizens in post-World War II Film. Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference.  Seattle, Washington.  March 2014.

Rabin, L. and Kridel, C.  Cinema for Social Change: The “Human Relations Film Series” of the Harlem Committee of the Teachers Union, 1936-1950.  Educating Harlem 2013: Histories of Learning and Schooling in an American Community.  Teachers College, Columbia University.  October 10, 2013 – October 11, 2013.

Rabin,  L.  Working-Class Teenagers and the Social Content Film: The Human Relations Film Series at Benjamin Franklin High School, East Harlem, New York City, 1936-1955.  Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois.  March 2013. 

Rabin, L.  East Harlem Youth and the Movies, 1929-1934.  Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, March 2012.

Rabin, L.  Working-Class Teenagers and the Visceral Experience of Movies, East Harlem, 1929-1934.  American Studies Association Annual Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, October 2011.