Robert E. Kapsis is Professor of Sociology and Film Studies and teaches courses on the American film industry and popular culture. He is also on the faculty of the Film Studies Certificate Program, Graduate Center (CUNY), and has taught film at New School University.
A native of Chicago, Kapsis graduated from the University of Wisconsin, earned an MA in history and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, and joined the faculty at Queens College in 1973. He is author of Hitchcock: The Making of a Reputation (University of Chicago Press, 1992), “Alfred Hitchcock: A Profile,” American National Biography, ed. John A. Garraty (Oxford University Press, 1999), co-edited (with Kathie Coblentz) Clint Eastwood: Interviews (University Press of Mississippi, 1999), and Woody Allen: Interviews (University Press of Mississippi, 2006), and edited Jonathan Demme: Interviews (University Press of Mississippi, 2009). His articles have appeared in The American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, The Sociological Quarterly, Urban Affairs Quarterly, American Film, The Journal of Film and Video, Cineaste, Variety, and The Village Voice.
Recently, Kapsis collaborated with the Museum of Modern Art to develop a major career retrospective on film director Charles Burnett that took place April 6-25, 2011 and showcased 20 of Burnett’s films, including several shorts. A revised and expanded edition of Clint Eastwood: Interviews was released in 2013.
Kapsis is collaborating with the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California to develop a full-scale retrospective on iconic American humorist and entertainer Steve Martin. The bi-coastal tribute envisioned will include gallery exhibitions, film series, and panel discussions revealing Martin’s unique and extraordinary accomplishments. Kapsis has also edited a collection of interviews that highlight Martin’s talent as a writer (Conversations with Steve Martin, University Press of Mississippi, Fall 2014).
Earlier in his career, during the 1990s, Kapsis developed a multimedia format for the study of film and other art forms that integrated still and moving images with sound and text, allowing for a close analysis of artworks. In 1998, he received a grant from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to complete “Multimedia Hitchcock,” a public computer kiosk, that the museum displayed during a celebration of the Hitchcock centenary (April 1999-May 2001). “Multimedia Hitchcock” was also featured at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Beverly Hills, California), The American Museum of the Moving Image (Astoria Queens, NY), and at Hitchcock: A Centennial Celebration, a five-day international symposium in New York City, October 13-17, 1999 (Department of Film Studies, New York University).
Kapsis has appeared in two television documentaries on Hitchcock (including “Dial ‘H’ For Hitchcock: The Genius Behind the Showman,” narrated by Kevin Spacey) and consulted on a third one produced for the BBC. He was also a consultant to the U.S. Postal Service (through Photo Assist, Washington, D.C.) to develop a postage stamp and associated materials commemorating Hitchcock (Date of issue: August 3, 1998). Kapsis’ work on Hitchcock has been the subject of articles and reviews appearing in The New York Times, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out, Wired News, and CUNY Matters.
Away from the rat race, Kapsis enjoys playing the piano, listening to classical music and jazz, and hanging out with his family. He is married, has two “grown” sons, and three granddaughters.