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I am Professor of Cinema & Media Studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania, where I hold a secondary appointment at the Annenberg School for Communication and an affiliation with the  Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition at Penn Law School. I am the Faculty Director of Penn’s campus-wide Online Learning Initiative as well as Director of the Cinema & Media Studies Program. (more formal bio)

My research focuses on media law and policy, especially the regulation of Hollywood. My books include Hollywood: A Very Short Introduction, Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet, and Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American. In addition, I have coedited books on Iranian cinema,  internet policy, and the cultural theorist Stuart Hall.

I am also a filmmaker and photographer. I’ve made documentary and virtual reality films about Myanmar’s film industry, a Kenyan refugee settlement, and Puerto Rican artists after Hurricane Maria. I am currently editing a film about the Jewish community in Gondar, Ethiopia. See the film link at the top of this page for more.

I have been a contributing writer for Forbes (articles here) and with Caroline Levander I wrote a series on education and Covid-19 for Inside Higher Ed (articles here).

Please try my free online course (a MOOC) on the history of Hollywood, which has been taken by more than 50,000 learners.

I live outside of Philadelphia with my wife, two children, and very enthusiastic yellow lab.

decherney@sas.upenn.edu  |  @pdecherney (twitter)