Dr. Eszter Polonyi


Assistant with PhD
+386 5 33 15 237

Research activity

Eszter is interested in the role of visual media technologies in shaping and expanding different conventions of meaning making in Central Eastern Europe and North America of the 19th and 20th centuries, focusing on art, film, photography and print media. Her research and teaching involve the histories of vision and visuality, embodied forms of specatorship, theories of the medium, obsolescence, intermediality and authorship and the cultural politics of media literacy.

Research areas and keywords

Art History, Film History, Media Archaeology, Literature

Selected publications

Select articles:

  • Polonyi, Eszter. 2021. “Flicker: Thom Andersen Takes Muybridge to the Movies.” In Provenance and Early Cinema, edited by Joanne Bernardi, Paolo Cherchi Usai, Tami Williams, and Joshua Yumibe, 287–304. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Polonyi, Eszter. 2020. “Writing with Light: Béla Balázs on the Emergence of the Film Scenario.” Apertura Winter. (in Hungarian)
  • Polonyi, Eszter. 2017. “Béla Balázs in Weimar and the Matter of Ideological Concession.” In Linkes Kino. Von Prometheus Zu Hitler. Filmbiografien Vor Und Nach Dem Faschismus. Wien: Filmmuseum Austria (forthcoming).
  • Polonyi, Eszter. 2016. “Media Archaeology in Cinema Studies and Art History: A Response to Thomas Elsaessers Media Archaeology as Symptom.” New Review of Film and Television Studies 14 (2): 216–21.
  • Polonyi, Eszter. 2012. “Béla Balázs and the Eye of the Microscope.” Apertura, Fall.


  • Polonyi, Eszter. 2019. “Sibyl Moholy-Nagy : Architecture, Modernism and Its Discontents.” The Plan Journal 4 (2): 1–6.
  • Polonyi, Eszter. 2019. “The Hungarian Film Industry, Béla Balázs and the Postwar Moment: András Szekfü’s Interview Collection.” Apertura Summer. (in Hungarian)
  • Polonyi, Eszter. 2018. “Film History as Media Archaeology: Tracking Digital Cinema. Thomas Elsaesser. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016, 416pp.” Found Footage Magazine, no. 4: 123–25. (also printed in 2017. Metropolis, no. 1. in Hungarian translation)

Selected projects

  • Visiting Researcher in Film Studies division of Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, Universiteit van Amsterdam, NL, 2015-2017
  • Sound Cultures research group, Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, Universiteit van Amsterdam, NL, 2015-2021
  • Visiting Researcher in Film and Theater Department, Freie Universität, Berlin, D, 2012 (Winter)


Visiting Assistant Professor, 2017-2020
History of Art and Design
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn

Core Lecturer, 2017-2020
Art History and Archaeology
Columbia University

PhD, 2017, Columbia University
Art History & Archaeology Department
Film Studies, School of the Arts

MPhil, 2010, Columbia University
Art History & Archaeology Department

MA, 2006, Courtauld Institute Of Art
German Romantic Love of Art
London, UK

BA, 2003, Wellesley College
Art History and English Literature
Boston, MA, USA

languages: English, Hungarian, French, German

Leadership functions

Women’s Caucus, Junior Faculty Representative, Society for Cinema and Media Studies (2020-22)


Eszter’s work has received support from, among others, the Mellon Foundation, the Rudolf Wittkower Fund, the Ary Stillman Fund, the C.V.Starr Fund, the Pierre and Gaetna Matisse Fund, Columbia University, SSRC DPDF, Pepsico, DAAD, the Turza Family Fund, the Harriet Shaw Fund, the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Hungarian Ministry of Education, the Stecher Fund, Wellesley College.