Pete Porter, PhD

Photo of Pete Porter, PhD


  • Film and Media
  • Human-Animal Studies
  • Film Festival Studies


Dr. Pete Porter is a Professor of Film in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. He specializes in nonhuman animal representation in film and media, cognitive-analytical film theory, Menippean satire in film, film festival studies, and animation studies. His dissertation From Menippus to the Movies (2003) was one of the first scholarly works to take The Big Lebowski (1998) seriously. He currently serves as Film Review Editor for Society & Animals, an international journal of Human-Animal Studies and he also does applied research as President of the Contemporary Arts Alliance, which oversees the Spokane International Film Festival. From 2022 to 2023, Porter was a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Groningen. In 2021, Porter became the inaugural Chair of Fine and Performing Arts, a new department combining programs in Art, Film, Music, and Theatre. From 2018-2021, Porter served as Interim Dean and co-Dean of the College of Arts, Letters, and Education.

Dr Porter is finishing the book From Marching Penguins to Octopus Teachers, which describes how films express animal interests and perspectives, from a cognitive-affective approach. The book shows how recent films invented strategies for representing ethical and aesthetic matters of concern for both humans and nonhumans. As we ponder how to achieve sustainability, we must move beyond instrumentalist and anthropocentric conceptions of others, both human and nonhuman, in order to achieve a more just, equitable, and biodiverse world. His upcoming work is about Animals, satire, and the movies.

His publications include articles and film reviews in Society and Animals, The Journal of Moving Image Studies, and The Michigan Academician, as well as invited chapters in Lebowski 101 and Teaching the Animal: Human-Animal Studies across the Disciplines. His presentation “Against Anthropocentrism: The Menippean Animal” was awarded Best Presentation at Minding Animals 4, an international conference in Animal Studies, and merged his two central research areas of animals in media and Menippean satire.

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