Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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Daniel Mourenza

PhD Candidate

Old Mining Building, PhD Students Room

BA Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), MA Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), MA University of Leeds

My thesis analyses Walter Benjamin’s writings on film. I pay special attention to the role of technology in Benjamin’s philosophical and political project. My main argument is that Benjamin’s writings on film are part of the tradition he coined as ‘anthropological materialism.’ His theses on the role of cinema in modernity are thus related to the effects of technology on the human body.


  • PhD in Fine Arts, History of Art and Cultural Studies (University of Leeds) 2010-2014
  • MA in Cultural Studies (University of Leeds) 2009-2010
  • MA in Contemporary Film Studies (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) 2008-2009
  • BA in Media Studies (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) 2004-2008

Conference Papers and Seminars 

  • ‘No Centimetre Between Body and Image: Walter Benjamin’s Writings on Film within his Anthropological Materialism,’ Symposium ‘Images in Walter Benjamin’s and W.G. Sebald’s Writings,’ 26th to 28th September 2013, Universitat de Girona
  • ‘Walter Benjamin’s Chaplin: The Return of the Allegorical Mode in Modernity,’ Benjamin’s Figures: Dialogues on the Vocation of Humanities, 28th to 30th August, Universiteit Leiden
  • ‘Nature, Technology, Humanity: The Key Triangle for Walter Benjamin’s aisthesis,’ Nature, 16th International Graduate Conference in Philosophy, 4th May 2013, University of Essex
  • ‘Therapeutic Tool or Revolutionary Weapon? Walter Benjamin’s Theories on Film.’ 5th International Critical Theory Conference, 7th to 9th May 2012, Rome Center of Loyola University Chicago.
  • ‘Cracks in the Spaces of Global Capitalism: Jia Zhangke and Walter Benjamin’s Allegories of Ruins,’ 8th Annual Historical Materialism Conference, 10th to 13th November 2011, Central London.
  • ‘Cinema, Invention of the Nineteenth Century,’ Postgraduate Symposium, 20th September 2011, School of Fine Arts, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds

Research Interests

  • Walter Benjamin
  • Critical Theory
  • Visual Culture
  • Aesthetics and Politics
  • Early Film Theory


ARTF1003 Introduction to Cultural Analysis 1

ARTF2071 Aesthetics 2

Research Centres & Groups

Leeds Russian Centre, associate

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

Diane Morgan

Gail Day

PhD Thesis

My thesis analyses Walter Benjamin’s writings on film from the point of view of his ‘anthropological materialism.’ The thesis addresses the role of technology in Benjamin’s thought and the position of technologically reproducible art within his philosophical project. Thus the dissertation studies in depth Benjamin’s analysis of Soviet film, German film in the Weimar Republic and during National Socialism, Charlie Chaplin and Mickey Mouse.

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