Brian A. Stonehill (1953-1997) was a teacher, scholar, opinion writer, cultural essayist, lecturer, and producer. In addition to an outstanding and visionary scholarly career, Stonehill is remembered for his crucial founding role in the Pomona Media Studies program.
His academic career began at the age of 15 when he enrolled in Haverford College in Pennsylvania. During his undergraduate years, he spent his junior year at the University of Warwick in Coventry, U. K., won the Newton Prize in English Literature, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated with high honors from Haverford in 1973. Stonehill earned a Master of Arts degree in English with honors in 1974 and his Ph.D. in English with honors in 1978 from the University of Chicago. He wrote his dissertation "Art Displaying Art: Self-Consciousness in Novels of Joyce, Nabokov, Gaddis, and Pynchon," under the direction of Saul Bellow and Wayne Booth.
In 1979, Stonehill worked briefly as a fiction editor at the Chicago Review before joining the Pomona College faculty as an English professor later that year. During his eighteen years of teaching at Pomona College, Stonehill taught courses in creative writing, arts of persuasion, modern American literature, self-conscious fiction, contemporary film and fiction, contemporary fiction, James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon, and the principles of visual literacy. He received Pomona College's Wig Award for Distinguished Teaching three times in 1982, 1987, and 1992, and was a beloved professor as evidenced in course evaluations and student comments submitted for the 1997 Wig Award.
Brian Stonehill served as Chairman of the Humanities Division from 1981-1982 and was promoted to an Associate professor in 1983. Stonehill's development of the Pomona College Media Studies Program began in 1988 and it became a formal program during the 1991-1992 school year. After his promotion to Professor of English and Media Studies in 1993, Stonehill served as Chairman of the Humanities Division again from 1993-1997.
During the 1980s and 1990s Stonehill contributed book reviews to the Los Angeles Times and several other prominent publications, and was a member of the National Book Critics Circle. He frequently wrote opinion pieces for the Los Angeles Times and The Christian Science Monitor and their syndicates on subjects including the coverage of significant events and new media technologies. He appeared as a commentator on programs such as PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, KCET's Life and Times series, CBS Network News, National Public Radio, MonitoRadio, NBC radio, and various other local and national radio stations.
Brian Stonehill's other professional projects during the 1980s and 1990s range from book publication to the production of laserdiscs and the development of interactive CD-ROMs. He published The Self-Conscious Novel: Artifice in Fiction from Joyce to Pynchon in 1988. In the same year he interviewed French commercial photographer Marc Garanger and recorded a translation in English that was included on the laserdisc, Regard for the Planet: 50,000 Photographs by Marc Graranger which received the Video Magazine award for Best Disc-Only release in 1989. In 1990, Stonehill exhibited the prototype of a visual literacy CD-ROM at the Artists and Activists CD-ROM show at USC while steadily working on another laserdisc project, Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise), which received the Laser Tribune award for Best Special Feature Disc and Best All-Around Disc of 1991. Brian Stonehill was a pioneer in the use of networked computers and the Internet as teaching tools at Pomona College and directed the creation of various Internet sites beginning in 1994. Project sites include the Online Visual Literacy Project and the Pomona Pynchon Page which were both awarded "CyberHound all-star fetch" prizes by Gale Publications online in 1996.
On August 6, 1997, Brian Stonehill died in an automobile accident. At the time of his death, he was writing a novel entitled High Definition, editing a manuscript entitled Media Literacy in the Digital Age which was accepted for publication by University of Texas Press, and producing a CD-ROM entitled Understanding D. W. Griffith.
The Brian Stonehill papers can be found at the Claremont Colleges Digital Library, http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/gmc&CISOPTR=41#d0e112
The Brian Stonehill Lecture is an annual event held to commemorate the legacy of Brian Stonehill (1953-1997), founder of the Media Studies program at Pomona College.
Past lecturers have included:
Tara McPherson (2003)
Constance Penley (2004)
Jacqueline Bobo (2005)
Jim Taylor, PO '84 (2006)
Page, Screen, Pixel: Media in Transition (2008) with Bill Keller, PO '70, Bob Stein, Marsha Kinder, Jason Mittell, and Siva Vaidhyanathan
Richard Taylor (2009)
Lynda Obst, PO '72 (2010)
The Brian Stonehill Library is located in Crookshank 3.
Mondays 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Tuesdays 9:00 am – 11:00 am, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Wednesdays 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Thursdays 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Fridays 9:00 am – 11:00 am, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm