• KY16 9AL

    United Kingdom

Personal profile


Professor Tom Rice is a film and cultural historian, with particular expertise in colonial cinemas and non-theatrical film. His first book, White Robes, Silver Screens: Movies and the Making of the Ku Klux Klan (Indiana University Press, 2015), which was runner-up for the BAFTSS Best Book award in 2017, examines the role of cinema in the formation, development and demise of the Ku Klux Klan between 1915 and 1944. He has spoken on aspects of this work for TV and radio, for print media (including the New York Times) and written articles based on this research for publications including The Guardian and The Conversation

Rice’s second book, Films for the Colonies: Cinema and the Preservation of the British Empire (University of California Press, 2019), explores the establishment and growth of the Colonial Film Units (particularly in Africa and the Caribbean) from the 1920s to the 1960s, charting the British Government’s widespread production and mobile exhibition of educational film across the British Empire. In 2016/17 he received a Leverhulme Fellowship to undertake research for this book in Ghana and Jamaica. Rice previously served as the senior postdoctoral researcher on a major 3-year AHRC funded project, writing historical essays on more than 200 films and production companies (www.colonialfilm.org.uk). In close collaboration with archives, he has also helped to organise film seasons, conferences and educational programmes.

Rice’s latest book project is funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (“Conservative Convergence: The Daily Mail and the Evolution of the Transmedial Newspaper, 1896-1960”), and tracks the ways in which conservative British newspapers, exemplified by the Daily Mail, developed and exploited wider media, from early film to radio, from newsreels to TV. Related to this, Rice has developed a 2-year RSE network grant (2022-2024), entitled The Lost World of Filmstrips, working closely with a range of archives and institutions. His interest in film history and archival research is also evident through Cinema St Andrews, an archival research project established for teaching in 2011.

Rice has served a wide range of administrative roles at St Andrews, including Director of Teaching and Director of Postgraduate Studies. He has also served as a Visiting Professor at Goethe Universität-Frankfurt (2021-2023) and has successfully supervised seven PhD students to completion.


Teaching activity

Rice has taught (or co-taught) on numerous honours and Mlitt modules, including Film and the Archive; Colonial Cinema; Film and History; Watching the Detectives: Murder, Mystery and the Media; Film Genres, Silent Cinema; and War and Cinema.   

Profile Keywords

Global film history; colonial cinema; documentary, educational and non-fiction film; early cinema; non-theatrical film practices

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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