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James J. Hodge

Associate Professor of English and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities

Ph.D. University of Chicago


James J. Hodge (Ph.D. University of Chicago) specializes in digital media aesthetics at the intersections of cinema, art history, and literary studies, especially experimental media art genres such as new media art, avant-garde film, and electronic literature. Focusing also on media and critical theory he has special interests in phenomenology and psychoanalysis (object relations). He holds core appointments in English and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, and he is affiliate faculty in Art History and Screen Cultures. He received his M.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and B.A. from Oberlin College. Before arriving at Northwestern in 2013 he was a Postdoctoral Associate at Duke University.

His research is devoted to the broad question of how artistic forms express the incoherence of lived experience. His first book Sensations of History: Animation and New Media Art (Minnesota, 2019) argues that animation becomes crucial for understanding the ways in which history changes in the digital age. His current book project, "Gifts of Ubiquity: The Aesthetics of Always-On Computing" examines a range of experimental and popular digital artworks in their capacity to express the felt dynamics of always-on computing: from anxiety and sociability to productivity and vulnerability. This and other recent work attend to the explosion of new networked genres such as supercuts, selfies, and animated GIFs, and theorizes them as aesthetic strategies of provisional attunement to the vicissitudes of the historical present.

Hodge regularly collaborates across programs at Northwestern. He co-organized a summer institute in 2019 on the topic of "Media Aesthetics" with Dilip Gaonkar (Rhetoric and Public Culture). In 2018 he co-curated an exhibition of Paul Chan's video Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization at the Block Museum with Michael Metzger. In 2016-17 he co-organized a research seminar entitled "Ordinary Media" with Daniel Snelson (now at UCLA).

In 2019-2020 Hodge will be teaching four undergraduate courses: a first-year seminar called "Hitchcock and Beyond" and a seminar on the American horror film in the fall; and in the winter "Media Theory" and (with Patrick Noonan from Asian Languages & Cultures) a course entitled "Cultures of Information" about affective and aesthetic responses to neoliberalism in Japan and the West. He is also offering a section of "Media Theory" for the Master of Liberal Studies program.

An interview on his digital pedagogy can be read here.


Literary Theory, Film & Film Theory, Science & Literature, Digital Media


Sensations of History: Animation and New Media Art
Sensations of History: Animation and New Media Art (University of Minnesota, 2019)

Forthcoming Publications

  • "Vernaculars: The Always-On Image"
  • "The Subject of Always-On Computing: Thomas Ogden's 'Autistic-Contiguous Position' and the Animated GIF"
  • "Screwed: Anxiety and the Digital Ends of Anticipation"

Selected Publications

  • "New Maps, New Poetics: New Works by Akihiko Miyoshi," Circuit Gallery, Toronto, September 2019.
  • "Touch," with C. A. Davis and John Bresland (video essay, 20 minutes), Triquarterly (December 3, 2018). watch the video
  • “Suffering the Modernist Legacy of Husserlian Phenomenology," Criticism 59:1 (Winter 2018): 155-160.
  • “Earth-Specific Art: Phenomenology and the Digital Cinema of Peter Bo Rappmund,” ASAP/Journal 2:3 (2017): 579–601.
  • "Digital Psycho: Dedramatizing the Historical Event," Critical Inquiry 43:4 (Summer 2017): 839–860.
  • "Sociable Media: Phatic Connection in Digital Art," Postmodern Culture 26:1 (September 2016): NP.
  • "Gifts of Ubiquity," Film Criticism 39:2 (Winter 2014-15): 53-78.
  • "New Media Art" (with Jacob Gaboury), Oxford Bibliographies in Cinema and Media Studies, ed. Krin Gabbard. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).
  • "Impersonal Love? Contemporary Art and Atmospheric Media," More Love: Art, Politics, and Sharing Since the 1990s, ed. Claire Schneider (Chapel Hill, NC: Ackland Art Museum, 2013).
  • "'I'm Looking for a New Way to be with You': On the Lisps' Futurity: A Musical," HowlRound: A Journal of the Theater Commons (July, 2012).

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