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Joel Burges

  • Associate Professor of English
  • Director of Visual and Cultural Studies

PhD, Stanford University

413 Morey Hall

Research Overview

Joel Burges is the author of essays and reviews that have appeared in New German Critique, Post45, Cinema Journal, and Twentieth Century Literature. The question of time animated his first two book projects: a collection of 20 keyword essays, edited with Amy J. Elias, entitled Time: A Vocabulary of the Present (New York University Press, 2016), and a book entitled Out of Sync & Out of Work: History and the Obsolescence of Labor in Contemporary Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2018). His next book, currently in progress, is entitled Literature after TV. It charts how television, the most significant mass medium of the second half of the twentieth century, changed how novelists, dramatists, and poets wrote, moving from the poems of Anne Carson, Howard Nemerov, and Claudia Rankine and the fiction of A. S. Byatt, William Gibson, and Louise Erdrich to mini-series such as The Thorn Birds and War and Remembrance and shows such as MTV's Def Poetry Jam. In examining works such as these together, a new genealogy of postwar and contemporary writing emerges at the nexus of media history and literary history. He is also beginning articles on the culture of mass incarceration and the “deep state.” With the Digital Scholarship Lab of River Campus Libraries, he is collaborating on a moving image annotation tool called Mediate. He is also affiliated with Film and Media Studies, Digital Media Studies, the Graduate Program in the Digital Humanities, and the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies.

Selected Publication Covers

Selected Publications

  • Out of Sync & Out of Work: History and the Obsolescence of Labor in Contemporary Culture, Rutgers UP, 2018
  • Reprint of "Adorno’s Mimeograph: The Uses of Obsolescence in Minima Moralia," in The Mimeograph, a Tool for Radical Art and Political Contestation, Bergen, Norway: Alt Går Bra, 2016.
  • "Collective Reading: Shot Analysis and Data Visualization in the Digital Humanities," with Nora Dimmock and Joshua Romphf, Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier 3.3 (January 2016), Special Issue on DH and Media Studies Crossovers,
  • Time: A Vocabulary of the Present, edited with Amy J. Elias, NYU Press, 2016
  • "Time Studies Today," with Amy J. Elias, introduction to Time: A Vocabulary of the Present, NYU Press, 2016
  • "Obsolescence/Innovation," in Time: A Vocabulary of the Present, NYU Press, 2016
  • "'We Are All Geeks Now: Fantasy as a Mode of Social Practice in Disenchanted Modernity," Twentieth Century Literature 59 (Fall 2013)
  • "Adorno's Mimeograph: The Uses of Obsolescence in Minima Moralia," New German Critique 118 (Winter 2013)
  • "Loving Miéville's Sentences," Post45, (February 2012)
  • "The Television and the Teapot: Obsolescence, All That Heaven Allows, and a Sense of Historical Time in Contemporary Life," in Trash Culture: Objects and Obsolescence in Cultural Perspective, ed. Gillian Pye, Peter Lang 2010
  • As a contributor to Arcade ( "Nostalgia, Mourning, Disappearance" (November 2011), "Cinematic Obsolescence: A Parallax View on the Digital Transition" (November 2010), "After the Revolution, or, The Embarrassment of Theory?" (May 2010), "Natalie Merchant's Resonant History Lesson" (May 2010)


  • Animation and the Arts
  • Back to the Future: Alternative Modernities from the Victorian Novel to the Culture of Steampunk
  • Clocks and Computers: Visualizing Cultural Time
  • Critical Theory/Media Theory
  • Film History, 1989-Present
  • Introduction to Media Studies
  • Television and Literature
  • Marxism and Forms
  • Poetics of Television
  • What is Contemporary Cinema?
  • Politics of Television


  • External Faculty Fellowship, the Susan and Donald Newhouse Center for the Humanities, Wellesley College, 2014-2015
  • Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2009-11
  • Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship, Program in Writing and Rhetoric, Stanford University, 2007-09
  • Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2003-04
  • Doctoral Fellowship, Department of English, Stanford University, 1999-2003
  • Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies, 1998-99
  • Norman Holmes Pearson Prize for the Best Senior Essay in American Studies, American Studies Program, Yale University, 1997