Jason Middleton

Visiting Associate Professor of Cinema Studies

Jason Middleton’s research explores the distinct and forceful modalities of feeling produced in and by documentary film/media, analyzing the interventionist work of nonfiction media not simply in the conventional terms of rhetoric and persuasion but as a sensory and embodied site of transformation. His current book project, “Documentary’s Body: Instructional Aesthetics and Transmodal Affects,” examines film and media objects that depict processes that have consistently posed challenges to representation (childbirth, illness and dying, animal slaughter and meat production)—media that feature images that “cannot be unseen” (to use the popular idiom). Middleton’s research on embodiment in nonfiction media enables new approaches to longstanding questions in documentary studies about the relationship among media, activism, and social change.

Education

  • Ph.D., The Literature Program, Duke University
  • B.A., Hampshire College; Amherst, MA

Selected Publications

Books
  • Documentary’s Body: Instructional Aesthetics and Transmodal Affects (In
  • progress).
  • Documentary’s Awkward Turn: Cringe Comedy and Media Spectatorship (New York and London: Routledge, 2014).
  • Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones, ed. Roger Beebe and Jason Middleton (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007).
Essays
  • “A Rather Crude Feminism: Amy Schumer, Post-Feminism, and Abjection,” Feminist Media Histories Vol. 3 no. 2 (Spring 2017), special issue on Comedy, ed. Kristen Anderson Wagner and Maggie Hennefeld.
  • “Documentary Horror: The Transmodal Power of Indexical Violence,” Journal of Visual Culture 14.3 (December 2015), special issue, “The Design and Componentry of Horror,” ed. Eugenie Brinkema and Caetlin Benson-Allott.
  • “Something to Hide: The Ethics of Spectatorship in Saw,” in Cine-Ethics: Ethical Dimensions of Film Theory, Practice, and Spectatorship, ed. Mattias Frey and Jinhee Choi (Routledge, 2013).
  • “Spectacles of Atrocity: Mondo Video in the ‘War on Terror,’” Afterimage 39.1&2 (August 2011).
  • "The Audio-Vision of Found Footage Film and Video," in Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones, ed. Roger Beebe and Jason Middleton (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007).
  • “The Subject of Torture: Regarding the Pain of Americans in Hostel,” Cinema Journal 49.4 (Summer 2010).
  • Comic Book Melancholia,” Los Angeles Review of Books. 
  • Is That All There Is?” Avidly (Los Angeles Review of Books).