Department of English


Joel Burges

Research Interests

Burges is currently working on two book projects, a manuscript entitled Turning Back the Clock: Technological Obsolescence and Historical Time in Contemporary Culture and, as co-editor with Amy J. Elias, a collection entitled Contemporalities: Keywords for the Present. Working at the intersection of post-1945 cultural studies, critical theory, and media studies in these projects, Burges is rethinking ideas about time and history that have unduly dominated thought for the past thirty years; he is interested in how that which we have rejected as obsolete, outdated, and old-fashioned figures centrally in the works of post-1980 novelists and filmmakers as a repository for alternative modernities and alternative temporalities, such that the past supersedes the future as the temporal horizon of art and politics alike in their work. Burges is also working on a second book entitled Literature after TV, which explores the intersection of the literary and the televisual both before and after 1945.

Fellowships, Honors & Awards

  • 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

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • Introduction to Media Studies (spring 2013)
  • Literature after TV (fall 2012)
  • Poetics of Television (fall 2012)
  • Animation and the Arts (spring 2012)
  • The Poetics of Television (fall 2011)
  • Back to the Future: Alternative Modernities from the Victorian Novel to the Culture of Steampunk (fall 2011)
  • Critical Theory/Media Theory (spring 2013)

Selected Publications

  • "Miéville's Sentences," in Post45 (, forthcoming 2012
  • "Adorno’s Mimeograph: The Uses of Obsolescence in Minima Moralia," in New German Critique 118 (2013)
  • "At a Loss: The Making and Unmaking of the World, on TV," in electronic book review(, forthcoming 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)