Levitt, Deborah

Levitt

Deborah Levitt

PhD, Film, Literature, and Culture, University of Southern California;
BA, English and Film, University of Colorado

Assistant Professor, Culture and Media

Profile:
The central focus of my research and teaching is on how media-old and new-transform both everyday experience and expanded global, political spheres. As part of my work as a media historian and theorist, I am interested in film, video, digital media, animation, literature, cultural theory, and science and technology studies. My research is motivated by a search for intersections between only apparently divergent domains. Similarly, in my courses, I encourage students to connect their daily engagements with media of all kinds to the archaeologies and larger social structures and forces that inform them.

My current research considers the history and cultural ramifications of exchanges between media texts, tropes, and technologies and rhetorics of “life”: My first book, forthcoming from Zero Books, is called The Animatic Apparatus: On Biocybernetic Reproduction and The Futures of the Image. In this work I use anime to consider how the ascendance of animation and simulation shift the concept of “life” in contemporary culture. I’m also completing a second book project, ZoeTropes, which takes a longer view of mediatic entanglements with rhetorics and logics of the living. From eighteenth-century tableaux vivants to proto-cinematic optical toys to ALife programs in digital cinema, I investigate how media technologies and texts influence and even create conceptions of life, namely, the ways in which we distinguish animate beings from inanimate ones, organic from inorganic, the lively from the inert. I consider, in turn, how these new forms affect contemporary political debates on the proper beginnings, endings, and usages of biopolitical “life.” I have a continuing interest in theories of moving images—past, present, and future—as well as in intersections between cinema and other media, particularly literature. A future project will investigate the affective dimensions of digital cinema.
Courses Taught:
Introduction to Media Studies
Biopolitics and Media
Animation: History and Theory
Digital Cinema
Screening Affect
Recent Publications:
  • The Animatic Apparatus: On Biocybernetic Reproduction and The Futures of the Image,
    forthcoming from Zero Books, 2012.  
  • Acting and Performance in Moving Image Culture: Bodies, Screens, and Renderings, edited with
    Dieter Mersch and Jeorg Sternagel, forthcoming from Transcript Verlag, Berlin, 2012.  
  •  “The Subject of the Phantasm,” “Feminist Media Theory and Iterations of Social Difference,” ed.
    Jonathan Beller, Special Issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online barnard.edu/sfonline/polyphonic/index.htm, forthcoming Fall 2012.  
  • “Animation and the Medium of Life: Mediology, An-Ontology, Ethics,” Special Issue, “Animating
    Biophilosophy,” ed. Phillip Thurtle, Inflexions: A Journal of Research-Creation, forthcoming 2012.
  • “Living Pictures: Gesture Beyond Cinema,” in Acting and Performance in Moving Image Culture:
    Bodies, Screens, and Renderings
    , ed. Deborah Levitt, Dieter Mersch, and Jeorg Sternagel, Transcript Verlag, Berlin, forthcoming 2012.  
  • “Film Theory,” co-authored with Lisabeth During, The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural
    Theory 2010
    , ed. Susan Currell and Andrea Bontea, Oxford University Press, 2011.  
  • “Gesture” and “Spectacle,” The Agamben Dictionary, ed. Alex Murray and Jessica Whyte,
    Edinburgh University Press, 2011.  
  • “Film Theory,” co-authored with Lisabeth During, The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural
    Theory 2009
    , ed. Susan Currell and Andrea Bontea, Oxford University Press, 2010.  
  • “Media and Biopolitics: Notes on ‘Notes on Gesture’” in The Work of Giorgio Agamben: Law,
    Literature, Life
    , ed. Justin Clemens, Nick Heron and Alex Murray, University of Edinburgh Press, 2008, paper 2010.
Office Location:

Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts

65 West 11th Street, Rm. 070

New York, NY 10011

Email:
LevittD@newschool.edu

Research Interests:
Media history and theory; Cinema; Animation; Literature; Intermediality; Poststructuralist theory; Science and technology studies
Professional Affiliations:
Society for Cinema and Media Studies
Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts
Recent Presentations/Exhibits:
  • August 2011, "Gestural Disorder and the Optical Girl Machine," Visible Evidence 18, NYC
  • March 2011, “Digital Disorientations: Affect and the (Un)Real in Waking Life," Society for Cinema
    and Media Studies, New Orleans.
  • October 2010, “Animation and the Medium of Life: Mediology, An-Ontology, Ethics,” Society for
    Literature, Science, and the Arts, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • September 2010, “Living Pictures: Tableaux Vivants in Diderot, Artaud, and Godard,”
    Acting in Film: Concepts, Theories, Philosophies, Potsdam, Germany.
  • April 2010, “Agamben’s Images: The Species of Cinema,” Conference of the American
    Comparative Literature Association, New Orleans.
  • March 2010, “Affect and Simulation: Animation and the Doll Theme,” Society for Cinema and
    Media Studies, Los Angeles.
  • July 2008, “Doll Parts (or, Mamoru Oshii’s Kleist Crisis),” Conference: “Waking Life: Cinematic
    Mediations Between Technics and Life,” Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film
    und Fernsehen, Berlin.


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