DePaul University College of Communication > Faculty & Staff > Faculty > Jason Sperb

Jason Sperb

​​Jason Sperb received his PhD in Communication and Culture from Indiana University, where he specialized in film and media history. Before joining DePaul, he taught for several years in the Department of Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern University.

His work often explores the tension between historical consciousness and discourses of nostalgia in post-WWII American media culture, with particular attention to how they shape the depiction and reception of racial imagery, labor issues and leisure. His teaching interests include: film history & aesthetics; authorship; documentary; Disney; and media genre analysis.

Jason is the author of Flickers of Film: Nostalgia in the Time of Digital Cinema (Rutgers University Press, 2015); Disney’s Most Notorious Film: Race, Convergence and the Hidden Histories of Song of the South (University of Texas Press, 2012); and Blossoms and Blood: Postmodern Media Culture and the Films of Paul Thomas Anderson (University of Texas Press, 2013). His newest book project explores representations of Hawai’i in mainland American media during the mid-20th Century through the lenses of tourism, race, industrial reflexivity, and other contemporary manifestations of neo-liberal capitalism.

His work has also appeared in Cinema Journal, Journal of Film and Video, Journal of American Culture, Jump Cut, Journal of Popular Film and Television, Culture, Theory & Critique, Film Criticism, Storytelling, and Quarterly Review of Film and Video.

He was recipient of an Honorable Mention for the prestigious Katherine Singer Kovacs Award for Best Essay in 2012 from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS).

Selected Publications

Books
  • Flickers of Film: Nostalgia in the Time of Digital Cinema (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2015)
  • Blossoms & Blood: Postmodern Media Culture and the Films of Paul Thomas Anderson (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2013)
  • Disney’s Most Notorious Film: Race, Convergence and the Hidden Histories of Song of the South (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2012)
Articles
  • “How to (Not) Teach Disney” in Journal of Film and Video (2017), forthcoming.
  • “From Nihilism to Nostalgia: Blackfish (2013) and the Contradictions of the Nature Documentary” in The Journal of Popular Film and Television 44 (2016), forthcoming.
  • “The End of Detropia: Fordist Nostalgia and the Ambivalence of Poetic Ruins in Visions of Detroit” in Journal of American Culture 39.2 (June 2016): 212-227.
  • “Specters of Film / New Nostalgia Movies and Hollywood’s Digital Transition” in Jump Cut 56 (Winter 2014-2015): http://www.ejumpcut.org/currentissue/SperbDigital-nostalgia/index.html.
  • “I’ll (Always) Be Back / Virtual Performance and Post-Human Labor in the Age of Digital Cinema” in Culture, Theory & Critique 54.3 (Oct. 2012): 383-397.
  • “Reassuring Convergence: Online Fandom, Race, and Disney’s Notorious Song of the South” in Cinema Journal 49.4 (Summer 2010): 25-45.
  • “Islands of Detroit / Affect, Nostalgia and Whiteness” in Culture, Theory & Critique 49.2 (October 2008): 183-201.
  • “Sensing an Intellectual Nemesis” in Film Criticism 32.1 (Fall 2007): 49-71.
  • “Removing the Experience: Simulacrum as an Autobiographical Act in American Splendor” in Biography 29.1 (Winter 2006): 123-139.
  • “The Magic of Words: Voice-overs and Storytelling in Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (1964)” in Storytelling 5.4 (Summer 2006): 261-271.
  • “The Country of the Mind in Kubrick’s Fear and Desire (1953)” in Film Criticism 29.1 (Fall 2004): 23-37.
  • “Ghost without a Machine: Enid’s Anxiety of Depth(lessness) in Zwigoff’s Ghost World” in Quarterly Review of Film and Video 21.3 (Summer 2004): 209-217.