W. J. T. Mitchell

Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History
University of Chicago
E-mail: wjtm@uchicago.edu
Page: http://https://lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/wjtmitchell/

W.J.T. Mitchell is Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago. He is editor of the interdisciplinary journal,Critical Inquiry, a quarterly devoted to critical theory in the arts and human sciences. A scholar and theorist of media, visual art, and literature, Mitchell is associated with the emergent fields of visual culture and iconology (the study of images across the media). He is known especially for his work on the relations of visual and verbal representations in the context of social and political issues. Under his editorship, Critical Inquiry has published special issues on public art, psychoanalysis, pluralism, feminism, the sociology of literature, canons, race and identity, narrative, the politics of interpretation, postcolonial theory, and many other topics. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Morey Prize in art history given by the College Art Association of America. In 2003, he received the University of Chicago’s prestigious Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.


Recent publications:

Books Authored or Edited (published by University of Chicago Press unless otherwise noted)


What Do Pictures Want? Essays on the Lives and Loves of Images (2005); French translation by Maxime Boidy, Nicolas Cilins, and Stéphane Roth as Que veulent les images ? Une critique de la culture visuelle (Paris: Les Presses du Réel, 2014); abridged German translation by Achim Eschbach and Mark Halawa as Das Leben der Bilder (Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2008).


Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation with Homi Bhabha (2005); Turkish translation by Hayrullah Dogan as Edward Said ile Konusmaya Devam (Koc University Press, 2011).

The Late Derrida with Arnold Davidson (2007).


Bildtheorie, a collection of essays translated into German, with an afterword by Gustav Frank (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 2008).


Pictorial Turn: Saggi di Cultura Visuale, ed. Michele Cometa, a collection of essays translated into Italian (Palermo: Edizioni Duepunti, 2009).


Holy Landscape, ed. Larry Abramson, a collection of essays translated into Hebrew by Rona Cohen (Tel Aviv: Resling Publishing, 2009).


Critical Terms in Media Studies, ed. with Mark Hansen (2010).


The Pictorial Turn, ed. Neal Curtis, a collection of essays on my work by Gottfried Boehm, Jacques Rancière, Susan Buck-Morss, Martin Jay, Norman MacLeod, Lydia Liu, Robert Morris, Michael Taussig, Larry Abramson, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Stephen Daniels, including an interview with Marq Smith and a gallery of original drawings by Antony Gormley (Routledge, 2010).


A Kepek Politikaha: W. J. T. Mitchell valogatott irasai, ed. Szonyi Gyorgy Endre and Szauter Dora, a reader of collected essays translated into Hungarian (Szeged: Jate Press, 2008).


Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present (2011); Italian translation by Francesco Gori as Cloning terror. La guerra delle immagini. Dall’11 settembre ad oggi (Barcelona: Casa Usher, 2011); French translation by Maxime Boidy and Stephane Roth as CLONING TERROR ou la guerre des images du 11 septembre au présent (Les Prairies Ordinaires, 2011); German translation by Michael Bischoff as Das Klonen und der Terror (Suhrkamp, 2011); Spanish translation under contract.


Seeing Through Race (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012).


Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience, with Michael Taussig and Bernard Harcourt (2013).


Image Science: Iconology, Media Aesthetics, and Visual Culture (2015).


Books in Progress and Forthcoming:

Medium Theory


Seeing Madness: Insanity, Media, and Visual Culture


Living Pictures, ed. Kresimir Purgar. A collection of commissioned essays on key concepts in my writing, to be published by Routledge in the spring of 2016.



“Utopian Gestures: The Poetics of Sign Language,” preface to Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature, ed. H. Dirksen Bauman, Jennifer L. Nelson, and Heidi M. Rose (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), xv-xxiii.


“The Commitment to Form: Still Crazy After All These Years,” PMLA 118:2 (March 2003), 321-325.


“Country Matters,” commissioned article on the English countryside for the Romantic period volume in the new Cambridge History of English Literature, ed. James K. Chandler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 246-270.


“Bilder besser als ihr Rug” (an interview conducted by Julia Voss), Frankfurter Allgemeine, June 16, 2002, p. 74.


“The Obscure Object of Visual Culture,” Visual Culture 2:2 (Summer 2003), 249-252.

“Medium Theory,” preface to Critical Inquiry symposium, “The Future of Criticism and Theory,” Critical Inquiry 30:2 (Winter 2004), 324-35.


“Remembering Edward Said,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (Oct. 10, 2003), Section B, 10-11.


“Echoes of a Christian Symbol” (on the Abu Ghraib torture photographs), Chicago Tribune (Sunday, June 27, 2004), Section 2, p. 1, 3.


“Migrating Images: Totemism, Fetishism, Idolatry,” in Migrating Images, ed. Petra Stegmann and Peter Seel (Berlin: House of World Cultures, 2004), 14-24.


“Secular Divination: Edward Said’s Humanism,” in special issue of Critical Inquiry31:2 (Winter 2005), 462-471; reprinted in Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation, ed. W. J. T. Mitchell and Homi Bhabha (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), and in Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation, ed. Adel Iskandar and Hakem Rustom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010).


“The Unimaginable and the Unspeakable: Word and Image in a Time of Terror,” ELH72:2 (Summer 2005) 291-308; reprinted in Dynamics and Performativity of Imagination: The Image between the Visible and the Invisible, ed. Bernd Huppauf and Christoph Wulf (New York: Routledge, 2008); reprinted in September 11, the catalogue for Peter Eleey’s MOMA/P.S.1 show on 9-11 (2011).


“Landscape and Invisibility: Gilo’s Wall and Christo’s Gates,” in Sites Unseen: Landscape and Vision, ed. Dianne Harris and D. Fairchild Ruggles (Pittsburgh: University of Pitttsburgh Press, 2007), 33-44.


“Gilo’s Wall and Christo’s Gates,” Critical Inquiry 32:4 (Summer 2006), 587-600.


“Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9-11 to Abu Ghraib,” in The Life and Death of Images: Ethics and Aesthetics, ed. Diarmud Costello and Dominic Willsdon (London: Tate Gallery Publications, 2008), 180-207.


“Ethics, Aesthetics, and Trauma Photographs: A Response to Griselda Pollock,” inThe Life and Death of Images: Ethics and Aesthetics, ed. Diarmud Costello and Dominic Willsdon (London: Tate Gallery Publications, 2008), 237-240.


“Intellectuals and the Perspective of Criticism” (interview with Lydia H. Liu), Wen Yi Yan Jiu (Literature and Art Studies) 10 (2005), 87-99.


“Realism and the Digital Image,” in Critical Realism and Photography, ed. Jan Baetens and Hilde van Gelder (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2010); Italian translation by Federica Mazzara as “Realismo e imagine digitale” in Cultura Visuale: Paradigmi a Confronto, ed. Roberta Coglitore (Palermo: Duepunti Edizione, 2008), 81-99; reprinted in Travels in Intermedia: ReBlurring the Boundaries, ed. Bernd Herzogenrath (Aachen: Mellen Press, 2011; and Hanover: Dartmouth College Press, 2012).


“Sacred Gestures: Images from Our Holy War,” in AfterImage 34:3 (November 2006), 18-23.


“Dead Again,” introduction to “The Late Derrida,” special issue of Critical Inquiry 33:2 (Winter 2007), 219-228; reprinted in book version of The Late Derrida, ed. with Arnold Davidson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007).


“Picturing Terror: Derrida’s Autoimmunity,” first published in Cardozo Law Review 27 (Winter 2005), 913-925; revised version, Critical Inquiry 33:2 (Winter 2007), 277-290.


“There Are No Visual Media,” The Journal of Visual Culture 4(2) (2005), 257-266; reprinted in Media Art Histories, ed. Oliver Grau (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2007), 395-406 and in Digital Qualitative Research Methods, ed. Bella Dicks (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2012).


“Image Science,” in Scientific Images and Popular Images of Science, ed. Bernd Huppauf and Peter Weingart (New York: Routledge, 2007).


“Media’s Critical Space,” conversation amongst Mark Hansen, W. J. T. Mitchell, and Bernard Stiegler, with Kristine Nielsen, Jason Paul, and Lisa Zaher of the Chicago Art Journal in a special Issue on “Immediacy” (2006), 83-99.


“World Pictures: Globalization and Visual Culture,” Neohelicon 34:2 (2007): 49-59; reprinted in Globalization and Contemporary Art, ed. Jonathan Harris (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 253-264.


“The Spectacle Today: A Response to Retort,” Public Culture 20:3 (2008), 573-581.

“Visual Literacy or Literary Visualcy,” and “Four Fundamental Concepts of Image Science,” in Visual Literacy, ed. James Elkins (New York: Routledge, 2008), 11-30.


“Back to the Drawing Board: Architecture, Sculpture, and the Digital Image,”

In Architecture and the Digital Image: Proceedings of the 2007 International Bauhaus Colloquium, ed. Jorg Gleiter (2008), 5-12.


“The Fog of Abu Ghraib: Errol Morris and the ‘bad apples,” Harper’s Magazine (May, 2008), 81-86.


“Havana Diary: Cuba’s Blue Period,” Critical Inquiry 35:2 (Spring 2008), 601-611.


“An American Drifter in Israel-Palestine,” in Contested Landscape, ed. Larry Abramson, (Tel Aviv: Resling Publishing, forthcoming).


“The Abu Ghraib Archive,” in What Is Research in the Visual Arts?: Obsession, Archive, Encounter, ed. Michael Ann Holly and Marquard Smith (Williamstown: Clark Studies in the Visual Arts, 2007); reprinted, with an introduction by Scott Loren, in Melodrama After the Tears: New Perspectives on the Politics of Victimhood, ed. Scott Loren and Jorg Metelmann (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2015).


“Migration, Law, and the Image: Beyond the Veil of Ignorance,” in Images of Illegalized Immigration, ed. Christine Bischoff, Francesca Falk, and Sylvia Kafehsy (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2010), 13-30; in The Migrant’s Time, ed. Saloni Mathur (Williamstown: Clark Institute Publications, 2011).

“The Future of the Image: Rancière’s Road Not Taken,” in The Pictorial Turn, special issue of Culture, Theory, and Critique, ed. Neal Curtis (Fall 2009); reprinted in The Pictorial Turn, ed. Neal Curtis (New York, Routledge, 2010).


“Que veulent les images?” (dialogue/interview with Jacques Rancière by Patrice Blouin, Maxime Boidy, et Stephane Roth), ArtPress 362 (December 2009), 33-41.


“Bilder sind ‘Lebenszeichen,’” (interview with Oliver Zybok), Kunstforum International Bd 205 (November-Dezember 2010),140-151.


“Binational Allegory: Israel-Palestine and the Art of Larry Abramson,” in Larry Abramson: Paintings 1975-2010, catalogue of an exhibition curated by Ellen Ginton (Tel Aviv, 2010); reprinted in Studies in Romanticism 49:4 (Winter 2010), 659-669.


“Idolatry: Nietzsche, Blake, Poussin,” in Idol Anxiety, ed. Joshua Ellenbogen and Aaron Tugendhaft (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2011), 56-73; reprinted inIconoclasm and Text Destruction in the Ancient Near East and Beyond, ed. Natalie Naomi May (Oriental Institute Seminars, University of Chicago, Number 8, 2012), 501-515;


in Things: Religion and Materiality (NY: Fordham University Press); Italian translation by Dario Cecchi in Alle fine delle cose, ed. Daniele Guastini, Dario Cecchi, and Alessandra Campa (Firenze, Italia: VoLo, 2011), 132-144; German translation in Trajekte: Zeitschrift des Zentrums fur Literatur- und Kultur forschung Berlin (ZfL) (May 2011); slightly revised version published in W. J. T. Mitchell,Seeing Through Race (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012).


“Headless, Heedless: Experiencing Magdalena Abankanowicz,” in Mary Jane Jacob and Jacqueline Bass, Learning Mind: Experience into Art (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2010).


“Report from Morocco,” Critical Inquiry 38:4 (Summer 2012), 892-901.


“Image X Text,” Introduction to The Future of Text and Image: Collected Essays on Literary and Visual Conjunctures, ed. Ofra Amihay and Lauren Walsh (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012).


“Skipping Gates and Breaching Walls,”  Afterword to the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Signifying Monkey, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).


“Palestinian-Israeli Totemism: The Case of Asim Abu Shaqra,” in  Asim Abu Shaqra, ed. Nira Itzhaki (Edizione Charta, Milan; Chelouche Gallery, Tel Aviv: 2013), 39-44.


“El Deseo de las Imagenes” (interview with Nashemi Jimenez del Val), Codigo: Arte, Arquitectura, Diseno, Moda, Estilo. 86 (Abril-Mayo 2015), 92-96.


“Nous sommes des creatures productrices d’images” (interview with Omar Berrada), Diptyk: L’art vu du Maroc, 27 (Fevrier-Mars 2015), 76-78.

“Robert Morris and the Spaces of Writing,” in Investigations: The Expanded Field of Writing in the Works of Robert Morris ed. Katia Schneller and Noura Wedell (Lyon: ENS Editions, 2015).


“Art and Public Life: A Conversation between Theaster Gates and W. J. T. Mitchell,” Print version in ASAP (forthcoming 2016); to be published on the Critical Inquirywebsite (forthcoming 2016).


“Screening Nature (and the Nature of the Screen),” New Review of Film and Television Studies 13:3 (July 2015), 231-248.