Assistant Professor, American Literary Studies
20th-Century American Literature, Film Studies, Critical Theory, Visual Culture, Class and Race Studies
Jesús Costantino received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. His approach to twentieth-century American literature and visual media combines aesthetic philosophy, theories of violence, and critical studies of class and race. He is currently completing his first book, Fighting Form: Race, Abstraction, and American Visual Politics, 1880-1950, in which he connects the seemingly disparate histories of modernist abstraction, new media technologies, and modern identity formations—race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality—by accounting for their shared preoccupation with the sport of boxing.
Inspired by the global impact of depictions of Detroit and New Orleans, he has also begun work on a new project titled Under the Sign of Disaster Triumphant that analyzes the social and economic histories buried in images of modern American ruin and claims that these images take part in ongoing global processes of violent dispossession. Supplementing these two book-length projects, he continues to explore the interplay between visual media and the literary arts in essays on Gordon Parks’s fashion photography, independent video game design, and photo-texts of the Depression era.