Jason Mittell

Professor and Chair of Film and Media Culture

Faculty Director of Digital Liberal Arts Initiative

 work(802) 443-3435
 On leave 2018-19
 on leave academic year

Complex TVJason Mittell is Professor of Film & Media Culture and American Studies at Middlebury College. He arrived at Middlebury in 2002 after two years teaching at Georgia State University. He received a B.A. from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin - Madison.

He is the author of Genre and Television: From Cop Shows to Cartoons in American Culture, (Routledge, 2004), Television and American Culture (Oxford University Press, 2010), Complex Television: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (NYU Press, 2015), and Narrative Theory and ADAPTATION. (Bloomsbury, 2017), co-author with Christian Keathley of The Videographic Essay (caboose books, 2016), and the co-editor of How to Watch Television (NYU Press, 2013). He maintains the blog Just TV.

His research interests include television history and criticism, media and cultural history, narrative theory, genre theory, videographic criticis, animation and children’s media, videogames, digital humanities, and new media studies & technological convergence. He was a founding member of the Public Policy Committee for the Society for Cinema & Media Studies, and is actively involved in advocating for fair use rights in education and media. He is Project Manager for [in]Transition, a journal of videographic criticism, and co-lead of the NEH-sponsored digital humanities workshop "Scholarship in Sound & Image" in 2015, 2017, and 2018, focused on producing video-based scholarly criticism. See his CV for more details, or his scholarly writings for downloadable content.

Television & American Culture

Since Fall 2014, Professor Mittell has been the Faculty Director of Middlebury's Digital Liberal Arts Initiative, a program funded by the Mellon Foundation to expand the use of digital tools and methods across the curriculum and help faculty innovate in their research and creative work.

In the 2011-12 academic year, he was a visiting fellow at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg at the University of Göttingen, Germany, collaborating with colleagues on the Popular Seriality research initiative.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

AMST 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Select project advisor prior to registration.

Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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AMST 0710 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
For students who have completed AMST 0705, and qualify to write two-credit interdisciplinary honors thesis. on some aspect of American culture. The thesis may be completed on a fall/winter schedule or a fall/spring schedule. (Select a thesis advisor prior to registration)

Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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FMMC 0104 / AMST 0104 - Television & American Culture      

Television and American Culture
This course explores American life in the last six decades through an analysis of our central medium: television. Spanning a history of television from its origins in radio to its future in digital convergence, we will consider television's role in both reflecting and constituting American society through a variety of approaches. Our topical exploration will consider the economics of the television industry, television's role within American democracy, the formal attributes of a variety of television genres, television as a site of gender and racial identity formation, television's role in everyday life, and the medium's technological and social impacts. 2 hrs. lect./3 hrs. screen AMR NOR SOC

Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

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FMMC 0257 - Storytelling in Film & Media      

Storytelling in Film & Media
All media feature their own particular techniques of storytelling. We will explore how narrative forms work differently between film, television, and digital media, such as videogames. Drawing on theories of narrative developed to understand the structures, techniques, creative practices, and cultural impacts of narrative for literature and film, we will consider how different media offer possibilities to creators and viewers to tap into the central human practice of storytelling. Students will read theoretical materials and view examples of film, serial television, and games, culminating in a final research project, to better our understanding of narrative as a cultural practice. (FMMC 0101 or FMMC 0104) 3 hrs. sem./3 hrs. screen. ART

Fall 2015

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FMMC 0285 - Producing Environmental Media      

Producing Environmental Media
Topic is determined by the instructor - refer to section for the course description. ART

Spring 2015

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FMMC 0334 - Videographic Film Studies      

Videographic Film and Media Studies
Digital video technologies—such as DVDs, digital editing software, and online streaming—now enable film and media scholars to “write” with the same materials that constitute their object of study: moving images and sounds. But such a change means rethinking the rhetorical modes traditionally used in scholarly writing, and incorporating more aesthetic and poetic elements alongside explanation and analysis. In this hands-on course, we will both study and produce new videographic forms of criticism often known as “video essays,” exploring how such work can both produce knowledge and create an aesthetic impact. (FMMC 0101 or FMMC 0105 or by approval) 3 hrs. sem

Fall 2017

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FMMC 0355 / AMST 0355 - Theories of Popular Culture      

Theories of Popular Culture
This course introduces a range of theoretical approaches to study popular culture, exploring the intersection between everyday life, mass media, and broader political and historical contexts within the United States. We will consider key theoretical readings and approaches to studying culture, including ideology and hegemony theory, political economy, audience studies, subcultural analysis, the politics of taste, and cultural representations of identity. Using these theoretical tools, we will examine a range of popular media and sites of cultural expression, from television to toys, technology to music, to understand popular culture as a site of ongoing political and social struggle. (Formerly AMST/FMMC 0275) (FMMC 0102 or FMMC 0104 or FMMC 0236 or AMST 0211) 3 hrs. lect./disc./3 hrs. screen. SOC

Spring 2015, Fall 2016

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FMMC 0507 - Independent Project      

Advanced Independent work in Film and Media Culture
Guidelines for submitting proposals are available on the Film & Media Culture web site along with a list of prerequisites.

Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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FMMC 0707 - Senior Independent Work      

Senior Honors Project in Film and Media Culture
During the first term of their senior year, students with a GPA of A- in film and media culture courses may apply to undertake a senior project (FMMC 0707) for honors, with the project to be completed the last term of the senior year.

Winter 2015, Winter 2016, Winter 2017, Winter 2018, Winter 2019

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FMMC 1020 - Collaborative Video Projects      

Collaborative Video Projects
In this course groups of students will organize, devise, and produce original video projects concluding with a public screening. Students must request approval from the instructor prior to winter term registration via the application on the FMMC website. Students must do significant preproduction before January. Projects will be self-guided with oversight from the faculty, and subject to peer review. (Pass/Fail; Approval required) non-standard grade WTR

Winter 2015, Winter 2017

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Selected Recent Publications

Narrative Theory and ADAPTATION. (Bloomsbury, 2017).

The Videographic Essay: Criticism in Sound and Image, co-authored with Christian Keathley (caboose books, 2016).

Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (New York University Press, 2015).

How to Watch Television, co-edited with Ethan Thompson (New York University Press, 2013). Co-authored introduction; individual contribution of “Phineas & Ferb: Children’s Television.”

Television and American Culture (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Adaptation.’s Anomalies,” [in]Transition 3.1 (March 2016) – videographic essay.

Department of Film and Media Culture

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
Fax: 802.443.2805