Below, you can find links to my published works. If you are unable to access academic research articles because of paywalling or other institutional barriers, please feel free to let me know if I can provide you with a .pdf of any of my articles.
My research takes a cultural studies approach to a wide array of technology and popular culture artifacts.
Orson Welles in Focus: Texts and Contexts (co-edited with Sidney Gottlieb) (Indiana University Press, 2018).
Blurb: Through his radio and film works, such as The War of the Worlds and Citizen Kane, Orson Welles became a household name in the United States. Yet Welles’s multifaceted career went beyond these classic titles and included lesser-known but nonetheless important contributions to television, theater, newspaper columns, and political activism. Orson Welles in Focus: Texts and Contexts examines neglected areas of Welles’s work, shedding light on aspects of his art that have been eclipsed by a narrow focus on his films. By positioning Welles’s work during a critical period of his activity (the mid-1930s through the 1950s) in its larger cultural, political, aesthetic, and industrial contexts, the contributors to this volume examine how he participated in and helped to shape modern media. This exploration of Welles in his totality illuminates and expands our perception of his contributions that continue to resonate today.
Superhero Synergies: Comic Book Characters Go Digital (co-edited with Matthias Stork) (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).
Blurb: In the age of digital media, superheroes are no longer confined to comic books and graphic novels. Their stories are now featured in films, video games, digital comics, television programs, and more. In a single year alone, films featuring Batman, Spider-Man, and the Avengers have appeared on the big screen. Popular media no longer exists in isolation, but converges into complex multidimensional entities. As a result, traditional ideas about the relationship between varying media have come under striking revision. Although this convergence is apparent in many genres, perhaps nowhere is it more persistent, more creative, or more varied than in the superhero genre.
Superhero Synergies: Comic Book Characters Go Digital explores this developing relationship between superheroes and various forms of media, examining how the superhero genre, which was once limited primarily to a single medium, has been developed into so many more. Essays in this volume engage with several of the most iconic heroes—including Batman, Hulk, and Iron Man—through a variety of academic disciplines such as industry studies, gender studies, and aesthetic analysis to develop an expansive view of the genre’s potency. The contributors to this volume engage cinema, comics, video games, and even live stage shows to instill readers with new ways of looking at, thinking about, and experiencing some of contemporary media’s most popular texts.
This unique approach to the examination of digital media and superhero studies provides new and valuable readings of well-known texts and practices. Intended for both academics and fans of the superhero genre, this anthology introduces the innovative and growing synergy between traditional comic books and digital media.
Journal Special Issues
Blake Hallinan and James N. Gilmore, eds. Cultural Studies vol. 35, nos. 4-5 (2021). Special double issue on infrastructural politics.
Access the table of contents here
James N. Gilmore, Bailey Troutman, Madeline DePuy, Katherine Kenney, Jessica Engel, Katherine Freed, Sidney Campbell, and Savannah Garrigan, “Stuck in a cul de sac of care: Therapy Assistance Online and the platformization of mental health services for college students,” Television & New Media (2022), https://doi.org/10.1177/15274764221092159
Abstract: Many reports indicate higher education counseling centers are finding it difficult to keep pace with the growing rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and sleeping difficulties in undergraduate populations. Some universities are turning to telepsychology, or means of providing mental health care through videoconferencing, software, and other digital tools. This article analyzes one such platform, therapy assistance online (TAO), through a critical walkthrough of the platform’s self-help modules to consider how they communicate and construct care as individual labor which generates data for the platform. We argue that by removing traces of the therapist’s body and, in turn, dialogic communication, the platform produces modes of neoliberal self-care operationalized through data extraction, where the individual user works through modules while providing personal information to the platform. While TAO is offered as a solution to overcrowded and understaffed care facilities, it demonstrates some limitations of relying on third-party platforms to care for students.
James N. Gilmore and McKinley DuRant, “Emergency infrastructure and location extraction: Problematizing computer assisted dispatch systems as public good,” Surveillance and Society (2021). https://doi.org/10.24908/ss.v19i2.14116
Abstract: This article analyzes the increasing articulation between third-party software and emergency infrastructures through a focus on the computer-assisted dispatch system RapidDeploy, which purports to help 9-1-1 responders more accurately and efficiently respond to emergency situations. We build from research that focuses on overlaps between surveillance and emergency response to demonstrate how large-scale data mining practices—in particular, location extraction—are repurposed as beneficial, if not lifesaving, measures. In focusing on the capacity to extract and analyze location in the name of public good, we discursively analyze how RapidDeploy’s official company blog constructs the benevolence of data collection. We then demonstrate how these viewpoints are reproduced in the news reports in one city—Charleston, South Carolina—where RapidDeploy has formally partnered with emergency response services. This analysis is used to demonstrate how words like “data” and “cloud” continue to be used as vague buzzwords for companies situated at the intersections of surveillance and civic function, and to argue for greater attention to how the trend towards platformization continues to blur the relationships between surveillance and emergency response systems. This case study examines the public face of this company and, as such, analyzes the language used to gain public assent for the software and its function.
James N. Gilmore, “Predicting COVID-19: Wearable technology and the politics of solutionism,” Cultural Studies (2021). https://doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2021.1898021
Abstract: The COVID-19 crisis has helped facilitate and amplify a set of articulations between technology, public health, and culture. Among these connections is the idea that wearable technologies – with their attendant claims to know more and know better about the relationship between human bodies and daily life – are able to predict the onset of COVID-19 symptoms and, in doing so, to help mitigate its spread. This article considers this imaginary through a case study of the Oura ‘smart ring’ and Oura’s partnership with medical researchers and the National Basketball Association. Through a close, critical reading of popular press reports, I examine how Oura is imagined as a productive articulation between technology and public health capable of compensating for the failure of the United States government to implement adequate COVID-19 testing. This analysis demonstrates one way cultural studies scholars might interrogate and map the politics of this unfolding conjuncture – that is, to understand how a series of public failings is offloaded to private companies in an effort to develop quick solutions that only further entrench existing crises.
Blake Hallinan and James N. Gilmore, “Infrastructural politics amidst the coils of control,” Cultural Studies (2021). https://doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2021.1895259
Abstract: From contaminated water pipes to social media manipulation to sinking cities, infrastructures increasingly appear at the heart of cultural, political, and environmental crises. As a technique of governance, infrastructures delegate control to systems and disperse power into the environment. This special issue argues that engaging with infrastructural politics requires new tactics and modes of analysis which take seriously the politics of articulation, everyday life, and meaning. The introductory essay situates the project of infrastructural politics within the critical and cross-disciplinary literature on infrastructure and the political tradition of Cultural Studies. We identify distinctive features of infrastructural politics, organized around the concepts of scale, formalization, and imaginary, that set forth the common concerns of the issue and raise questions for future research. Following this discussion, we introduce the essays of the issue, spanning topics that include emergency dispatch, automated music mastering, open pit coal mines, homeless encampments, police body cameras, and sand. Throughout, the issue is animated by a commitment shared among founding figures of Cultural Studies, activists, and abolitionists: the capacity to critically engage infrastructure in order to improve the lived conditions of culture.
James N. Gilmore, “Alienating and reorganizing cultural goods: Using Lefebvre’s controlled consumption model to theorize media industry change,” International Journal of Communication (2020). https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/14554
Abstract: The primary objective of this article is to develop social theorist Henri Lefebvre’s notion of a bureaucratic society of controlled consumption as a useful theoretical model for media studies researchers. Developing a model that draws on four processes of “controlled consumption”—instantiating, programming, alienating, and reorganizing—this article first explains how this theory and these components can provide useful analytic pathways for media research, and, in particular, the ongoing processes of moving media consumption onto streaming platforms. The second half of the article demonstrates one way this model might be used through a critical discourse analysis of how industry trade press framed the 2014 release of The Interview as an example of how members of the film industry responded to a crisis situation by shifting to online rentals under the goal of reorganizing distribution through controlled consumption processes. The article concludes by suggesting this theoretical model may have a number of further uses and developments for studying larger rearticulations and contextual transformations across various media industries.
James N. Gilmore, “To affinity and beyond: Clicking as communicative gesture on the experimentation platform,” Communication, Culture, and Critique (2020) https://doi.org/10.1093/ccc/tcaa005
Abstract: This article analyzes how users’ engagements with digital platforms through the act of clicking are coded as meaningful for the production of affinity, a way of assessing identity amongst users. Drawing on an understanding of identity as related to the Latin idem—or same—this article explores how streaming media company Netflix uses click-based A/B testing to create “taste doppelgängers” that live in “taste communities” and help structure the recommendations, home pages, and image thumbnails that users experience. Clicks are figured as communicative gestures that platform engineers decode and analyze as part of ongoing experiments for refining algorithms and interface design. Drawing additionally on an analysis of Netflix’s recent move into interactive television—in particular, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch—this article ultimately argues for attention to how platforms like Netflix treat users as test subjects for the purposes of constructing idem-based affinities.
James N. Gilmore and Bailey Troutman, “Articulating infrastructure to water: Agri-culture and Google’s South Carolina data center,” International Journal of Cultural Studies (2020), https://doi.org/10.1177/1367877920913044
Abstract: This article draws from a critical discourse analysis of Google’s three-year process to gain permission to extract greater amounts of water from an aquifer in South Carolina located near one of its data centers. Through an account of this local conflict by analyzing local news coverage, we participate in ongoing academic research regarding how the conditions of media infrastructures – the otherwise banal and largely taken-for-granted facilities that help technologies like cloud storage and streaming to operate – need to be explored in terms of the particular, local conflicts that arise from major corporations like Google building infrastructure in places like Berkeley County, South Carolina. To advance this research, we offer what we call an agri-cultural approach, which emphasizes how digital culture is formed from conflicts over the relationships between natural resources like water and digital infrastructures like data centers.
James N. Gilmore, “Securing the kids: Geofencing and child wearables,” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (2019) https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856519882317
Abstract: This article provides a critical analysis of the child wearable Jiobit, a locational tracking device that is designed to allow parents to monitor how children move through space. Emphasizing the device’s incorporation of geofencing features, which allow users to program ‘fences’ on a paired smartphone application and receive notifications when a Jiobit wearer enters and leaves the ‘fenced’ areas, I demonstrate how the operations of this device are part of a cultural politics that values the tracking of children through a variety of technological and infrastructural processes. Through an artifactual analysis of the device itself and its smartphone application, as well as an examination of the company’s promotional language, I demonstrate how the logic of ‘securitization’ is used to encourage parents to delegate some of the work of monitoring children to this device. This artifactual analysis is paired with a discursive analysis of the company’s policy documents, which readily acknowledge Jiobit’s inability to serve as a fully reliable security system, while also detailing the ways in which the extraction of data is stored indefinitely and, in some cases, disclosed to third parties. Through this case study of Jiobit, I argue for critical studies of wearable technologies to attend to the ways in which their producers promise ‘security’ and the ways in which ‘security’ acts as an alibi for continuous data collection.
James N. Gilmore, “Design for everyone: Apple AirPods and the Mediation of Accessibility,” Critical Studies in Media Communication 36, no. 5 (2019): 482-494.
Abstract: This article provides a case study of the initial release of Apple’s wireless AirPods earbuds, and the subsequent implementation of a Live Listen feature (which in effect allowed the AirPods to perform basic functions of hearing aids), to explore the ways in which hearable technologies are attempting to integrate accessibility features for hard-of-hearing individuals alongside features of music playback and computer processing features that allow gesture-based interactions with these ear-worn devices. Particularly, this analysis argues that the process of rearticulating and expanding the possible uses and larger social understandings of ear-buds as being for both hearing and hard-of-hearing individuals has continued to marginalize those with hearing loss, building in software updates for them after initial releases and failing to account for their use of the devices in product launches and advertising materials. Positioning hearable technologies generally and AirPods specifically at the intersection of disabilities media studies and technology industry analysis, this research suggests that greater attention be paid to how companies like Apple use keynotes, developer conferences, and other trade rituals to suggest an ethos of accessibility around product launches despite rarely promoting or incorporating accessibility features at a product launch.
James N. Gilmore “’Put Your Hand Against the Screen’: U2 and Mediated Environments,” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 33, no. 1 (2019): 65-76. https://doi.org/10.1080/10304312.2018.1537392
Abstract: This paper analyzes how the rock band U2 uses screens as central components of the experiences of their concerts. Examining moments from throughout their career, and emphasizing their recent ‘Innocence and Experience’ and ‘Experience and Innocence’ tours, this article argues that U2’s constant employment of technology is less about spectacle, and more about the constitution of ‘mediated environments’ that reflect and embody how people live in and through all manner of media, including screens. Drawing on conceptions of U2 as a band interested in problem-solving and innovation, I position their on-going engagements with technology as a processual search for ways to live productively alongside technology. I use media studies frameworks to argue U2 expresses a politics of ambivalence through their use of screens, one that cannot resolve the tensions between the communicative power of technology and its potential to erode social relationships. However, this politics of ambivalence – as expressed through their tours – is productive, in that it produces for attendees ways of thinking and interacting with screen technologies.
James N. Gilmore, “From Ticks and Tocks to Budges and Nudges: The Smartwatch and the Haptics of Informatic Culture,” Television & New Media18, no. 3 (2017): 189-202. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1527476416658962
Abstract: This article uses the emergence of smartwatch models from 2012 to 2015—including the Pebble Watch, Android Wear, and Apple Watch—to explore the relationship between “instants” and “information.” Through a focus on the ways in which smartwatches notify, buzz, and otherwise touch the skin, this article develops the idea of the “haptic instant” as a key feature of this technology. The haptic instant, in calling attention to the delivery of news alerts, e-mails, personal communication, and other notifications to the wearer’s wrist, is part of the larger formation of bodies capable of living in a culture increasingly reliant on computer information systems for the management of daily life.
Dan Hassoun and James N. Gilmore, “Drowsing: Towards a Concept of Sleepy Screen Engagement,”Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 14, no. 2 (2017): 103-119. https://doi.org/10.1080/14791420.2016.1276611
Abstract: Sleep frequently intersects with media technologies in routinized yet unpredictable ways. This article proposes a concept of “drowsing” to describe how sleepiness occurs and persists across aspects of banal media life. Focusing on nighttime tablet use and blue light engagement, we argue that sleep requires a multidimensional and embodied account of how cultural practices, biological rhythms, and incidental occurrences interact. Ultimately, focusing on sleep suggests the contradictory roles that technologies play within the duration of everyday life—both providing a sense of calmness and deceleration, even as they accelerate life or contribute to long-term bodily harm.
James N. Gilmore, “Zero Dark Thirty and the Writing of Post-9/11 History,” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 34, no. 3 (2017): 275-294. https://doi.org/10.1080/10509208.2016.1194110
Abstract: This article provides a history of the debate surrounding Zero Dark Thirty‘s (2012) representation of torture in post-9/11 US foreign policy. It examines the different ways criticism of the film was tied to a larger political debate about the US’s employment of torture as a human rights violation, and it provides a textual criticism of the film to examine more acutely how tortured is depicted. The article takes a historiographic approach to Zero Dark Thirty, examining how it uses sources to build a particular understanding of torture.
James N. Gilmore, “Everywear: The Quantified Self and Wearable Fitness
Technologies,” New Media & Society 18, no. 11 (2016): 2524-2539. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1461444815588768
Abstract: What does it mean to wear a routine? This article explores a number of implications for the engagement of wearable fitness technology in everyday life. It straddles both a critical hermeneutic that explores the institutional prescription of wearable technology to combat the so-called “obesity epidemic” in American society, as well as a more phenomenological and experiential analysis that argues these data-driven technologies actually produce a qualitative re-engagement with social relationships. Expanding and enriching Adam Greenfield’s concept of “everyware” to describe ubiquitous technologies, this article develops the sub-variant “everywear” as a way to understand the increasing prevalence of technologies that are worn or in some way tethered to the body. Ultimately, it argues that studies of technology in everyday life must attend to a multiplicity of complex individual and institutional values and engagements. Furthermore, it suggests quantitative and qualitative modes of being operate dialectically in the production of everyday practice and experience.
James N. Gilmore, “The Curious Adaptation of Benjamin Button: Or, The Dialogics of Brad Pitt’s Face,” Mediascape, Fall 2014, available at: http://www.tft.ucla.edu/mediascape/Fall2014_CuriousAdaptation.html
James N. Gilmore, “Progressivism and the Struggles Against Racism and Anti-Semitism: Welles’s Correspondences in 1946,” in Orson Welles in Focus: Texts and Contexts, Eds. James N. Gilmore and Sidney Gottlieb (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018): 131-149
Sidney Gottlieb and James N. Gilmore, “Introduction: The Totality of Orson Welles,” in Orson Welles in Focus: Texts and Contexts, Eds. James N. Gilmore and Sidney Gottlieb (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2018): 1-10
James N. Gilmore, “Circulating The Square: Digital Distribution as (Potential) Activism,” in The Age of Netflix: Critical Essays on Streaming Media, Digital Delivery, and Instant Access, Eds. Cory Barker and Myc Wiatrowski (2017): 120-140.
James N. Gilmore, “Spinning Webs: Constructing Authors, Genre, and Fans in the Spider-Man Film Franchise,” in Make Ours Marvel: Media Convergence and a Comics Universe, Ed. Matt Yockey (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2017): 248-267.
James N. Gilmore, “A Eulogy of the Urban Superhero: The Everyday Destruction of Space in the Superhero Film,” in Representing 9/11: Trauma, Ideology, and Nationalism in Literature, Film, and Television, Ed. Paul Petrovic (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2015), 53-63.
James N. Gilmore and Matthias Stork, “Introduction: Heroes, Converge!” Superhero Synergies: Comic Book Characters Go Digital, Eds. James N. Gilmore and Matthias Stork (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), 1-10.
James N. Gilmore, “Will You Like Me When I’m Angry? Discourses of the Digital in Hulk and The Incredible Hulk,”in Superhero Synergies: Comic Book Characters Go Digital, Eds. James N. Gilmoreand Matthias Stork, (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), 11-26.
James Gilmore, “‘I Moved On, and So Did the Rest of Us’: The Masculine Ideal and its Discontents in Superman Returns,” in Examining Lois Lane: The Scoop on Superman’s Sweetheart, Ed. Nadine Farghaly (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2013), 211-234.