Damon Young

Job title: 
Associate Professor
Film & Media Studies

Young is co-appointed with the Department of French and is affiliated with the Program in Critical Theory, the Berkeley Center for New Media, the Institute for European Studies and the Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender & Sexuality. He teaches courses on art cinema, sexuality and media and topics in digital media and film theory (including classical film theory, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, semiotics, feminist and queer theory). His first book, Making Sex Public and Other Cinematic Fantasies,was published in the Theory Q series at Duke University Press in 2018 and shortlisted for the 2019 Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present Book Prize. That book examines fears and fantasies about women’s and queer sexualities—as figures for social emancipation or social collapse–in French and U.S. cinema since the mid-1950s. It also considers the way cinema produces a new model of the private self as it challenges the novel’s dominance in the 20th century. The latter idea is the basis for  Young’s current book project, After the Private Self, which explores the technical and technological ground of subjectivity across media forms, from the written diary through to big data, algorithms, and contemporary Internet cultures. Is the self of Rousseau’s Confessions the same as the self of the digital selfie? The inquiry integrates topics in digital media theory with “earlier” questions of language and subjectivity. 

Some recent publications include: “Ironies of Web 2.0” (in “How to be Now,” special issue of Post-45, Summer 2019); “Safe Spaces”; “Teorema’s Death Drive,” forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Queer Cinema; “The Vicarious Look, or Andy Warhol’s Apparatus Theory” (in Film Criticism 39.2); “Gag the Fag, or Tops and Bottoms, Persons and Things,” Porn Studies 4.2 (2017); and The Cultural Logic of Contemporary Capitalism, a special issue of the journal Social Text (June 2016), co-edited with Nico Baumbach and Genevieve Yue. 

Before joining the Berkeley faculty, Damon Young was an assistant professor and postdoctoral scholar in the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan. Other honors include the MacGeorge Fellowship at the University of Melbourne; the ACLA Helen Tartar Book Subvention Prize; Regents’ Junior Faculty fellowship; DAAD fellowship; the Norman Jacobson Memorial Teaching Award (2012); and the UC President’s Society of Fellows, as well as the University of Sydney Medal. Young is part of the editorial collective, Bully Bloggers: https://bullybloggers.wordpress.com 

Read an interview with Damon Young, by Nicholas Baer, in Film Quarterly 72.2 (Winter 2018) here.