Marco Abel

Department Chair and Associate Professor's Profile Image
Department Chair and Associate Professor (402) 472-1850 204a Andrews Hall Website

Personal Teaching Statement

I am particularly interested in theorizing images from what one might call an a-signifying perspective. Rather than assuming that images re-present a preexisting world against which we can measure and evaluate an image's meaning, veracity, morality, and political viability, I approach images—cinematic or otherwise—from the idea, articulated by Jean-Luc Godard, that images are first and foremost "just images, not just images": Images have force and do things, but they do not—at least not primarily—bear or represent meaning; images work by their constitutive intensities and affects rather than by re-presenting something in a way that may or may not be just or justified. Hence, the question to ask about images is less, "What does it mean?" than "How does it work?" and "What does it do?"

Selected Publications

After my first book, Violent Affect: Literature, Cinema, and Critique after Representation (University of Nebraska Press, 2007), I switched my research focus to contemporary German cinema. In addition to a host of articles on and interviews with contemporary German filmmakers, I also published two books on the subject: The Counter-Cinema of the Berlin School (Camden House, 2013), which won the German Studies Association prize for Best Book 2014, and as co-editor Im Angesicht des Fernsehens: Der Filmemacher Dominik Graf (text + kritik, 2010), which at the time was the first book on what is arguably Germany’s greatest contemporary genre filmmaker. Also as co-editor I’m currently working on A Transnational Art-Cinema: Berlin School and Its Global Contexts (under pre-contract with Wayne State University Press) and have a co-edited special issue for The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture, “What was Politics in 68? A Special Issue on the West German Sixties,” which is forthcoming in 2015. This last project connects with me on a new research project I’m in the process of developing, which deals with the so-called New Munich Group of filmmakers (specifically, Klaus Lemke, Rudolf Thome, Maz Zihlmann, Roger Fritz, Martin Müller, and the duo May Spils/& Werner Enke) of the mid to late 1960s. Together with my departmental colleague, Roland Végső, I’m also co-editor of the book series, Provocations, which the University of Nebraska Press published.

A complete list of my publications can be found through my personal homepage @ Some recent or forthcoming publications of mine on German cinema include:

  • "'A Sharpening of Our Regard': Realism, Affect, and the Redistribution of the Sensible in Valeska Grisebach's Longing [Sehnsucht]." In German Language Cinema in the New Millennium: Beyond the Cinema of Consensus? Eds. Paul Cooke and Christoph Homewood. I.B. Taurus, 2011
  • "Underground Film Germany in the Age of Control Societies: The 'Cologne Group'." Quarterly Review of Film and Video 27.2 (2010)
  • "Failing to Connect: Itinerations of Desire in Oskar Roehler's Post-Romance Films." New German Critique 37 (1 109) (Winter 2010).
  • "'I Build a Jigsaw Puzzle of a Dream-Germany': An Interview with German Filmmaker Dominik Graf." Senses of Cinema online (July-September 2010).
  • "Imaging Germany: The (Political) Cinema of Christian Petzold." In The Collapse of the Conventional. Eds. Jaimey Fisher and Brad Prager. Wayne State UP, 2010.
  • "Intensifying Life: The Cinema of the Berlin School." Cineaste online (fall 2008).

Prior publications on American Literature, Film, and Continental Theory include:

  • "Intensifying Affect." Electronic Book Review, October 2008: 11,000 words.
  • "Don DeLillo's 'In the Ruins of the Future': Literature, Images, and the Rhetoric of Seeing 9/11." PMLA 118.5 (October 2003): 1236-1250
  • "Speeding Across the Rhizome: Deleuze Meets Kerouac On The Road." Modern Fiction Studies 48.2 (! Summer 2002): 227-256.
  • Judgment is not an Exist: Toward an Affective Criticism of Violence with American Psycho." Angelaki 6.3 (December 2001): 137-154.

Georgia State University, BA (1995)
Pennsylvania State University, MA (1997)
Pennsylvania State University, PhD (2003)
Areas of Specialty
Film Studies, with a specialty in Film Theory, European Cinema, and American Cinema
Critical and Literary Theory, with a specialization in French post-structuralism and the Frankfurt School
Contemporary American Literature, with a specialization in fictional expressions of violence
  • ENG 239 (Film Directors)
  • ENG 349 (National Cinemas)
  • ENG 373 (Film Theory)
  • ENG 871 (Introduction to Theory & Criticism)
  • ENG 971 (Seminar in Theory)