Marco Abel
Annette Hornischer / American Academy in Berlin / 2019 08 22 / Marco Abel

Marco Abel is Willa Cather Professor of English and Film Studies, Courtesy Professor in Department of Communication Studies, and chair of the English Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (since 2014). As recipient of an American Academy in Berlin Prize, he was their Dirk Ippen Fellow in fall 2019. He is the author of three books (one of which forthcoming) and over seventy articles, interviews, translations, and reviews, as well as co-editor of six books (two of which forthcoming), three journal issues, dossiers, or sections, and the University of Nebraska book series Provocations (together with Roland Végső). He specializes in critical / poststructuralist / (neo-)Marxist theory as well as film history and film theory. Common to all of his work—whether on German cinema, violence in literature and film, affect theory, or global cinema’s engagement with the revolutionary events of the “long 1968” and the question of political cinema—is Dr. Abel’s interest 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, he approaches signs—cinematic or otherwise—from the idea that images are first and foremost “just images, not just images” (Jean-Luc Godard): 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 he always asks about images is less, “What does it mean?” than “How does it work?” and “What does it do?”