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Joshua Neves, PhD

Associate Professor, Cinema

Canada Research Chair and Director of the Global Emergent Media (GEM) Lab

Joshua Neves, PhD
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 5233
Website(s): GEM Lab
Availability: Dr. Neves is on research leave through June 2024


Professor Neves' research centers on global and digital media, with a particular focus on video, TV, and digital culture; China, Asia and the Global South; cultural theory and political theory; media urbanism; digital ethnography; cultures of optimization

He is the co-editor (with Bhaskar Sarkar) of Asian Video Culturesin the Penumbra of the Global (Duke University Press, 2017), and author of Underglobalization: Beijing’s Media Urbanism and the Chimera of Legitimacy (Duke University Press, March 2020). Dr. Neves is also lead author of Technopharmacology (Minnesota University Press / Meson Press, 2022). His work is published in Media Theory, Cultural Critique, Social TextDiscourse, Film Quarterly, Sarai, Made in China Journal, Cinema Journal, The Media Fields Journal, Culture Machine, Review of Communication, Rethinking Chinese Television, A Companion to Documentary Film History, The Routledge Companion to Risk and Media, Critical Approaches to Contemporary Architecture, among others.

Dr. Neves' current book project is tentatively titled Smart Bodies: On Neuropolitics and Technologies of Enhancement. It examines shifting cultures of optimization—smart drugs to smartphones—paying close attention to changing bodily capacities and new demands for hyperbolic performance.

He previously taught in the Department of Modern Culture & Media at Brown University, and was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto. 


global media, digital culture, cultural theory, political theory, China, Asia, video, television, piracy, urbanism


Current Research Projects:

  • Smartness and cultures of optimization (big data and big pharma)
  • Video cultures 
  • Global and digital Media
  • Postsocialist and postcolonial media networks
  • Piracy and informal media
  • Media urbanism
  • Chinese cinema/media

*Contact me to discuss MA/PhD supervision on topics close to my own research


PhD, Film and Media Studies, UC Santa Barbara

Selected Publications


TechnoPharmacologyw/ Aleena Chia, Susanna Paasonen, and Ravi Sundaram (Meson Press/University of Minnesota Press, 2022)

Underglobalization: Beijing's Media Urbanism and the Chimera of Legitimacy (Duke University Press, March 2020)

Asian Video Cultures: In the Penumbra of the Global (Duke University Press, 2017) [co-edited with Bhaskar Sarkar]

Articles and Chapters

"Southern Effects: Kaiju, Cultural Intimacy, and the Production of Distribution," Cultural Critique 114 (2022)

w/ Fenwick Mckelvey, "Introduction: Optimization and its Discontents," Review of Communication 21:2 (2021)

w/ Giuseppe Fidotta and Joaquin Serpe, "From Populist Media to Media Populism," Culture Machine 19 (2020)

"Unmanned Capture: Automatic Cameras and Lifeless Subjects in Contemporary Documentary," in Joshua Malitsky, ed., A Companion to Documentary Film History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020).

"Social Media and the Social Question: Speculations on Risk Media Society," in Bishnupriya Ghosh and Bhaskar Sarkar, eds., The Routledge Companion to Risk and Media (Routledge, 2020).

"Watching the City: A Genealogy of Media Urbanism," in Swati Chattopadhyay and Jerry White, eds., The Routledge Companion to Critical Approaches to Contemporary Architecture (Routlege, 2019).

"Videation: Technological Intimacy and the Politics of Global Connection," in Joshua Neves and Bhaskar Sarkar, eds., Asian Video Cultures: In the Penumbra of the Global (Duke UP, 2017).

“The Long Commute: Mobile Television and the Seamless Social,” in Ruoyun Bai and Geng Song, eds., Chinese Television in the Twenty-First Century: Entertaining the Nation (Routledge, 2014).

“Cinematic Encounters in Beijing,” Film Quarterly 67:1 (2013). 

“For the City Yet to Come: Planning’s Visual Culture,” Sarai Reader 09: Projections (2013).

“New Specificities,” Cinema Journal 52:4 (2013).

“Media Archipelagos: Inter-Asian Film Festivals,” Discourse 34:2-3 (2012).

“Beijing en Abyme: Outside Television in the Olympic Era,” Social Text 107, 29:2 (2011).

Edited Journals

Co-edited (with Fenwick McKelvey), "Optimization: Towards a Critical Concept," Review of Communication 21:2 (2021).

Co-edited (with Giuseppe Fidotta and Joaquin Serpe), "Media Populism," Culture Machine 19 (2020).

Co-edited (with Jeff Scheible), “Video Stores,” inaugural issue of the Media Fields Journal (2010).


Cinema in the Age of Smart Technologies (MA seminar, Winter 2022)
Cinema/Media and Race Critical Theories (PhD Seminar, Fall 2020)
Film History Since 1959 (undergraduate, Winter 2020)
Technology and Intimacy (MA/PhD seminar, Fall 2019)
Media Genealogies of the Digital (PhD seminar, Winter 2019)
Digital Media: Theory and Practice (MA seminar, Fall 2018)
Digital Culture: Theory and Practice (undergraduate, Winter 2018)
Digital Media Ethnography (MA seminar, Fall 2017)
Piracy: Culture and Politics (MA seminar, Winter 2017) 
Global TV (PhD seminar, Fall 2016)
Methods in Film Studies (MA seminar, Winter 2016)
Genealogies of the Digital (PhD Seminar, Fall 2015)
Media and Cultural Theory in the Global Asias (MA seminar, Winter 2015)
Film History Since 1959 (undergraduate, Fall 2014)

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