Jennifer Friedlander

Edgar E. and Elizabeth S. Pankey Professor of Media Studies; Chair of Media Studies
  • Expertise


    Jennifer Friedlander is the author of Moving Pictures: Where the Police, the Press, and the Art Image Meet, in which she explores a set of contemporary British art controversies. Her second book, Feminine Look: Sexuation, Spectatorship, and Subversion, develops a psychoanalytically-based feminist theory of the visual. Her recent book, Real Deceptions: The Contemporary Reinvention of Realism  (Oxford University Press, 2017) develops a framework for a contemporary aesthetic politics of realism which, rather than focusing on the importance of seeing beyond deceptions that distort reality, and argues that reality lies within the deceptions themselves. She is currently working on a new book project, tentatively titled, Powers of Pleasure.

    Friedlander has published articles in a range of journals, including Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture; CiNéMAS: Journal of Film Studies; Subjectivity; (Re)-turn: A Journal of Lacanian Studies; Journal for Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society; Subjectivity; and International Journal of Žižek Studies and in several edited volumes.

    She is a member of the central committee for LACK, an organization designed to bring together theorists interested in engaging psychoanalytic theory and its intersection with philosophy, politics and contemporary culture.

    Research Interests

    Jennifer Friedlander’s research explores ways in which media and cultural products not only create and embody social and economic practices, but also precipitate viewer anxieties and pleasures. She seeks to bring together the basic premises of cultural studies with Lacanian psychoanalysis in order to bridge the cultural with the psychic. Specifically, she aims in her work to develop a psychoanalytically-based feminist theory of the visual.

    Areas of Expertise


    • Cultural Studies
    • Contemporary Art Controversies
    • Film Theory
    • Psychoanalytic Theory
  • Work



    Real Deceptions: The Contemporary Reinvention of Realism.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

    Feminine Look: Sexuation, Spectatorship, and Subversion. New York: State University of New York Press, 2008.

    Moving Pictures: Where the Police, the Press, and the Art Image Meet. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University Press, 1998.

    Peer-reviewed Journal Articles 

    "Interpassivity: Bonds of Pleasure and Belief" in Continental Thought & Theory: A Journal of Intellectual Freedom, vol. 2, issue 1. June 2018

    “Corporeal Difference: Body Worlds and Cloaca” in theory@buffalo 19 issue, “Difference: Sexual, Cultural, Universal.” January 2017

    “Documentary REAL-ism: A Lacanian approach to ‘This is Not a Film’ and ‘Catfish.’” CiNéMAS: Journal of Film Studies. Issue: Revoir Lacan, vol. 26, no 1, (2016), pp. 69-91.

    “Breast Feeding and Middle-Class Privilege: A Psychoanalytic analysis of 'breast is best'.” Subjectivity vol. 8, issue 1 (2015). pp. 74-91.

    “Imperfecting the Illusion: Belief and the Aesthetic Destruction of Reality.” Discourse: Journal  for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture.35.3, Fall (2013). pp. 384-399.

    “Affecting Art: Barthes, Kertész, and Lacan.”  (Re)-turn: A Journal of  Lacanian Studies. Vols 3 & 4, Fall (2008) pp. 151-172.

    No Business like Schmo Business: Reality TV and the Fetishistic Inversion,” International Journal of Žižek Studies, Vol 1, No 1.3 (2007) pp. 1-17.

    How Should a Woman Look? Scopic Strategies for Sexuated Subjects." in Journal for Psychoanalysis of Society and Culture, vol. 8.1 Spring (2003) pp. 99-108.

    Peer-reviewed Book Chapters/Edited Collections

    “ÉPONGE/Sponge” in Living Together: Roland Barthes, the Individual, and the Community, (Eds. Stene-Johansen, Refsum, Schimanski). Oslo/NY: Transcript Verlag, 2018.

    “How to Face Nothing: Melancholia and the Feminine” in Lars von Trier’s Women (Eds. Rex Butler and David Denny). New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2017. pp. 201-214

     “ÉPONGE/Svamp.” [translated into Norwegian] In Å Leve Sammen (Living Together), (Ed. Knut Stene-Johansen). Oslo: Scandinavian Academic Press, 2016. pp. 242-254.

    “Cinematic Ends: The Ties that Unbind in Claire Denis’s White Material” in Cinematic Cuts: Theorizing Film Endings (Ed. Sheila Kunkle). NY: SUNY Press, 2016. pp. 109-119.

    “Representing Uncertainty/Claiming Indeterminacy: Aliza Shvarts’ Unseen Yale Art Project” in Resolutions3: Global Networks of Video (Eds. Ming-Yuen Ma & Erika Suderburg), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. pp. 235-240.

    Non-Peer-Reviewed Volume

    “Public Art and Radical Democracy: Christoph Schlingensief’s Deportation Installation” in Urbanity. The Discreet Symptoms of Privatization and the Loss of Urbanity. (Eds., Vienna. (2013). pp 11-19.

    Book Reviews

    Recension of Robert Pfaller’s The Illusions of Others: On the Pleasure Principle in Culture” in European Journal of Psychoanalysis. July 2017

    Review of Caroline Joan S. Picart’s Inside Notes from the Outside in Review of Communication April-July (2005) pp. 156-158

  • Education


    University of Pittsburgh

    Master of Arts
    University of Pittsburgh

    Bachelor of Arts
    Binghamton University

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Independent Study: Media Studies
    • Introduction to Media Studies
    • Senior Seminar
    • Senior Thesis
    • Topics in Media Theory I
    • Topics in Media Theory I
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Association for Psychoanalysis in Communication, President, 2005-06

    Austrian Room Committee Scholarship, 2000

    Andrew Mellon Doctoral Fellowship, 1999