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Jonathan Abel

Jonathan Abel

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Japanese

449 Burrowes Bldg.
Office Phone: (814) 865-2263


  1. PhD, Princeton University, 2005
  2. MA, Princeton University, 2001
  3. MA, Columbia University, 1997
  4. BA with honors, University of Pennsylvania, 1993


My research focuses on the circulation cultural material and how this impacts reception and meaning-making.  My first book examines the ways censorship as an apparatus of the state in Japan from 1923 to 1952 transformed literary, filmic, and visual arts.  My current research examines techno-orientalism through a look at how big data, surveillance, and media transfer have worked to create a global image of Japan as a tech-nation.  This project combines work on stereoscopy and parallax, copyright and DRM (digital rights management), television superheroes and cell phone novel heroines, and visual games and alternate history fiction. Ultimately,  this work argues that at the moment of new media shift the real existence of fictional worlds as stories in our world becomes more salient than their realistic depiction or representation of realities.  In addition to this major focus on the impact circulation of cultural material on meaning, I have also published in the fields of film studies, translation studies, and disaster studies.


Redacted: The Archives of Transwar Censorship in Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012)




  • Theory & Criticism
  • East-West Comparison
  • Media Studies