I’m an Americanist interested in the cultural life of speculation: utopian, dystopian, and apocalyptic popular culture, narratives of the future of technology, fantasies of racial identity, and critical theory.

Jesse

I was born and raised in San José, California. I grew up near Sal Si Puedes, the neighborhood where Cesar Chavez began his organizing for the United Farm Workers. My first texts were my father’s tattoos or “placas”: east sidemadre, tropicana varrio locos. 

After earning my PhD in American Studies in late 2013, I moved to a suburb of Munich, Germany, with my wife and two daughters. I like to pretend that I can channel Ernst Bloch, who wrote The Spirit of Utopia while meditating on the Alps in a nearby town. One day I will write a book called Bato in Bavaria.

From 2013-2015 I crossed the Weißwurstäquator (“white sausage border”) to lecture in the Institute of English and American Studies at Frankfurt University. In 2016 I became Assistant Professor (Assistenzprofessor) of American Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland. In addition to finishing up a book on apocalyptic science fiction (“Un-American Dreams”), I’m also writing a book about automation myths (“Ruse of the Robots”) and another about the videogame The Last of Us.

My CV.

Academic Employment

Assistant Professor (Assistenzprofessor) of American Studies, Co-Coordinator of “Technologies”concentration, University of St. Gallen, 2016—present

Lecturer, Institute for English and American Studies, Frankfurt University, 2013—2015

Research Associate and Web Editor, The Digital Portal of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich University, March 2013—September 2013

Teaching Fellow and Part-Time Acting Instructor, Yale College, 2010—2012

Teaching Assistant, Santa Clara University and West Valley College, 2003—2006

Education

PhD, American Studies, Yale University, Dec. 2013

MA & MPhil, American Studies, Yale University, 2010

BA, English, Santa Clara University, 2006

Recent/Forthcoming Publications

Sleep Dealer, or, Tijuana, Ciudad del Futuro”

“Are Orcs Racist? Genre, Racecraft, and Bright

“Looking Back at #OscarsSoWhite”

“Marx vs. the Robots”