Welcome, my name is Steen Christiansen and I’m an Associate Professor of English at the Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University, Denmark.

I work on cultural criticism, focusing particularly on popular cinema (primarily Hollywood), science fiction, horror, and comics. I am interested in the ways cultural texts make us feel, their affects and sensations, and the way these felt intensities function as a mass-mediated production of our senses.

Books

I’m currently working on two books, one on posthuman science fiction and one on contemporary action cinema.

Issues regarding the ontological status of the human species are inherently complex and complicated, and the outcomes not clearly in sight. In my book, tentatively titled Bodies Under Empire, I investigate how science fiction has been one place where these issues have been confronted in fictional form, in order to explore the question of the limits of the human in speculative ways. While SF has always agonized over the status of the human and what we will develop into, these questions have gained traction and intensified scrutiny within the past few decades. Contemporary SF has developed a new mode, which I term post-biological SF. My argument is that the posthuman, post-biological bodies in these texts are expressive of the state of the body politic and the affective state of living in a time of Empire. I take expressive to indicate both that they represent and map how our bodies are affected but also participate in the construction of Empire. The best way to understand Empire and its corporeal forces is to understand how these texts articulate the forces, whether as recuperative or disruptive.

My book on action cinema is tentatively titled Drone Age Cinema: Sensory Assault and Action Cinema. Drawing on current film theory’s preoccupation with affect and embodiment, I investigate the sensations of contemporary action films in order to argue that these films habituate us to a new media culture, one that is dominated by the use of increasingly autonomous technologies. My main argument is that more than simply narratives of conflict and ideological scenarios in which hegemony asserts its dominance, action films also produce new modes of sensory perception. While action cinema does reveal ideological contradictions, their audiovisual barrage at the same time obscures the contradictions. The sensorial overload of contemporary action cinema works perfectly in conjunction with a media culture of constant and immediate gratification but also reveals how vicariously we can live through moving images. As a genre, action cinema requires complete immersion into the flow of action even to a point of allowing these films to overpower us. This is why these films work as war machines, because they produce a desensitized mental state, not unlike the one soldiers are trained to enter.

Articles

“‘The Earth Died Screaming’: Tom Waits’ Bone Machine”. Fred Botting & Catherine Spooner (eds). Monstrous Media/Spectral Subjects: Imaging Gothic from the Nineteenth Century to the Present. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015. 73-85.

“Non-Representational Place: Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive”. Non-Place: Representing Placelessness in Literature, Media and Culture. Mirjam Gebauer, Helle Thorsøe Nielsen, Jan Schlosser, Bent Sørensen. Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2014.

Of Male Bondage: Violence and Constraint in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives. Akademisk Kvarter, Vol 8. 2014, 27-36.

“Digital tid på Vimeo”. in Online Videoer: På sociale medieplatforme. red. / Ole Ertløv Hansen; Lennard Højbjerg. 2013. udg. Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2013. 95-112 (MÆRKK – Æstetik og Kommunikation, Vol. 2).

“Hyper Attention Blockbusters: Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy”. In Akademisk kvarter, Vol. 7, 2013, 143-157.

Requiem for a Dream som mindre film: Darren Aronofskys postfilmiska estetik”. I gränslandet: Nya perspektiv på film och modernism. 1. udg. Gidlunds bokförlag i Hedemora, 2013. 180-198.

“Suburban Apocalypse: The Haunted House of Capitalism”. in Terminus: The End in Literature, Media and Culture. Robert W. Rix & Brian Russell Graham (eds) Vol. 5. Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2013. s. 185-201.

“Posthuman Rights”. Akademisk kvarter, Vol. 5, 2012, 101-112.

“Sound of the Apocalypse”. Journal of South Texas English Studies, Vol. 3, Nr. 2, 01.01.2012, 40-59.

“Things Come Alive: Rise of the Zombies”. in Monstrologi: Frygtens manifestationer. Jørgen Riber Christensen & Steen Ledet Christiansen (eds). Aalborg : Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2012, 147-164.

“Screen Spectrality: Gil Scott-Heron’s and Chris Cunningham’s New York Is Killing Me”. in Spøgelser. Genfærdet som kulturel og æstetisk figur. Steen Christiansen; Brian R. Graham; Louise Mønster; Peder Kaj Pedersen; Jan T. Schlosser. (eds), Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2012, 71-81.

“Body Refractions: Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. Akademisk kvarter, Vol. 3, 2011, 306-315.

“The Bridges of Americana County: Three Images of Clint Eastwood”. in Kulturtrafik: Æstetiske udtryk i en global verden. Steen Ledet Christiansen; Kim Toft Hansen; Peter Stein Larsen; Louise Mønster; Peder Kaj Pedersen (eds). Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2011, 245-260.

“Transgression Now”. with Charlie Blake. Akademisk kvarter, Vol. 3, 2011, 4-16.

“Kødets fristelser”. Akademisk kvarter, Vol. 1, 2010, 32-38.

“Airport Heterotopia: Le Guin’s Subversive Places”. Language and the Scientific Imagination: Proceedings of the 11th Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas (ISSEI), Gaudeamus: Helsinki University Press, 2010.

“Cloverfield’s Monstrosity: Ideology and Terror.” Our Monstrous (S)kin: Blurring the Boundaries Between Monsters and Humanity. Sorcha Ní Fhlainn (ed). Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010, 195-204.

“Speaking the Undead: Uncanny Aurality in Pontypool. Cinephile, Vol. 6, Nr. 2, 2010, 4-8.

“The Shadow of Grey: Lars von Trier’s Element of Crime”. Fingeraftryk: Studier i krimi og det kriminelle. Kim Toft Hansen & Jørgen Riber Christensen (eds). Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2010, 95-106.

“Intermedial Escape: Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay”. in Interaktioner: Om kunstarternes produktive mellemværender. Peter Stein Larsen; Peder Kaj Pedersen; Ernst-Ullrich Pinkert; Bent Sørensen (eds). Aalborg : Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2009, 37-58.

“The “Rat” in Fraternity: China Mieville’s King Rat.” Marvellous Fantasy. Jørgen Riber Christensen (ed). Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2009, 107-124.

The Truth of the Word, the Falsity of the Image : Transmetropolitan’s Critique of the Society of the Spectacle. / Christiansen, Steen Ledet. Elective Affinities: Testing Word and Image Relationships. red. / Catriona MacLeod; Véronique Plesch; Charlotte Schoell-Glass. Amsterdam/New York : Rodopi, 2009. s. 147-158 (Word and Image Interactions, Vol. 6).

“Written in Skin: Suicidegirls”. Nordlit, Nr. 24, 2009, 45-52.

“Amerikanske Utopier: utopiens brug i Hollywood og amerikanske independent film”. Boeygen, Vol. 18, Nr. 2, 2006, 47-54.

“Continuity Breach: The British Revision of the American Superhero”. Cultural Text Studies 2: Transatlantic. Camelia Elias & Andrea Birch (eds). Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2006, 109-132.

“Hollywood as Cultural Text”. Cultural Text Studies 1: An Introduction. Camelia Elias & Bent Sørensen (eds). Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2006, 171-186.

“Transtextuality, Paranoia, and Apophenia in Pattern Recognition”. Cultural Text Studies 1: An Introduction. Camelia Elias & Bent Sørensen (eds). Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2006, 229-242.

“Why I Have Never Seen Derrida”. 5 Faces of Derrida. Bent Sørensen (ed). Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies: Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2005, 23-29.

“Adapting Emotions in The Hours.” in Open Windows: Remediation Strategies in Global Film Adaptations. Kyle Nicholas & Jørgen Riber Christensen (eds). Aalborg : Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2005, 79-95.

“The Postmodern Fantastic”. in Anglo Files. Journal of English Teaching, Nr. 135, 2005, 62-67.

“Of Questions and Positions: Or, What Does It Mean to Theorize Media?”. in Culture, Media, Theory, Practice: Perspectives. Ben Dorfman (ed). Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2004, 225-233.

Papers and Talks

“The Drone Rhythms of Edge of Tomorrow” for Rhythm Seminar. IRGIC 2015. Aalborg.

“Drone Bodies”. ICFA. Orlando 2015.

“Things Gone Wild: The Movie Camera in the Drone Age”. SCMS conference. Seattle 2014.

“How to write about the beautiful”. Writing Affect workshop. Århus 2013.

“The Nova Trilogy and Contagion Theory”. European Beat Studies conference. Aalborg 2013.

“Textures of Time in Tony Scott’s Deja Vu”. Texture conference. St. Andrews 2013.

“Suburban Apocalypse”. The End IRGIC seminar. Aalborg 2012.

“Things Come Alive”. Monsters conference. Aalborg 2011.

“Screen Spectrality”. Ghosts and the Spectral IRGIC seminar. Aalborg 2011.

“Clint Eastwood”. Cultural Traffic IRGIC seminar. Aalborg 2010.

“Tom Waits’ Bone Machine”. IGA conference. Lancaster 2009.

“The Specter of Falling”. English Studies conference. Pittsburgh 2009.

“Traumatic Time Travels”. ICFA. Orlando 2009.

“Written on the Body: The Suicide Girls’ Difference and Transgression”. Cultural Productions and Negotation of Borders. Tromsø 2008.

“Ideological Fission: Cloverfield and Terrorism”. Monsters and the Monstrous conference. Oxford 2008.

“David Bowie’s Hauntology”. Uncanny Media conference. Utrecht 2008.

“Soft Machines and the Design of Perception.” The Word Become Flesh Nordic Summer University, winter session. Copenhagen 2008.

“What is the future?”. Negotiating the Future talk. Oslo 2007.

“Genre as a Space of Possibles”. PhD Vita opening talk. Aalborg 2006.

“Cultural Text Studies”. Book series launch lecture, Aalborg 2006.

“The Truth of the Word, the Falsity of the Image”. Elective Affinities, Word and Image Studies, Philadelpia 2005.

“Cyborgs and Posthumans: The Slipstream of Theory”. ICFA Fort Lauderdale, 2005.

“The Sign Function in Science Fiction”. NAES Conference, Århus 2004.

“‘Sometimes it’s only madness that makes us who we are’”. ESSE Conference, Zaragoza 2004.

“The Dissemination of Science Fiction.” PhD Workshop, Tromsøe 2004.

“The Passion of the Christ as the ultimate action film”. Guiest lecture. Aalborg.

Teaching

Here is a list of some of the courses I’ve taught through the years. Unless otherwise noted, they’ve all been taught for the English program.

Vita

Positions held

2011 - present Associate professor of English, Aalborg University
2008 - 2011 Assistant professor of English, Aalborg University
2000 - 2003 Teaching Assistant English program, Aalborg University
2001 Teaching Assistant, Literature program, University of Southern Denmark

Degrees

2006 PhD English, Aalborg University
2001 MA English, Aalborg University
1998 BA English, Aalborg University

Connect

I’m not particularly active on any social media sites, but feel free to follow me on Twitter or Ello. My most active account is probably my Tumblr.

Or contact me at steenledet@gmail.com.