I am currently an Associate Professor of English at Portland State University, where I research and teach classes in 20th-century Anglophone modernism, film and media studies, and critical theory. After receiving my Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, I served as an academic adviser, as an ACLS Fellow at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and as an assistant professor at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.

My first book, Sublime Noise: Musical Culture and the Modernist Writer, explores the relationships among modernist literature, music, noise, and aural culture. I have published in Textual PracticeJames Joyce Quarterly, Modern DramaStudies in the NovelVictorian Literature and Culture, The New Ezra Pound Studies (CUP, ed. Mark Byron), and The Edinburgh Companion to Modernism and Technology (ed. Alex Goody and Ian Whittington). I present regularly (and sometimes just show up) at the Modernist Studies Association conference.

I am currently at work on a new project about the documentary filmmaker and amateur anthropologist Humphrey Jennings, focusing on how Jennings’s filmic, literary, and anthropological work addresses the media ecology and material culture of post-WWII Britain, producing newly textured ways of reading and narrating citizenship.

At PSU I teach a range of classes, including undergraduate and graduate modernism courses; general education courses on modern British lit, race and melodrama, film history, and critical film theory; major authors courses on James, Conrad, and Joyce; and advanced topics courses on aesthetic and cultural theories of failure. Further information can be found on my personal webpage, http://joshepstein.net .


M.A., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2004, 2008.

B.A., summa cum laude, University of Puget Sound, 2003.

Other Publications


Articles and Chapters:

Short-form Essays, Book Reviews, Bloggy Behaviors, Etc.:

Blog Posts


    • Humphrey Jennings, including work on Family Portrait and the Festival of Britain; sound studies and Listen to Britain; and the literary anthology Pandaemonium.

    • Melodrama

    • Music as technology; remediations of music in modernist film, tv, and radio

    • Theories of cruelty and failure


    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    • “Music: Modernist Remediation and Technologies of Listening.” Paper for the Modernist Studies Association, April 2022.

    • Invited participant, “Techniques for Teaching Eliot in 2021,” The International T. S. Eliot Society Annual Conference, September 2021.

    • “Nuclear Family Portrait: Humphrey Jennings, the Pattern Group, and the Festival of Britain.” Paper for the Modernist Studies Association conference (Columbus, OH), November 2018.

    • “Observations of Industrial Listening: War Factory and Listen to Britain.” Position paper for “Modernism and Mass-Observation,” seminar at Modernist Studies Association conference (Columbus, OH), November 2018.

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