Jean-Thomas Tremblay


  • Ph.D., 2018, University of Chicago

Biographical Statement

Dr. Tremblay holds a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature, with a Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies, from the University of Chicago. From 2013 to 2017 they were a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellow, and from 2016 to 2018 a Residential Fellow in the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.


Dr. Tremblay is a scholar of twentieth- and twenty-first-century U.S. and Canadian literary, screen, media, and performance cultures working across the environmental and medical humanities and feminist, queer, and trans studies.

Their current book project, Breathing Aesthetics, addresses the prominence of breathing in aesthetic responses to contemporary crisis. Breathing has long been an object of philosophical and artistic interest, from Ancient Greek musings on pneuma and psyche to Ayurvedic disciplines. Yet, the intensified pollution, weaponization, and monetization of the air since the 1970s have turned difficult breathing into an indicator of the uneven distribution of vitality and risk. Breathing Aesthetics argues that breathing has emerged as a medium that configures embodiment and experience as effects of biopolitical and necropolitical forces, or forces that manage life and death across scales. What this project terms a breathing aesthetics in contemporary literary, screen, media, and performance cultures refers to an attunement of content and form to respiration and an engagement with the sociopolitical and environmental dynamics mediated by breathing.

Selected publications


  • “Feminist Breathing,” differences 30, no. 3 (2019) [special issue: –30–: The End of the Story, edited by Elizabeth Weed and Ellen Rooney]: 92–117, forthcoming
  • “Aesthetic Self-Medication: Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose’s Structures of Breathing,” Women & Performance 28, no. 3 (2018): 221–238
  • “Breath: Image and Sound, an Introduction,” New Review of Film and Television Studies 16, no. 2 (2018): 93–97
  • “An Aesthetics and Ethics of Emergence, or Thinking with Luce Irigaray’s Interval of Difference,” Criticism 59, no. 2 (2017): 279–299
  • “Room for Critique: The Spaces of Institutional Disillusionment of 1970s U.S. Feminist Fiction,” Post45 Peer-Reviewed (2016)

Editorial projects

  • Essay cluster on Jules Gill-Peterson’s Histories of the Transgender Child, coedited with Rebekah Sheldon, The Rambling (2019), forthcoming
  • Breath: Image and Sound, special issue of New Review of Film and Television Studies 16, no 2 (2018)

Academic reviews and essays

Public scholarship

Recently taught courses

  • ENGL 116G: Perspectives on Film
  • ENGL 252: Survey of American Literature II
  • ENGL 303: Theory and Criticism in Film, Media, and Culture: Sensation and Perception
  • ENGL 336/CMI 398: Queer Cinema
  • ENGL 417/517: Politics of Voice
  • ENGL 422/522: Autobiographical Literature and Film
  • ENGL 469/569: Ecological Literature and Film





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