School of Cinematic Arts Directory Profile

Directory Profile

« Back to Directory

J.D. Connor, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts
Director of Graduate Studies
Research areas: Contemporary Hollywood, Studio Economics, Media Industries, Production Design, Comedy

Affiliated Divisions:

Division of Cinema & Media Studies


J.D. Connor is an Associate Professor in the Division of Cinema and Media Studies. He is the author of Hollywood Math and Aftermath: The Economic Image and the Digital Recession and The Studios after the Studios: Neoclassical Hollywood, 1970–2010.

He received his PhD in from the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining USC in 2016, he was on the Art History and Film & Media Studies faculties at Yale and the Visual & Environmental Studies and English faculties at Harvard. His research and teaching focus on the art and industry of contemporary Hollywood.

He currently writes the City of Industry column for the Los Angeles Review of Books. His work has been published in journals such as Jump Cut, Media Industries, The Journal of Visual Culture, and FlowTVand has appeared in edited collections that include The Oxford Handbook to American Film History, In the Studio, The Films of Albert Brooks, Transmedia Directors, and the volumes on Directing and Art Direction and Production Design in the Behind the Silver Screen series. He is working on The Image of the Social, a history of thre transition to late capitalism in three diagrams; Archives of the Ambient, a theory of tape recording; Comedy Equals Comedy Plus Time, an exploration of contemporary comedy; and a study of the origins of cinematic worldbuilding. He is a founding member of Post•45, a collective of scholars of American literature and culture. His website is


“Forward Looking Statements, or, The Content of the Content,” in The Oxford Handbook of American Film History, Jon Lewis, ed., forthcoming from Oxford University Press, 2023.

"The Funnel and the Horn: On Reinventing James Cameron’s Avatar," Los Angeles Review of Books, December 16, 2022,

“Put Some Mank on It,” Los Angeles Review of Books, May 9, 2021, Selected as one of the ten best film essays to have appeared in the magazine as part of LARB’s tenth anniversary.

Midcentury Design Cultures, with Justus Nieland, Post45, 6 (March 5, 2021). Includes the introductory essay “Design Culture Studies: Between Infrastructure and Image,”

“The Nature of the Firm and the Nature of the Farm: Lucasfilm, the Campus, and the Contract,” In the Studio: Space, Form, Materiality, Brian Jacobson, ed., University of California Press, 2020. Winner of the SCMS outstanding edited volume and the limina award for best international film studies book. 

“+: On Avengers: Endgame,” Los Angeles Review of Books, June 1, 2019,


Hollywood Math and Aftermath: The Economic Image and the Digital Recession (Bloomsbury, 2018)

The Studios after the Studios: Neoclassical Hollywood, 1970–2010 (Stanford University Press, 2015). Honorable mention, ASAP book award.