Phillip  Maciak 

Assistant Professor

Phone: (225) 578-7810


Office: Allen Hall 210-I




I joined LSU’s Department of English and Program in Film and Media Arts as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2013 after receiving my PhD in English with a certificate in Cinema Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. My research and teaching interests include film history from early screen technologies to the present, nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature, comparative literary and cinematic realisms, television narrative, and theories of religion, secularism, and popular culture. I’m currently at work on a book manuscript called The Disappearing Christ that looks at visualizations of Jesus Christ from Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel, Ben-Hur, to William Wyler’s 1959 film adaptation. The project traces the evolving relationship between spectatorship and secularism in fiction and film across the turn of the twentieth century in America.


In addition to my scholarly work, I’m a cultural critic and television columnist for The Los Angeles Review of Books, where I co-founded the “Dear Television” blog. My essays and reviews on television, film, and literature have appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, The New Republic, Salon, The Hairpin, Avidly, and Slant Magazine. This, and everything else, can be found at my website:

Area of Interest

Cinema and Media Studies, Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature, Religion and Secularism Studies, Literary and Cinematic Realisms, Theories of Spectatorship (early and contemporary), Contemporary Television.

Selected Publications

“’A rare and wonderful sight’: Secularism and Visual Historiography in Ben-Hur,” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, (forthcoming 2015).

“The Time of the Semi-Public Intellectual,” with Lili Loofbourow, PMLA, (forthcoming Spring 2015)

“Spectacular Realism: The Ghost of Jesus Christ in D.W. Griffith’s Vision of History,” Adaptation, Volume 5, Issue 2, September 2012.

Courses Taught

ENGL 7783 / “The Afterlives of Realism: Literature, Film, Reality,” Fall 2014.
ENGL 2231 / “Surveillance and Cinema,” Fall 2014.
ENGL 2231 / “Reading Film: Adaptations,” Large Lecture, Spring 2014.
ENGL 2231 / “Reading Film as Literature,” English Department, Fall 2013.
FMA 4001 / “Sacred Screens: Religion and World Cinema,” Fall 2013.


Curriculum Vitae