Jackson B Smith

Graduate Student


Jackson B. Smith is doctoral candidate in the department of French and Italian where his research considers the relationship between time, memory, and narrative in cinematic, literary, artistic, and theoretical creation from the 20th and 21st centuries. In his work, he is particularly interested in the resonances between the 1960s and the present moment. Before coming to Princeton, he earned a B.A. in History from Bard College and a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from the Université Paris 8.

His dissertation, entitled “Breaking Forms,” explores the relationship between ideology and narrative experimentation in representations of the Algerian War of Independence. Studying representations in a range of media—including literature, cinema, and the visual arts— it looks at how alternative approaches to memory and time outside of traditional historical narrative can open up possibilities for identifying the functioning of ideology in the production of knowledge of the past. Through comparative analysis of works from the 1960s to the present, the dissertation identifies and examines a series of narrative approaches that comprise its four chapters: silences; remembering (and forgetting); unearthing, investigating; breaking (and repairing).

Jackson’s other research interests include time travel narrative; experimental and conceptual art; the relationship between deconstruction and Marxism; the written production of filmmakers; and the works of Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, Agnès Varda, and Jean-Luc Godard. In addition to teaching at Princeton, Jackson has also taught with the Prison Teaching Initiative and at the Université Paris-Est Créteil. His translations have appeared in venues including boundary 2, PALAIS, and The Philosophical Salon. He has articles in Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, Fixxion, New Review of Film and Television Studies, and Symposium.