Expanded Biography

Mark Dery is a cultural critic.

Dery is a cultural critic best known for his essays on Afrofuturism (a term he coined) and culture jamming (a phenomenon he popularized). His byline has appeared in a broad range of publications, including the New York Times MagazineRolling StoneElle, BookforumWired, The Washington Post, and The LA Review of Books. A frequent lecturer in the U.S. and Europe, he has been a professor of journalism at NYU, taught in the Yale School of Art, was appointed Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow at UC Irvine, and has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome. Dery’s books include two critiques of cyberculture, the anthology Flame Wars, which he edited, and Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century (translated into eight languages); two studies of American mythologies (and pathologies), The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink and the essay collection I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams (University of Minnesota Press, 2012; rights have been sold in Brazil; remaining translation rights with agent); and a biography, Born To Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey (Little, Brown, 2018; rights have been sold in the UK and China; remaining translation rights with agent).

Dery’s writings on the cultural politics of  the media, technology, American society, visual culture, emerging trends, subcultural style, gender, sexuality, and food have appeared in Artforum, ARTnews, Bookforum, Cabinet, Dwell, Elle, Hyperallergic, I.D., Interiors, Interview, The L.A. Review of Books, The L.A. Times, The L.A. Weekly, The Las Vegas Weekly, Lingua Franca, Nerve, New York, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, Print, Rolling Stone, Salon, Spin, The Utne Reader, The Village Voice, Vogue Hommes, The Washington Post, and Wired, among others.

He has been a featured guest blogger on Boing Boing (the sixth most popular blog on the Web, according to Technorati). His columns of cultural commentary have appeared in Artforum, The Nation‘s radio show, and the websites True/Slant and Thought Catalog.

A frequent speaker in the States and abroad, Dery has lectured in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, Macedonia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and throughout the United States. (More here.)

Selected Interviews

  • June 18, 2013 interview about my Kindle single, All the Young Dudes: Why Glam Rock Matters, for New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth” show.
  • June 21, 2012 interview with The Los Angeles Review of Books, “Hathologies: An Interview with Mark Dery,” by Michael Goetzman.
  • April 25, 2012 interview on The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC, New York’s public-radio station. “Mark Dery, cultural critic and author of I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-By Essays on American Dread, American Dreams, critiques contemporary American pop culture, from Lady Gaga to the apocalypse.”
  • April 24, 2012 interview with Matthew Newton for The Verge magazine, “Archaeologist of the Future Present: Mark Dery’s Visions of American Dread, American Dreams.”
  • April 16, 2012 interview with Perry Vasquez for Agit Prop about Bad Thoughts.
  • April 8, 2012 interview with R.U. Sirius for Acceler8tor magazine, “Bad Thoughts & The Politics Of The Polysyllabic: An Interview With Mark Dery.”
  • March 29, 2012 interview with blogger Roy Christopher, “Nothing’s Shocking,” on the release of I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts.
  • March 15, 2009 press conference for moderated panel, lecture (“Myths of the Next Five Minutes: Science Fiction After the Obsolescence of the Future”) at “Parallel Worlds: Prospective and Perspective of Science Fiction,” part of the Festival de México en el Centro Histórico, with science-fiction authors Bruce Sterling, Chris Nakashima-Brown, Christopher Priest, M. John Harrison, and Linda Nagata, at the Centro Cultural Tlatelolco Conference Hall, Mexico City. Video here.
  • Promotional interview, filmed in Brazil, for my 2007 appearance at the Brazilian forum, Fronteiras do Pensamento (“Frontiers of Contemporary Thought”), at the Brazil Federal University Federal University in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This lecture was part of a series jointly produced by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), the University of the Sinos River Valley (UNISINOS) and Copesul, a private chemical company located in Porto Alegre. Other speakers in the series included Bernard-Henri Levy, Peter Greenaway, Pierre Levy, Marshall Berman, Christopher Hitchens, Camille Paglia, and Michel Houellebecq. Here’s another excerpt. Here’s another.
  • A curious little summer 2009 interview with the editors of the mail-art publication Abe’s Penny. (Scroll down.) The scattershot fusillade of questions is part of its charm, a magpie mindset that animates the best of that little-noted and sometimes justifiably maligned microgenre, mail art.
  • “The Culture Jammer,” an Austin Chronicle interview on the occasion of my keynote lecture at the 2003 “Games Without Borders” videogame and videogame theory conference at UT Austin.
  • “PostFuture Shock,” a wide-ranging, off-the-beaten-path interview with Roy Christopher, editor of the brutally cool Front Wheel Drive.
  • “Vive la presse,” a spirited (if somewhat linguistically fractured) Q&A with me, conducted for a rough-around-the-edges but intellectually combative little Parisian start-up called Verity. I’m in Al Gore/Inconvenient Truth-Mike Davis/Ecology of Fear eco-pocalyptic Jeremiah mode, in the last half of this.
  • “The Road Ahead,” a Time magazine roundtable consisting of me, Malcolm Gladwell, David Brooks, Clay Shirky, Esther Dyson, Tim O’Reilly, and…Moby. The number of column inches each of us got correlated, unsurprisingly, with the number of weeks we’d been on the bestseller list…or not. Worth a glance.
  • “Loving the Alien,” San Diego CityBeat editor Kelly Davis’s short, drily funny interview-cum-introduction to an excerpt from my book-in-progress.
  • My Dinner with Dery,” an almost unbearably hilarious Orange County Weekly column by Rebecca Schoenkopf, inspired by one of my lectures at UC Irvine during my time there as the Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow, in January 2000.
  • “Building a Progressive, Pragmatic Futurism: An E-mail Interview with Mark Dery,” a provocative, in-depth interview from 1996, with the always insightful cultural critic and Net theorist Geert Lovink. Later included in Lovink’s Uncanny Networks: Dialogues with the Virtual Intelligentsia.
  • “Mind to Mind with Mark Dery,” a 1996 interview about Escape Velocity with the estimable Howard Rheingold, futurist, technoculture critic, and the Charlie Rose of online interviews.
  • “Peering into the Global Meta-Mind,” an interview with The Boston Phoenix.