Jon Simons

Associate Professor

Contact Information

  • Office:
    Room 213, 800 E. 3rd St.
  • Office Hours:
    Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:30 - 3:30 pm
  • Email:
  • Phone:
    812 856 0896
  • Website:
    Picturing Peace

  • Biography


    B.A. University of Manchester, 1982

    M.A. Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1988.

    PhD. Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1993.



    I was born and grew up in Manchester, England, where I also earned a degree in Politics and Modern History. I moved to Israel in 1985, where I completed an MA and PhD in Political Science at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. After moving back to England in 1995, I directed an interdisciplinary Masters program in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham until 2006. A position in the Department of Communication and Culture drew me to Indiana University, Bloomington, and when the department was dissolved in 2015 I split my position between the Media School and the Political Science Department. I am also affiliated with the Cultural Studies Program and the Borns Jewish Studies Program.


    My undergraduate teaching is focused on the relationship between media, popular culture and politics, images in public culture, images of war and peace, and Israeli politics.

          Classes taught:

    2016: Israeli Politics

    2015: Media, Culture and Politics

    2011, 2013-15: Images of War and Peace in Israeli Public Culture

    2007-15: Image Cultures

    2006-10: Words and Images in Politics and Culture

    2006-9, 2013-14: Public Culture and Popular Culture


    My graduate seminars address relationships between aesthetics and politics, image critique, the intersections between media, political and cultural theory, and close reading of texts.

         Seminar topics:

    2014: Signs, Discourse, Language and Power (also as Introduction to Cultural Studies)

    2010-13: Reading the Text (Benjamin’s Arcades Project; Foucault’s History of Sexuality, Vol. I and Discipline and Punish; Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals)

    2007-8, 2012, 2015: Images and Critique in Public Culture

    2006-7, 2009-10, 2013: Aesthetics and Politics



    Many of my research publications can be found online at

    Trained in political theory, and having published a book on Michel Foucault’s political thought in 1995, I have a record of publication that builds from my initial focus on post-structuralist and feminist political theory. I subsequently expanded my expertise to include cultural and media theory and analysis. Since 1999 I have published a series of essays about the complex relationships between democratic politics and media, popular culture and politics, politics and aesthetics, governmentality and technology, and the constitution of political subjectivities. This accumulative project began as an effort to recuperate aesthetics in political theory, which has often been antipathetic to the aestheticization of politics.

    Political images have become the focus of my work on the blending of democratic politics and mediated culture. Feeling a need to anchor my theoretical interest in political imagery in concrete politics, I turned my long-standing concern for Israeli-Palestinian politics into a scholarly focus. In the summer of 2009 I began a funded study of Israeli images of peace that has a novel interdisciplinary approach to the notion of political imagery, drawing from scholarship in the fields of political theory, media studies, visual studies, political marketing and art history. I treat images as abstract, complex condensations of an assemblage of cultural and historical associations, manifested through visual and other media and public discourses. I study the peace organisations’ grassroots performances, mediated activism and material political imagination of peace.

    Selected publications

    “Peace of Ass / Walking the Peace Talk: A non-artists’ statement” [with Ariel Katz]. International Journal of Žižek Studies, Vol 9 No. 1 (2015).

    “Benjamin’s communist idea: Aestheticized politics, technology, and the rehearsal of revolution,” European Journal of Political Thought. August 1, 2014 (online publication).

    “Promoting Peace: Peace Now as a graphic peace movement, 1987-1993,” Quest: Issues in Contemporary Jewish History 5 (2013), pp. 124-59.

    “Peace Now or Never? Images of Peace in the Israeli Peace Movement.” In Stephen Gibson and Simon Mollan (eds.) Representations of Peace and Conflict (Palgrave-Macmillan: Basingstoke, 2012), pp. 23-44.

    “Mediated Construction of the People: Laclau’s Political Theory and Media Politics.” In Lincoln Dahlberg and Sean Phelan (eds.) Discourse Theory and Critical Media Politics (Palgrave-Macmillan: Basingstoke, 2011), pp. 201-21.

    From Agamben To Žižek: Contemporary Critical Theorists (edited). (Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, 2010).

    “From Visual Literacy to Image Competence”. In James Elkins (ed.) Visual Literacy (Routledge: New York, 2008), pp. 77-90.

    Images: A Reader (co-edited with Sunil Manghani and Arthur Piper) (Sage: London, 2006).

    “Televisual Popular Politics: Diana and Democracy”. In John Hall, Blake Stimson and Lisa Tamiris Becker (eds.) Visual Worlds (Routledge: London, 2005), pp. 44-55.

    Contemporary Critical Theorists: From Lacan to Said (edited). (Edinburgh University Press, 2004).

    “Popular Culture and Mediated Politics: Intellectuals, Elites and Democracy”. In John Corner and Dick Pels (eds.) Media and the Restyling of Politics (Sage: London, 2003), pp. 171-89.

    “Governing the Public: Technologies of Mediation and Popular Culture.” Cultural Values Vol. 6, Nos. 1&2 (2002), pp. 167-81.

    From Kant to Lévi-Strauss: The Background to Contemporary Critical Theory (edited). (Edinburgh University Press, 2002).

    “Ideology, Imagology and Critical Thought: The Impoverishment of Politics.” Journal of Political Ideology Vol. 5 No. 1 (2000), pp. 81-103.

    Foucault and the Political (Routledge: London, 1995).

    Video presentation

    “A Stony Field, An Olive Grove, An Iron Dome: Researching Peace in Israel/Palestine at a Time of War.” Colloquium of Department of Communication and Culture, Indiana University, Bloomington, April 19th, 2013.

    Scholarly editing

    2013-15 – Editor in Chief of Culture, Theory and Critique.

    2002 – present: Member of executive editorial board of Culture, Theory and Critique.

    2006-12: Co-editor of Manchester University Press book series, Reappraising the Political.

                    Public writing

    1994-5: Columnist for Jerusalem Post.

    Guest contributions to: Ceasefire online magazine:

    Member contributions to The Vision Machine: Media – War – Peace