J.R. Osborn is a scholar and experimentalist of communication. His work explores media history, design, semiotics, communication technologies, and aesthetics with a regional focus of the Middle East and Africa. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Georgetown University’s Communication, Culture, & Technology (CCT) Program and Co-Director of Georgetown’s Technology Design Studio. In the past, he has taught, worked, and studied in Jordan, Yemen, Turkey, Mexico, Zimbabwe, the U.A.E, and Switzerland. J.R. enjoys dreaming abstractly and communicating materially.
Media, Script, Type, Diagrams, Museums, Reflexivity, Islamic Art, African Art, Graphic Design, Semiotics, Retrofuturology, History of Technology, Comparative Media, Aesthetics, Comic Books
Ph.D. in Communication, University of California-San Diego (UCSD), 2008
M.A. in Communication, University of California-San Diego (UCSD), 2003
Certificate in Ethnographic Film from the UCSD Ethnographic Film Lab, 2003
B.A. in Religious Studies, Grinnell College, 1997
Georgetown University, Washington, DC, United States
University of California-San Diego (UCSD), La Jolla, CA, United States
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, United States
Newberry Library, Chicago, IL
Süleymaniye Yazma Eser Kütüphanesi (Süleymaniye Manuscript Library), Istanbul, Turkey
The American University in Dubai (AUD), Dubai, UAE
The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, United States
Publications and Exhibitions
Letters of Light: Arabic Script in Manuscript, Print, and Digital Design (2017, Harvard University Press).
African Art Reframed: Reflections and Dialogues on Museum Culture, co-author with Bennetta Jules-Rosette (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming)
Glitter Dust: Finding Art in Dubai, directed by Katy Chang. Roles: Producer, Co-Director, and Editor (2011, 63-minute documentary feature)
The Pilgrimage Project (2016 interactive digital, multimedia, and performance installation), Role: Curator
- “The Pilgrimage Project: Speculative Design for Engaged Interdisciplinary Education” (first author, with Evan Barba, Lisa Strong, Gretchen Hendersen, and Lesley Kadish), Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 2017.
“Remixing Rouch: Cybernetics, Possession, and the Noise of Ethnographic Media.” Critical Interventions: A Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture 8 (3): 209-303.
Cinématon: Behind the Scenes (2012), Roles: Director, Cinematography, Editor
“New Jack African Cinema: Hollywood in Action” (co-author with Bennetta Jules-Rosette and Lea Marie Ruiz-Ade). In MaryEllen Higgins, ed. Hollywood’s Africa After 1994. (Ohio University Press, 2012)
“Marcelo Lima: Postcards from the Aesthetic Diaspora.” In Marcelo Guimarães Lima, Heterochronia & Vanishing Viewpoints: Art Chronicles and Essays. (Metasenta Publishing, 2012)
“Tankei Murayama on Modern Japanese Calligraphy” (co-author with Marcelo Guimarães Lima, Tankei Murayama, and T. Kato). Panoptikon Papers: On Contemporary Visual Culture. Dubai, UAE. ISSN 1996-0344.
“Narratives of Arabic Script: Calligraphic Design and Modern Spaces.” Design and Culture 1 (3): 289-306.
“Building Cultural Capital: Contemporary Art in Dubai and the African Art Circuit” (co-author with Katy Chang). Panoptikon Papers: On Contemporary Visual Culture. Dubai, UAE. ISSN 1996-0344.
“Unmixing the Chaos: African and Diasporic Art on Display in Global Context” (co-author with Bennetta Jules-Rosette). Critical Interventions: A Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture 2 (3-4): 21-37
Newberry Library Holdings related to Arabic Script, the Printing of Arabic Characters, and Middle Eastern Print.
“Islamic Traditions of the Book: Calligraphy, Performance, and Print.” International Journal of the Book. 3 (3): 33-38.
“Theory-Pictures as Trails: Diagrams and the Visualization of Theoretical Narratives.” Cognitive Science Online, 3 (2):15-44.
“Spectacular Colleges and Spectacular Rankings: The U.S. News Rankings of American ‘Best’ Colleges.” (co-author with Gordon Chang). Journal of Consumer Culture, 5 (3): 338-364.
“Islamic Calligraphy as Recitation: The Visual Expansion of Divine Words.” Humanities and Technology Review 24 (Fall): 15-29.