Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Moving Image Studies

First Advisor

Alessandra Raengo

Second Advisor

Jennifer Barker

Third Advisor

David Cheshier

Fourth Advisor

Rebekah Sheldon


Aesthetic category theory and assemblage theory are both underutilized in the context of media studies. This dissertation argues that the application of these methods to media objects can generate productive ways of understanding how those media objects address human finitude. Developing three aesthetic categories of human finitude (bleakness, post-apocalypse, and annihilation), this dissertation then outlines those categories in their material and historical contexts. These categories are argued through in a linear manner, and they progressively are characterized by a change from stasis to movement, and this argument takes them to their limit within annihilation, arguing that the only way to move beyond the limit point of human finitude would be the utter destruction of aesthetics itself.

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