Skip to content


Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 4.00.50 PM

Mark Dery interviewing Thomas Dolby onstage, after a performance of his Invisible Lighthouse at the Swyer Theater in Albany, New York, October 25, 2013. Photo: Laura Weyl. Copyright Laura Weyl, all rights reserved.


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.

Lecture subjects include: • Edward Gorey • American Culture • The Digital Age • Media criticism/ media theory • Visual culture • Body studies • Science fiction • Aesthetic philosophy • Gender/ Masculinity/ Men’s studies • California studies • Afrofuturism • Culture Jamming/ Guerrilla media.

To arrange a lecture, e-mail



Exit Polls from Lecture Hosts:


“It is uncommon for introducers of our informal CabaretCinema series to prepare so assiduously for a presentation, but with Mark Dery we were treated to a wry, informative, and exquisitely turned treatise on the lasting relevance of A Clockwork Orange. He kept the full house rapt, which, at 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night is sometimes a challenge.”  — Tim McHenry, Producer, Rubin Museum of Art, New York

“Apart from being one of the most interesting and acute writers in contemporary American literature, Mark Dery is an outstanding lecturer. His profound knowledge of the many different features that make up the face of the world we live in turns his conferences and lectures into a whole adventure worth living. I had the honor of inviting him to a literary symposium that I organized in Mexico City, and the experience was truly satisfying.” — Mauricio Montiel, literary advisor in charge of organizing and coordinating the annual literary symposiums for the Festival de México en el Centro Histórico, Mexico City

“Time and again I turn to the writing of Mark Dery for inspiration and illumination and he is even more engaging in person than he is on the page. When we brought him out to lecture here for San Diego State University, he rocked the house. The cleverest cultural critic to have emerged in the United States in the late 20th Century, Dery has a roving, voracious, ferocious eye that investigates and outs national and international cultural complexities with a relentless tenacity that entertains as it inspires.” — Dr. William Nericcio, Director, The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences Program at San Diego State University

“Mark Dery is a true public intellectual—the kind of writer and speaker whose work resonates at a full-spectrum bandwidth to raise the cultural consciousness and critical understanding of students and professors alike. A consummate professional, a Wildean wit, and a true pleasure to work with, Mark Dery is the erudite and engaging guest speaker you’ve been waiting for.”— Mark Young, Ph.D, Warren College Writing Program, University of California, San Diego

Watch videos of Dery’s lectures:


•  “Nursery Crimes: Edward Gorey’s Morbid Nonsense,” Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin,  February 21, 2019. Watch HERE.

•  “Waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse: American Dreams, American Dread in the Age of Uncertainty,” at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), June 4, 2012. Watch HERE.

• “The Politics of Style,” at the School of Visual Arts, New York, as part of the MFA Design Criticism Department’s lecture series, December 12, 2011. Watch HERE.


Selected Lectures:



Afrofuturism Reloaded,” San Diego Central Library, December 1, 2018.

The Screams We Make In Other People’s Dreams: Edward Gorey, the Gay Gothic, and the Camp Macabre,” San Diego State University, November 29, 2018.

The Screams We Make In Other People’s Dreams: Edward Gorey, the Gay Gothic, and the Camp Macabre,” at the University of California, San Diego, November 28, 2018.


April 29: Panel, “GLAM!! A Celebration of Glitter Rock and Art Pop,” with Dan Fox, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, NYC.

April 22: Panel, “25 Years of Afrofuturism & Black Speculative Thought,” with Dr. Reynaldo Anderson, Sheree Renee Thomas, Tiffany Barber, at The Black Speculative Arts Movement Convention (#BSAMFUTURISMO2017), Bronx Museum of the Arts, NYC.


February 19: “On the Pathological Sublime: Dark Matter and Aesthetic Rapture,” Poyner Fellowship lecture at the Yale School of Art, Yale, New Haven.


March 4: “Waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse: American Dread, American Dreams in an Age of Uncertainty” at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), Baltimore, Maryland.


October 5: “Gray Matter: The Obscure Pleasures of Medical Libraries,” Festival of Medical History and the Arts, New York Academy of Medicine, NYC.


October 24: “Mark Dery reads from, and riffs on, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams, his new book exploring the edges of popular culture. Respondent: Stephen Duncombe (Gallatin, NYU),” Revealer Reading Series, NYU Bookstore, NY.

September 20, 2012: Reading from I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-By Essays on American Dread, American Dreams, Saint Thomas Aquinas College, Rockland County, NY.

June 30: Lecture on the attractions of anatomical curiosa; emcee remarks, with co-host Evan Michelson of the TLC reality-TV series Oddities, for “A Gala Benefit for The Morbid Anatomy Library,” The Observatory lecture hall, Brooklyn, NY.

June 4, 2012: Lecture at University of California San Diego (UCSD), hosted by the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), sponsored by the Gallery at Calit2. Precis: “In his multimedia lecture, ‘Waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse: American Dreams, American Dread in the Age of Uncertainty,’ cultural critic and cult author Mark Dery makes sense of the American madhouse, early in the 21st century. Using pop culture as his prism, Dery considers the zombie craze, our obsession with toy guns and movie violence, our frontier religiosity, and our homophobic machismo to refract the deeper meanings of who we are, as a nation, and where we’re going.”

May 29, 2012: In-store talk and signing at Skylight Books, Los Angeles.

April 21, 2012: Panel on “Nonfiction: Creativity & Imagination” (with David Bellos and Tom Bissell) at the 2012 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

April 19, 2012: Lecture on the split consciousness and Jekyll-Hyde cultural psyche of the San Diego borderlands, at Southwestern College, Chula Vista, CA.

April 17, 2012: Lecture on “Stoner Noir” and the Suburban Zeitgeist of ’70s SoCal, at San Diego State University, San Diego.

March 28, 2012: Lecture at launch party for Hidden Treasure from Blast Books and The National Library of Medicine, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, New York.


December 12, 2011: Lecture, “The Politics of Style,” about the Machine Age biases and gender politics of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, the million-selling little book that for many Americans continues to define “good writing.” At the School of Visual Arts, New York, as part of the MFA Design Criticism Department’s lecture series.

October 30, 2011: Lecture, “Metaphor as Illness,” a personal essay-cum-philosophical investigation into the ways in which disease widens the Cartesian chasm between wandering mind and body in pain, part of the international conference “Embodied Fantasies,” at the School of Visual Arts, New York.

June 21, 2011: Lecture, “Viddy Well,” introduction to a screening of A Clockwork Orange, part of the “movies and martinis” film series at the Rubin Museum of Art, in Manhattan.

April 21, 2011: Lecture, “(Face)Book of the Dead,” the private and the public, oversharing and underthinking in the Age of Always Connect, at MIT (hosted by the Department of Comparative Media Studies), in Boston.

April 16, 2011: Panel and lecture, “A Coney Island of the Mind: Dreamland and the Invention of the Postmodern,” at the Coney Island Museum, as part of the Congress of Curious Peoples conference in Brooklyn, New York.


December 21, 2010: Lecture, “The Vast Santanic Conspiracy: Is St. Nick the Tool of a Plot Too Monstrous to Mention?,”   at The Observatory artspace in Brooklyn, New York.

November 15, 2010: Lecture, “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts,” at the FLIPORTO book fair in Olinda, Brazil. Video here. The lecture was in support of the publication of I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Essays on American Empire, Digital Culture, Posthuman Porn, and the Sexual Symbolism of Madonna’s Big Toe (Editora Sulina), the Brazilian version, in Portuguese, of my University of Minnesota essay collection of the same name.

November 4, 2010: Lecture, extended version of “The Anatomical Unconscious: X-Ray Specs, Visible Women, and the Eros of the Unseen,” at The National Library of Medicine/NIH, Bethesda, Maryland.

July 18, 2010: Lecture, extended version of “The Anatomical Unconscious: X-Ray Specs, Visible Women, and the Eros of the Unseen,” at The Observatory artspace in Brooklyn, New York.

April 30, 2010: Lecture, “The Anatomical Unconscious: X-Ray Specs, Visible Women, and the Eros of the Unseen,” at “Imaging / Imagining the Skeleton,” a conference held at the CUNY Graduate Center, New York City.

January 12, 2010: Panel, lecture on Fair Use and appropriation art (“mash-ups,” remixes, etc.) at World’s Fair Use Day conference, hosted at the Freedom Forum in Washington, D.C., by Public Knowledge, a “public interest group working to defend citizens’ rights in the emerging digital culture.”


March 15-20, 2009: 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.


October 12, 2008: Moderated panel on “The French Banlieues in the Media: Fantasy or Reality?,” as part of the I Kiffe New York: French Urban Cultures Festival co-hosted by the French embassy and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), at the Tinker Auditorium, New York City.

September 19, 2008: Keynote speech on the jazz composer Sun Ra, “Set Phasers on Funky,” exploring Ra’s science-fiction cosmology and musical bricolage within the critical framework of Afrofuturism (African-American culture’s historical relationship to science, technology, and sci-fi mythology). ZXZW, arts and culture festival featuring the Sun Ra Arkestra, in Tilburg, Netherlands.

March 20, 2008: Keynote lecture on the countercultural Christianity of the 1970s, “In Case of Rapture, Car Will Be Driverless: Waiting for the End of the World in ’70s Southern California,” at “Sacred & Profane: Meditations on a World in Translation,” a conference at San Diego State University.


October 6, 2007: Keynote lecture on “humanimal” porn in the age of genetic chimera and xenotransplants for the international conference “Arse Elektronika” at Pornplace, (San Francisco, CA).

June 26, 2007: Lecture on the cultural crosstalk between warporn and gorenography (Saw, Hostel, et. al.); pathological masculinity in Dubya’s America; and the homoerotic subtext of male bonding in the military, at the Brazil Federal University Federal University Lecture Hall in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This lecture was part of the Frontiers of Contemporary Thought 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.


April 7, 2006: Lecture, “The Savage Eye: War Porn, Video Beheadings, and the Politics of ‘Just Looking’ in the Age of Abu Ghraib,” at the Maryland Institute College of Art.


November 28, 2005: Lecture, “Collateral Damage: Aesthetic Pleasures and the Pain of Others,” at the University of Buffalo, New York.

October 10, 2005: Participant, panel on trendspotting the future, Time magazine. Panel also included Malcolm Gladwell, Esther Dyson, Moby, Tim O’Reilly, Clay Shirky. Transcript published in Time’s October 24, 2005 issue.

September 30-October 1, 2005: Keynote lecture, “Paradise Lust,” on utopian sexual subcultures on the Web, at “The Art and Politics of Netporn,” De Badcuyp, Amsterdam; supported by the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and Interactive Media, Hogeschool van Amsterdam. Participants included Mikita Brottmann, David Sterritt, and Geert Lovink, among others.

June 24, 2005: Lecture, “Gross Anatomy: Fat Porn and Rabelaisian Bodies in a Supersized America,” at the 2005 Media Ecology Conference, Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, New York City.

May 21, 2005: Keynote lecture, “Wired Man’s Burden: The Incredible Whiteness of Being Digital,” at the 2005 Afrogeeks conference (“Global Blackness and the Digital Sphere”), masterminded by Anna Everett, director of the UCSB Center for Black Studies, and hosted by UC Santa Barbara. Other participants included Dick Hebdige, Alondra Nelson, and Mendi and Keith Obadike, among others.

May 19, 2005: Lecture, “The Sexual Grotesque: Pomosexualities and Robopathologies on the Web,” at the Rx Gallery (part of Blasthaus performance space), San Francisco.

May 3, 2005: Lecture, “The Evil Empire,” on the cultural psyche of late-imperial America, hosted by the National University of Mexico at the Casa del Lago, in Mexico City.

April 29, 2005: Lecture and panel, “Nostalgia” conference hosted by Cabinet magazine at the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City. Other participants included Luc Sante, Celeste Olalquiaga, Daniel Rosenberg, Sven-Olov Wallenstein, and Andreas Huyssen.


October 20, 2003: Lecture, “The Third Reich of Dreams:  Hitler Stalks American Pop Culture,” at the Mufathalle artspace and concert hall, Munich, Germany.

September 19, 2003: Keynote lecture at “Games Without Borders,” at UT Austin, Texas.

April 10, 2003: Lecture, “Collapsing New Buildings: The Trade Towers, Terror Art, and the Excesses of Aesthetic Philosophy,” Recital Hall, PAC, University of Albany (Uptown Campus).

April 10, 2003: Lecture/discussion with cultural critic/media theorist McKenzie Wark, “The Politics of Media: Culture Jammers, Hackers, Hacktivists, and Other Encounters between Art, Media, and Technology,” at University of Albany Art Museum.


April 18-20, 2002: Keynote lecture and panel at “AIM (Art in Motion) II: Luna Park Project,” at USC and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. Other participants included Laurence Rickels, Peter Lunenfeld, James der Derian, Simon Penny.


Nov. 2, 2001: Keynote lecture and respondent to artist presentations at “Utopia Now,” conference on architectural utopias at California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland.

June 6, 2001: “Prankster Forum,” the 2001 Toyota Comedy Festival, at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, New York, NY. Lectured on the media hoax as sociopolitical satire; hosted panel of pranksters, with Andrew Boyd, Carrie McLaren, Scott Pelligrino.


January 10-21, 2000: Visiting lecturer in the University of California at Irvine’s Distinguished Fellows program.