Jean Ma is a scholar of film and media history and theory, with specializations in Asian cinema, gender, sexuality, sound studies, and moving image art. Her books include Melancholy Drift: Marking Time in Chinese Cinema; Sounding the Modern Woman: The Songstress in Chinese Cinema; and Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography. She serves on the editorial board of Film Quarterly and is coeditor of the book series Music, Sound, and Media at the University of California Press.
From 2006 to 2023 she taught at Stanford University, where she was the Victoria and Roger Sant Professor in Art and the Denning Family Director of the Stanford Arts Institute.
Her recent book At the Edges of Sleep: Moving Images and Somnolent Spectators received a 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Book Grant and was shortlisted for the 2023 Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards. For more of her writing, see jeanma.xyz.