William John Thomas Mitchell (born March 24, 1942) — known as W.J.T. Mitchell — is the Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago. He is also the editor of Critical Inquiry, and contributes to the journal October.
His monographs, Iconology (1986) and Picture Theory (1994), focus on media theory and visual culture. He draws on ideas from Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx to demonstrate that, essentially, we must consider pictures to be living things. His collection of essays What Do Pictures Want? (2005) won the Modern Language Association's prestigious James Russell Lowell Prize in 2005. In a recent podcast interview Mitchell traces his interest in visual culture to early work on William Blake, and his then burgeoning interest in developing a science of images. In that same interview he discusses his ongoing efforts to rethink visual culture as a form of life and in light of digital media.