When I tell people we’re running a crowdfunding campaign for our digital humanities (DH) project, their first question, before even asking about my project, is “why?” Why would you fundraise? It’s a good question: I’m a tenured professor at a “research college,” and I direct a digital humanities program at Five Colleges. What you should hear in that declaration is you have affiliations; you have access. But it is precisely because of this access and affiliation that I also have to think about what it means to not have it. Whether I admit it or not, I have joined the gatekeeping class. Read more.
... I know there are some meta things I could say here about shock, about how the bright flash of the event’s suddenness made the memory into this weirdly static thing. But let that be someone else’s job... ⇢ read more
Each of the authors in this collection takes up a different aspect of Glissant’s work and extends it in different directions. twentieth-century French philosophy (Bergson, Badiou, Meillassoux), the cannon of Caribbean literature, North American literature and cultural theory, and contemporary cultural politics in Glissant’s home country of Martinique all receive close, critical treatment. What emerges from this collection is a vision of Glissant as a deeply philosophical thinker, whose philosophical character draws from the deep resources of Caribbean memory and history. Glissant’s central notions of rhizome, chaos, opacity, and creolization are given a deeper and wider appreciation through accounts of those resources in detailed conceptual studies. ⇢ Learn more
What might it mean to “remember” something that is not of one’s own direct experience? To remember someone else’s memories?
Looking at texts including Jean Toomer’s Cane, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, James Baldwin’s Another Country, and Bob Kaufman’s poetry, Haunting and Displacement describes phenomena of haunting, displacement, and ghostliness as central to modern African American literature and culture. ⇢ Learn more
This is a talk I gave on Octavia Butler at the American Studies Association conference in November 2014. As you can see from the title, it covers a lot. It’s a survey of ideas, with some comments on the difference between afrofuturism and astrofuturism. Most of my discussion on Butler comes at the end. ⇢ Watch presentation
Click here to visit Finding Estella: An Octavia E. Butler Research Pocket
Please click here to visit the Black Haunts in the Anthropocene digital essay...
These images are interesting to me because their inky flows remind me of wind’s dark power, that wind is both fuel and engine, an element in every sense. And the headline feels wrong because the images contradict it so fully— the images actually “say” too much. ⇢ read more
"Without Innovation." In this talk I'm bringing some important thinkers from the African American tradition, Fred Moten, Angela Davis, Frederick Douglass, to bear on two interlocked matters, 1. the continually haunted origins of so much technological innovation, and by extension the digital humanities (think here of the important work typified in the recent issue of differences, on the "dark side" of digital humanities... ⇢ read more
So here I was, with the daunting task of writing about an exhibit that was “about” everything that cannot be experienced from a far distance— tactility, aroma. It seemed to me that Persson’s exhibit would require the visitor’s nodal body to act self-consciously as the site of encounter with the sculpture. In this exhibit, what is familiar to the eye would also undeniably be understood as something else to the hand and foot. ⇢ read more
I woke up this morning and looked through the window at the foot of my bed. The trees were swaying in the wind and the snow sugarspun along, left and right, down and around. It was beautiful and I was at home, that fact alone glamorous for a Tuesday morning. My first thought? This storm is boring. It was snowy, but not snowy enough. It was windy, but not windy enough. This was no snowmageddon, no “winter is coming”... continue reading at Medium.com ⇢"
But what DuVernay puts front and center is the terror that comes with asking people to join you in that darkness, to be willing to die suddenly and brutally. Not only is the audience haunted by its knowledge that King <em>will</em> die, we must also come to terms with the fact that violence was King's only real card, in the sense that it would take the spectacle of physical brutality to motivate recognition of the daily subjugation of black people. And, for that to work, people had to be willing to risk their lives, and King's team had to be willing to ask them to do so and watch them as they suffered and died. ⇢ Read more