Flexner Lectureship

Fred Moten, a leading scholar in the fields of Black studies and critical theory, with special concern for the entanglement of social movement and aesthetic experiment, will hold the 2020 Mary Flexner Lectureship at Bryn Mawr College. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in October 2020.  While in virtual residence at Bryn Mawr, Moten will deliver three public lectures on his new work.

For complete information about The Mary Flexner Lectureship and to register, please visit www.brynmawr.edu/flexner/

In the Break

In the Break
$24.00
In his controversial essay on white jazz musician Burton Greene, Amiri Baraka asserted that jazz was exclusively an African American art form and explicitly fused the idea of a black aesthetic with radical political traditions of the African diaspora. In the Break is an extended riff on OC The Burton Greene Affair, OCO exploring the tangled relationship between black avant-garde in music and literature in the 1950s and 1960s, the emergence of a distinct form of black cultural nationalism, and the complex engagement with and disavowal of homoeroticism that bridges the two. Fred Moten focuses in particular on the brilliant improvisatory jazz of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, and others, arguing that all black performanceOCoculture, politics, sexuality, identity, and blackness itselfOCois improvisation. For Moten, improvisation provides a unique epistemological standpoint from which to investigate the provocative connections between black aesthetics and Western philosophy. He engages in a strenuous critical analysis of Western philosophy (Heidegger, Kant, Husserl, Wittgenstein, and Derrida) through the prism of radical black thought and culture. As the critical, lyrical, and disruptive performance of the human, MotenOCOs concept of blackness also brings such figures as Frederick Douglass and Karl Marx, Cecil Taylor and Samuel R. Delany, Billie Holiday and William Shakespeare into conversation with each other. Stylistically brilliant and challenging, much like the music he writes about, MotenOCOs wide-ranging discussion embraces a variety of disciplinesOCosemiotics, deconstruction, genre theory, social history, and psychoanalysisOCoto understand the politicized sexuality, particularly homoeroticism, underpinning black radicalism. In the Break is the inaugural volume in MotenOCOs ambitious intellectual project-to establish an aesthetic genealogy of the black radical tradition. "
ISBN/SKU: 
9780816641000
Publication Date: 
April 9, 2003
Author: 

Little Edges

Little Edges
$15.95
Winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship (2016)

The Little Edges is a collection of poems that extends poet Fred Moten's experiments in what he calls "shaped prose"--a way of arranging prose in rhythmic blocks, or sometimes shards, in the interest of audio-visual patterning. Shaped prose is a form that works the "little edges" of lyric and discourse, and radiates out into the space between them. As occasional pieces, many of the poems in the book are the result of a request or commission to comment upon a work of art, or to memorialize a particular moment or person. In Moten's poems, the matter and energy of a singular event or person are transformed by their entrance into the social space that they, in turn, transform. An online reader's companion is available at http: //fredmoten.site.wesleyan.edu.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780819576705
Publication Date: 
July 5, 2016
Author: 

Poetics of the Undercomons

$16.00
ISBN/SKU: 
9780997620900

Stolen Life (Consent Not to Be a Single Being)

Stolen Life (Consent Not to Be a Single Being)
$27.95
"Taken as a trilogy, consent not to be a single being is a monumental accomplishment: a brilliant theoretical intervention that might be best described as a powerful case for blackness as a category of analysis."--Brent Hayes Edwards, author of Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination

In Stolen Life--the second volume in his landmark trilogy consent not to be a single being--Fred Moten undertakes an expansive exploration of blackness as it relates to black life and the collective refusal of social death. The essays resist categorization, moving from Moten's opening meditation on Kant, Olaudah Equiano, and the conditions of black thought through discussions of academic freedom, writing and pedagogy, non-neurotypicality, and uncritical notions of freedom. Moten also models black study as a form of social life through an engagement with Fanon, Hartman, and Spillers and plumbs the distinction between blackness and black people in readings of Du Bois and Nahum Chandler. The force and creativity of Moten's criticism resonate throughout, reminding us not only of his importance as a thinker, but of the continued necessity of interrogating blackness as a form of sociality.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780822370581
Publication Date: 
August 10, 2018
Author: 
Publisher: 

Universal Machine (Consent Not to Be a Single Being)

Universal Machine (Consent Not to Be a Single Being)
$27.95
"Taken as a trilogy, consent not to be a single being is a monumental accomplishment: a brilliant theoretical intervention that might be best described as a powerful case for blackness as a category of analysis."-Brent Hayes Edwards, author of Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination

In The Universal Machine-the concluding volume to his landmark trilogy consent not to be a single being-Fred Moten presents a suite of three essays on Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, and Frantz Fanon, in which he explores questions of freedom, capture, and selfhood. In trademark style, Moten considers these thinkers alongside artists and musicians such as William Kentridge and Curtis Mayfield while interrogating the relation between blackness and phenomenology. Whether using Levinas's idea of escape in unintended ways, examining Arendt's antiblackness through Mayfield's virtuosic falsetto and Anthony Braxton's musical language, or showing how Fanon's form of phenomenology enables black social life, Moten formulates blackness as a way of being in the world that evades regulation. Throughout The Universal Machine-and the trilogy as a whole-Moten's theorizations of blackness will have a lasting and profound impact.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780822370550
Publication Date: 
August 6, 2018
Author: 
Publisher: 

Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly

Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly
$13.98
$27.95
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$13.97
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Judith Butler was the 2011 holder of the Flexner Lectureship.

Judith Butler elucidates the dynamics of public assembly under prevailing economic and political conditions, analyzing what they signify and how. Understanding assemblies as plural forms of performative action, Butler extends her theory of performativity to argue that precarity--the destruction of the conditions of livability--has been a galvanizing force and theme in today's highly visible protests.

Butler broadens the theory of performativity beyond speech acts to include the concerted actions of the body. Assemblies of physical bodies have an expressive dimension that cannot be reduced to speech, for the very fact of people gathering "says" something without always relying on speech. Drawing on Hannah Arendt's view of action, yet revising her claims about the role of the body in politics, Butler asserts that embodied ways of coming together, including forms of long-distance solidarity, imply a new understanding of the public space of appearance essential to politics.

Butler links assembly with precarity by pointing out that a body suffering under conditions of precarity still persists and resists, and that mobilization brings out this dual dimension of corporeal life. Just as assemblies make visible and audible the bodies that require basic freedoms of movement and association, so do they expose coercive practices in prison, the dismantling of social democracy, and the continuing demand for establishing subjugated lives as mattering, as equally worthy of life. By enacting a form of radical solidarity in opposition to political and economic forces, a new sense of "the people" emerges, interdependent, grievable, precarious, and persistent.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780674967755
Publication Date: 
November 17, 2015
Author: 

Courtly Encounters

Courtly Encounters
$34.50

Sanjay Subrahmanyam was the 2009 holder of the Flexner Lectureship.

Cross-cultural encounters in Europe and Asia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries brought the potential for bafflement, hostility, and admiration. The court was the crucial site where expanding Eurasian states and empires met and were forced to make sense of one another. By looking at these interactions, Courtly Encounters provides a fresh cross-cultural perspective on the worlds of early modern Islam, Counter-Reformation Catholicism, Protestantism, and a newly emergent Hindu sphere.

Both individual agents and objects such as texts and paintings helped mediate encounters between courts, which possessed rules and conventions that required decipherment and translation, whether in words or in pictures. Sanjay Subrahmanyam gives special attention to the depiction of South Asian empires in European visual representations, finding a complex history of cultural exchange: the Mughal paintings that influenced Rembrandt and other seventeenth-century Dutch painters had themselves been earlier influenced by Dutch naturalism. Courtly Encounters provides a rich array of images from Europe, the Islamic world, India, and Southeast Asia as aids for understanding the reciprocal nature of cross-cultural exchanges. It also looks closely at how insults and strategic use of martyrdom figured in courtly encounters.

As he sifts through the historical record, Subrahmanyam finds little evidence for the cultural incommensurability many ethnohistorians have insisted on. Most often, he discovers negotiated ways of understanding one another that led to mutual improvisation, borrowing, and eventually change.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780674067059
Publication Date: 
January 7, 2021
Author: