Manic Depression: A Poetics of Hesitant Sociology

Thu, Mar 30 2017 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Main Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Hall

The talk is an engagement with poet Rita Dove’s rendering of David Walker’s Appeal and social theorist Jared Sexton’s deployment of that rendering. It investigates the particular set of aesthetic and social forces and desires that result in and emerge from the seemingly simple phenomenon of black people looking at each other. Is that phenomenon an action or an event? Does that looking presuppose or produce subjects and objects? What work does such looking do on or for or to or against the world? In addressing these questions, the talk also seeks to contribute to an analysis of class struggle in black studies.

Fred Moten is Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, where he teaches courses and conducts research in black studies, performance studies, poetics and literary theory. He is author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (University of Minnesota Press, 2003); Hughson’s Tavern (Leon Works, 2009); B. Jenkins (Duke University Press, 2010); The Feel Trio (Letter Machine Editions, 2014), which was a poetry finalist for the National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the California Book Award for poetry; The Little Edges (Wesleyan University Press, 2015), which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and The Service Porch (Letter Machine Editions, 2016). Moten is also co-author, with Stefano Harney, of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (Minor Compositions/Autonomedia, 2013) and, with Wu Tsang, of Who touched me? (If I Can’t Dance, I Don't Want to be Part of Your Revolution, 2016). His current projects include two critical texts, consent not to be a single being (forthcoming from Duke University Press) and Hesitant Sociology: Blackness and Poetry, which extend his study of black art and social life. Moten is a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow.

Professor Eric Schocket taught American literature at Hampshire College from 1996 until his death in 2006. A much-admired teacher and colleague, his courses inspired a generation of students. Nationally, he was a leading figure in working-class studies. His writings on figures like Herman Melville, Rebecca Harding Davis, William Dean Howells, and Langston Hughes engaged the important relationship between class and culture. His book, Vanishing Moments: Class and American Literature, was published in 2006.
For more information, please contact Linda Green (, Assistant to the Dean in the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies at Hampshire.

We hope you will join us!

Hampshire College
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