Latest Blog Posts
Leonor Fini’s Surrealist Object and Other Marvelous Precipitates of Desire
Mar 16, 2023
"Objet trouvé par Leonor Fini. Couverture d ’ un livre ayant séjourné dans la mer.” (“Object found by Leonor Fini. Cover of a book that has spent time in the sea.”)
Like all object labels, this label tells a story. The first sentence is true. The second, a seductive fiction.
The artist Leonor Fini did find this object, but not on a beach. Though seemingly encrusted with mud and marine matter, it has never spent time in a sea. Instead, it is a German-...
Creative Scholarship, or Doubling Down
Feb 16, 2023
I’m sometimes told by people who work outside of universities that being a teacher-writer-editor in an English Department sounds great, and occasionally it is. Yet lately everything “great” about academia sounds ominous: the Great Resignation, The Great Faculty Disengagement , The Great Pause after the Great Pivot. ...
Epistemology of Hoodies: On the Black and Nonbinary
Feb 8, 2023
It was 1:14pm central standard time on a Friday. There was a meme on reddit. An image of what looked like knights around a stone table. They held their swords out, guiding them in coalition, not, in this meme, in “brotherhood,” facing the center of the table. A redditor annotated each sword: one sword labeled “gamers,” another “college students.” The remaining three swords, the swords in the middle of this phalanx, were labeled “trans women,” “trans men,” and “nonbinaries.” Each of these...
Finding Africa in Benaras: Postcolonial Citation in Jai Baba Felunath (1979)
Jan 26, 2023
This summer, as I was wrapping up my dissertation and packing my boxes in upstate New York, I started watching Satyajit Ray’s Jai Baba Felunath ( The Elephant God , 1979) after what felt like a lifetime. The film is based on a novel from Ray’s own children’s detective series featuring the celebrated Bengali private investigator Prodosh C. Mitter, aka Felu-da (“da” being an affectionate honorific for elder brother). In a 1980 review, Gene Moscowitz calls it “Ray’s bow to...