Jonathan Flatley is a Professor in the English department at Wayne State University, where he was the Editor of Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts from 2007-2012. He is the author of Affective Mapping: Melancholia and the Politics of Modernism (Harvard, 2008) and Like Andy Warhol (just published by the University of Chicago Press), and co-editor (with Jennifer Doyle and José Esteban Muñoz) of Pop Out: Queer Warhol (Duke University Press, 1996). He is currently working on a book called Black Leninism: How Revolutionary Counter-Moods Are Made.
In periods of widely experienced political depression and frustration, it can be easy to forget that otherwise discouraged, alienated or cynical people do sometimes come together in solidarity to form energetic, hopeful, and demanding collectives, which then engage in transformative political action. In the effort to understand how such revolutionary counter-moods are awakened, the black radical tradition offers a formidable resource. From W. E. B. Du Bois to the Black Lives Matter movement, we find an ongoing preoccupation with the representation and creation of those moments when black people come together as a group for whom political action against the forces of white supremacy seems urgent and obvious.