Metagestures news, and assorted updates!

Happy summer, y’all! It’s been year of transitions, and I haven’t been here much while I took a hiatus from podcasting, finished up some other things, and did some re-orienting. It’s good to be back. I’m about to move to a brand new position as Andrew W. Mellon Chair in History at the University of Pittsburgh, and I’m really thrilled to be joining such a … Continue reading Metagestures news, and assorted updates!

Symposium, Reimagined

Happy holidays! I’ve just added a page for a project that I’m very, very excited about. Carrie Jenkins and I are writing a book together, reimagining Plato’s Symposium in a hybrid poetry/fiction format. You’ll find our own versions of the speeches of the text – of Phaedrus, of Aristophanes, of Diotima, etc – as inspired by Tarot cards, outer space, a love affair between Sappho and Medusa, and much … Continue reading Symposium, Reimagined

Gestures of Photographing

I’m so excited to share the first public fruits of the Meta-gestures project that Dominic Pettman and I are collaborating on. The project itself is a hybrid of fiction and theory that explores gesture through Vilém Flusser’s work. We just published our first pair of stories in the wonderful new Thresholds journal. Head over there to explore our gestures of photographing! We designed the piece … Continue reading Gestures of Photographing

The Social Life of Inkstones: An Interview

Dorothy Ko’s new book is a must-read. Troubling the hierarchy of head over hands and the propensity to denigrate craftsmen in Chinese history, The Social Life of Inkstones: Artisans and Scholars in Early Qing China (University of Washington Press, 2017) explores the place of inkstones in the early Qing political project in a story that places ink-grinding stones and their craftspersons at the center. Ko’s book … Continue reading The Social Life of Inkstones: An Interview

Face/On: An Interview

Sharrona Pearl’s new book is an absolute pleasure to read. Face/On: Face Transplants and the Ethics of the Other (The University of Chicago Press, 2017) looks closely at facial allotransplantations, commonly known as face transplants, in order to offer a careful and fascinating study of the stakes for changing the face, and the changing stakes for the face. Troubling the indexical relationship between the face and … Continue reading Face/On: An Interview

Synthetic: An Interview

Sophia Roosth’s wonderful new book follows researchers clustered around MIT beginning in 2003 who named themselves synthetic biologists. A historically informed anthropological analysis based on many years of ethnographic work, Synthetic: How Life Got Made (University of Chicago Press, 2017) offers a fascinating account of the changing relationship between making and understanding in the life sciences, and of the metamorphoses of life itself as an analytic … Continue reading Synthetic: An Interview

A World Trimmed with Fur: An Interview

Jonathan Schlesinger’s new book makes a compelling case for the significance of Manchu and Mongolian sources and archival sources in particular in telling the story of the Qing empire and the invention of nature in its borderlands. A World Trimmed with Fur: Wild Things, Pristine Places, and the Natural Fringes of Qing Rule (Stanford University Press, 2017) traces the history of Qing nature and its environments … Continue reading A World Trimmed with Fur: An Interview

The Edge of Knowing: An Interview

Roy Bing Chan’s new book explores twentieth-century Chinese literature that emphasizes sleeping and dreaming as a way to reckon with the trauma of modernity, from the early May Fourth period through the end of the Cultural Revolution in the late 1970s. Informed by theoretical engagements with Russian Formalism, semiotics, psychoanalysis, Marxism, affect studies, and more, The Edge of Knowing: Dreams, History, and Realism in Modern Chinese … Continue reading The Edge of Knowing: An Interview

Placing Outer Space: An Interview

What kind of object is a planet? Lisa Messeri’s new book asks and addressed this question in a fascinating ethnography that explores how scientific practices transform planets into places and helps us understand why that matters not just for how we understand outer space, but also for how we understand the Earth and ourselves. Based on 15 months of participant observation in 2009 and 2010 … Continue reading Placing Outer Space: An Interview

The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History: An Interview

In The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Timothy Cheek offers a magisterial intellectual history of modern China that maps the changing terrain of intellectual life over a century so that the reader can place a particular figure, idea, or debate sensibly, helping the reader track different times, social worlds, and key concepts. It’s a wonderful book for readers of all sorts, and you … Continue reading The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History: An Interview