Christina Sharpe in conversation with John Keene

FEB 06, 2017 | 6:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


9100: Skylight Room


February 06, 2017: 6:30 PM




Intellectual Publics


In In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, Christina Sharpe initiates and describes a theory and method of reading the metaphors and materiality of "the wake," "the ship," "the hold," and "the weather." In doing so she shows how the sign of the slave ship and its wake mark and haunt contemporary Black life in the diaspora and how the specter of the hold produces conditions of containment, regulation, and punishment, but also something in excess of them. In “the weather,” Sharpe situates anti-Blackness and white supremacy as the total climate that renders Black life precarious and produces premature Black death as normative and also generates multiple sites and modes of Black resistance. 

Christina Sharpe is an associate professor at Tufts University in the department of English and the programs in Africana and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her second book, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, was published by Duke University Press in November 2016 and was named in the Guardian as one of the best books of 2016. Her first book Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects was published in 2010, also by Duke University Press. She is currently working on a critical introduction to the Collected Poems of Dionne Brand (1982-2010) and two monographs: Thinking Juxtapositionally and Refusing Necrotopia. She is the recipient of a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Tufts University Deans’ Research Semester. She has recently contributed an essay (Love is the Message) to the book produced to accompany Arthur Jafa’s first solo exhibition Love is the Message, The Message is Death. She has also published essays recently in The Black Scholar, American Literary History, and The New Inquiry.

John Keene is the author of the novel Annotations (New Directions); the short fiction collection Counternarratives (New Directions), which received a 2016 American Book Award and a 2016 Lannan Literary Award in Fiction; the art-text collection Seismosis (1913 Press) with artist Christopher Stackhouse; the art-text collaboration with photographer Nicholas Muellner GRIND (ITI Press); and, most recently, the chapbook Playland (Seven Kitchens Press). He has also published a translation of Brazilian author Hilda Hilst's novel Letters from a Seducer (Nightboat Books/A Bolha Editora), as well as translations of a wide variety of poetry and prose from Portuguese, French, and Spanish. A longtime member of the Dark Room Writers Collective and a graduate fellow of Cave Canem, he chairs the department of African American and African Studies and also teaches English and creative writing at Rutgers University-Newark.