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Matt Tierney

Matt Tierney

Assistant Professor of English

Office: 206 Burrowes Building
Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

Office Hours:

  • Scholar-in-Residence, Humanities Institute (Fall 2018)
  • Available by appointment

Education

  1. Ph.D. in Modern Culture and Media, Brown University, 2012
  2. M.A. in Literature, University of California-Santa Cruz, 2006
  3. A.B. with honors in American Studies, Cornell University, 1999

Professional Bio

My fields include literary and media theory, cultural studies, and the literature and film of the United States. My particular interest is in Twentieth-Century aesthetic interventions into the politics of race, gender, and technology.

I have just completed a new book, entitled Dismantlings: Cyberculture and Luddism in U.S. Literary Politics of the Long Seventies. Bringing
speculative thought to bear on
activist practices and experimental literature, Dismantlings theorizes ways to oppose technocentric and globalist thinking after midcentury. Here as elsewhere, I theorize writers who are rarely considered together, like Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Pynchon, Ursula K. Le Guin, Alice Mary Hilton, Paul Metcalf, Janice Mirikitani, Toni Morrison, Joanna Russ, Harry Matthews and Georges Perec, Joseph McElroy, Shulamith Firestone, Walter Abish, Philip José Farmer, and John Mohawk. This fall, I will be in residency at the Humanities Institute, pursuing a research project on presentism, Afrofuturism, and national criticism, with emphasis on writing by Pauline Hopkins, W.E.B. Du Bois, Samuel R. Delany, and Octavia Butler.

My first book, entitled What Lies Between: Void Aesthetics & Postwar Post-Politics (2015), explored formal experiments in literature and film that disrupt the myths of communication culture and consensus post-politics in the years following World War II. Reviewed in American Literature, the field's principal journal, the book was credited with "powerfully...rehistoricizing American studies to crack open the black box of technological mediation." I have also co-edited (with Mathias Nilges) an essay collection, entitled Medium and Mediation (2016), for the journal Postmodern Culture. I have recent articles on literary and cultural politics in Configurations, Camera Obscura, and Cultural Critique, and I have reviewed books about film for Film Criticism. Last year, I was interviewed on the topic of critical cyberculture for the Digital Culture and Media Initiative.

Up next are two more books: one, entitled Unfinished and Half in Ruin: Americanism, Presentism, Technocritique, will read essays and fictions that criticize nationalist historicisms and technologisms without giving into post-national or post-technological fantasies; the other, a short book entitled Medium Migraine, will ask what theory of medium is appropriate to the way that physical and social bodies interface and interact, with particular attention to writing by Waldo Frank, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Nathaniel Mackey, Catherine Malabou, and others. In both projects, I pursue a continuing interest in the convergence and non-convergence of continental philosophy with the activist literary imagination, especially of the United States.

Areas of Specialization

American Literature After 1900

Experimental and political writing, racial figuration, genre studies, film as text, literature and technology, anarchist fiction

Contemporary Literature

Social-movement writing, philosophical fiction, transnational literatures, structural irony, novels about new media

Media and Digital Studies

Medium theory, noncontemporary accounts of technological change, political critiques of computation and automation, intermediality, race and gender in technoculture

Theory and Cultural Studies

Post-structuralism, form, critical cyberculture, anti-racist and feminist intersections, Americanism as ideology and method

Visual Culture

Film poetry, radical film movements, post-Althusserian accounts of the cinematographic apparatus