Professor of French
School of Humanities
Affiliate Faculty, Comparative Literature
School of Humanities
Affiliate Faculty, Anthropology
School of Social Sciences
Director of UCEAP France 2015-2017
Professor in Residence, June, 2018, University of Lyon École Doctorale: http://3la.univ-lyon2.fr/spip.php?article128
Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation
PH.D., Harvard University
Phone: (212) 242-4132
University of California, Irvine
204 Humanities Instructional Building
Department of European Languages & Studies
University of California, Irvine
Mail Code: 2925
Irvine, CA 92697
Twentieth-century French and Francophone literature, avant-garde, poetry & poetics, critical theory, dance and performance studies
I am honored to have received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities; the Camargo Foundation; the American Philosophical Society; the American Council of Learned Societies; the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation; and the Clark Art Institute/Oakley Center.
I began my career as a scholar of 19th and 20th century French poetry, with a theoretical interest in the relation between technological advance/historical change and forms of poetic expression. Over time, I have turned increasingly toward performance genres--performance poetry first, then dance and now theater. While remaining grounded in Frankfurt School and Marxist conceptions of art's profound heteronomy, I have developed an interest in phenomenology; how individual artists respond to given constraints remains a constant source of fascination. My latest book on Merce Cunningham explores how the choreographer confronted the aleatory nature of existence by incorporating chance as a stimulus for invention (_Merce Cunningham: After the Arbitrary_, University of Chicago Press, 2019). My next book project, _The Theater of Theory_, will focus on the influence of theater genres and theories of acting on the development of phenomenology, existentialism, deconstruction, and Caribbean critique.
My undergraduate courses focus on 19th- and 20th-century French literature and art, especially avant-garde movements (Dada, Surrealism, Negritude). I situate literary and artistic works in their historical contexts: the novel and the rise of a consumer society in 19th-century France; poetry and the blossoming of technology at the beginning of the 20th; Francophone Caribbean writing and the crisis of colonialism in the 1960s. A recent undergraduate course centered on the city of Paris as a crucible of artistic invention against a backdrop of revolution, war, and social change. I am currently developing a course that will explore the imprint of social class on identity. Attempts to demonstrate how class intersects with religious affiliation, race, gender and sexual orientation has inspired some of the best writing--fictional and non-fictional--of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Graduate seminars tend to focus on writers and theorists who have helped shape our understanding of the relationship between art and society, such as Marx, Rimbaud, Césaire, Bataille, Artaud, Adorno, Fanon, and Rancière. Students have worked with me in Independent Studies on Negritude, Caribbean Literature, and Black Internationalist movements. I recently taught a course on the sense of touch, titled "At Hand" (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty). In France, I offered a "Practicum on the Avant-Garde" in which we put into practice the compositional methods and ideas of Artaud, Duchamp, Cage, Pina Bausch, and William Pope.L. I hope to teach that course again at UCI in an effort to develop practice-based research within the School of Humanities.
For full list of Publications, please see: https://www.humanities.uci.edu/SOH/faculty/pubs_by_name.php?rgs_id=2770
Most recent: Voices of Negritude in Modernist Print: Aesthetic Subjectivity, Diaspora, and The Lyric Regime (Columbia University Press, 2014)
SELECTED ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS
"Merce Cunningham: Corps à corps avec l'écrit" in Revue française des études américaines (Spring, 2018).
"Ethics, Staged" in The Ethics of Gesture, special issue of Performance Philosophy, ed. Lucia Ruprecht, vol. 3:1 (spring, 2017).
"Bound and Unbound: Reconstructing Merce Cunningham's Crises (1960)" in The Oxford Handbook of Dance Reenactment, ed. Mark Franko (Oxford University Press, 2016).
"Césaire, Chamoiseau, and the Work of Legacy" in Small Axe: Journal of Caribbean culture, Spring 2016
"French Poetic Experimentation," in The Cambridge Companion to French Literature, ed. John Lyons (Cambridge UP, 2016)
"Inheriting the Avant-Garde: Merce Cunningham, Marcel Duchamp, and the Legacy Plan" in Dance Research Journal (Summer 2013)
"Embodiment" and "Merce Cunningham" in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Aesthetics" (2014)
"Poetry and Technology," Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (revised edition, 2012)
"Edouard Glissant: A Poetics of the 'Entour'" in Poetry and Cultural Studies (Iowa UP, 2011).
"The Human Situation on Stage: Merce Cunningham, Theodor Adorno, and the Category of Expression" in Dance Research Journal (2010)
"Poésie et typosphère chez Léon-Gontran Damas" in Poésies et Médias du XXe siecle (Nouveau Monde, 2010)
"Red Front/Black Front: Aimé Césaire and the Affaire Aragon" in Diacritics (Fall 2007)
"Motor Intentionality: Gestural Meaning in Bill Viola and Merleau-Ponty" in Postmodern Cultures (Fall 2007)
"Miming Signing: Henri Michaux and the Writing Body" in Migrations of Gesture, eds. Carrie Noland and Sally Ann Ness. University of Minnesota Press (2008).
"Digital Gestures" in New Media Poetries, eds. Thomas Swiss and Adalaide Morris. MIT Press (2006).
"Phonic Matters: French Sound Poetry, Julia Kristeva, and Bernard Heidsieck" in PMLA, Special Issue on Poetry (January 2005)
"Bataille Looking" in Modernism/Modernity, (March, 2004).
"Le Graffiti, la ligne, et la lettre chez René Char" in Pleine marge, (no. 35, June 2002).
"The Metaphysics of Coffee," in Modernism/Modernity, (Fall 2000).
"High Decoration: Blaise Cendrars, Sonia Delaunay, and the Poem as Fashion Design," in Journal X, (Spring 1998).
"Poetry at Stake; Blaise Cendrars, Cultural Studies, and the Future of Poetry in the Literature Classroom," in PMLA, (January 1997).
"Rimbaud and Patti Smith: Style as Social Deviance," in Critical Inquiry, (Spring 1995).
Poetry at Stake: Lyric Aesthetics and the Challenge of Technology" (Princeton University Press, 1999).
"Agency and Embodiment: Performing Gestures/Producing Culture" (Harvard University Press, 2009)
"Migrations of Gesture" (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), co-edited with Sally Ann Ness.
"Diasporic Avant-Gardes: Experimental Poetics and Cultural Displacement" co-edited with Barrett Watten (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
NEH (1995); Camargo Foundation (2004); American Philosophical Society (2005); ACLS (2010-2011)
Guggenheim Fellowship, 2014-2015
Clark Art Institute/Oakley Center Humanities Fellowship 2014-2015