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US-China Forum 2020

Bill Brown

Bill Brown

Headshot of Bill Brown

Karla Scherer Distinguished Service Professor in American Culture, Department of English, Visual Arts and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality
The University of Chicago

Bill Brown works at the intersection of literary, visual and material cultures, asking how inanimate objects enable human subjects (individually and collectively) to form and transform themselves—materially, psychologically, affectively.  His current research asks how the history of assemblage practice (across the arts) can contribute to the “assemblage theory” deployed by the social sciences.   In the past he has focused on popular literary genres such as science fiction and the Western, and on the ways that mass-cultural phenomena from roller coasters to Kodak cameras impress themselves on the literary imagination. He teaches courses on “The Matter of Modernism,” “Materialities and Materialisms,” “Re-Assemblage,” and “The Future.”

Brown is the Karla Scherer Distinguished Service Professor in American Culture, appointed in the Department of English, the Department of Visual Arts, and the College.  He is a principal investigator for The Object Cultures Project within the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, and has been a co-editor of Critical Inquiry since 1993. 

His books include: Other Things (2015), A Sense of Things (2003), and The Material Unconscious (1996).

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