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Austin Lillywhite is a PhD candidate in English focusing on 20th and 21st century American and Caribbean literature, continental philosophy, and theory, with an emphasis on issues of embodiment, race, gender and sexuality. His dissertation research surveys the poetic powers of queer world-making at stake in contemporary Afro-diasporic and Native literature. He argues that such world-making functions through the twinned practices of the embodied, sensuous fabrication of lived spatialities, and the imaginative, linguistic fabulation of different possibilities of life beyond the human. As a critical and creative practice of moving beyond what is deemed possible and real within the present aesthetic and epistemological orders of existence, fabulist literary forms provide a crucial response to the pessimistic, racialized forces of social death and planetary degradation looming ever larger in the era of the Anthropocene.
His past work on posthumanism and new materialism has been published in Diacritics and Chiasma. Most recently, his work theorizing an embodied phenomenological approach to literature was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2019 Ralph Cohen Prize from New Literary History.
His work has been funded by a grant for research in sustainability from the Society for the Humanities. He is also the recipient of the Society for the Humanities’ Mellon Foundation Graduate Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year, centered on the theme of “Fabrication.”
- Phenomenology and the lived experience of the body
- Black Queer Studies
- Posthumanism and new materialism