Autumn Womack on The Matter of Black Living: The Aesthetic Experiment of Racial data, 1880-1930

You’re listening to Conversations in Atlantic Theory, a podcast dedicated to books and ideas generated from and about the Atlantic world. In collaboration with the Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy, these conversations explore the cultural, political, and philosophical traditions of the Atlantic world, ranging from European critical theory to the black Atlantic to sites of indigenous resistance and self-articulation, as well as the complex geography of thinking between traditions, inside traditions, and from positions of insurgency, critique, and counternarrative.

Today’s discussion is with Autumn Womack, Associate Professor in the Department of English at Princeton University, where she teaches and writes on 19th and early 20th century African American literature and cultural history and where she has worked as part of the curatorial team at the Toni Morrison Papers project. She is the author of numerous articles in scholarly journals as well as popular intellectual venues including LA Review of Books, The Paris Review, and The Times Literary Supplement. Autumn is the author of the book The Matter of Black Living: The Aesthetic Experiment of Racial Data, 1880-1930, which is the occasion for our conversation that follows. The book was published by University of Chicago Press in 2022 and was the winner of the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize in 2023.
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