Nathan Brown, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Poetics, English
Director, Centre for Expanded Poetics, English
Assistant Professor, English
My research moves between poetics, philosophy, and science/technology studies, investigating conceptual and material determinations of structure and form. Recently my published work has also focused on contemporary art, film, and communist theory.
My first book, The Limits of Fabrication: Materials Science, Materialist Poetics (Fordham UP) studies concepts of form and practices of fabrication in nanoscale materials science and materialist poetics. I offer a renewed consideration of poiesis as "making" and a materialist account of poetry as a form of building, examining the manner in which such poets as Charles Olson, Ronald Johnson, Caroline Bergvall, Christian Bök, and Shanxing Wang have developed formal models in conversation with quantum mechanics, cybernetics, geodesic architecture, biotechnology, crystallography, and nanotechnology, while also tracking the pertinence of these fields to structural models at issue in materials science and engineering. My questions are: how do shared concepts of form and approaches to fabrication bear upon material making in poetry and science? What are the philosophical and ideological stakes of understanding their discrepancies and their confluence?
I am currently completing a book manuscript on the relation between rationalism and empiricism in modern and contemporary philosophy, while also researching the problem of measure in philosophy, science, and poetry and the Marxist periodization of contemporary literature, art, and film.
My recent teaching has focused primarily on 20th and 21st century poetry, Marxist approaches to literary periodization, and major texts in modern European philosophy.
With Petar Milat, I am the coordinator of an ongoing series of annual symposia in Zagreb, Croatia, titled Conjuncture--21st Century Philosophy, Politics, and Aesthetics.
From 2008-2014, I was Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Program in Critical Theory at the University of California, Davis.
PhD, University of California at Los Angeles (2008)
MA, Queen's University (2002)
BAH, Queen's University (2001)
Fields of research and teaching
20th and 21st Century Poetry and Poetics
Modern Philosophy and Critical Theory
Marxism and Communist Theory
Selected honours and awards
Canada Research Chair in Poetics, Tier II (2015-2020)
Hellman Fellowship for distinguished junior faculty (2013-2014)
Distinguished Teaching Award Nominee, UC Davis (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
Chancellor's Fellowship, Graduate Division, UCLA (2007-2008)
SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2002-2006)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2001-2002)
Graduate courses (Literature & Theory)
Blackness, Freedom, Free Verse (2016/17)
Structure / Form (2015/16)
Expanded Poetics (2014/15)
Modernity in Contradiction: Real Subsumption and Modernist Poetics (2013/14)
Postmodernity, Not Yet: Culture at the Terminus of Capital (2012/13)
The Real Movement of History: Left Communism and the Communization Current (2011/12)
Objects in Field: The Poetry and Poetics of Charles Olson (2010/11)
Introduction to Critical Theory (2009/10)
21st Century Poetry and Poetics (2008/09)
Graduate courses (Philosophy)
Marx's Capital, Vol. 1 (2015/16)
Heidegger's Being and Time (2014/15)
Hegel's Science of Logic (2013/14)
Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (2012/13)
The Modern Subject: Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Kant (2011/12)
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (2010/11)
Badiou's Being and Event (2008/09)
Books and Edited Volumes
The Limits of Fabrication: Materials Science, Materialist Poetics (New York: Fordham University Press, 2017)
January (Berlin: Broken Dimanche Press, 2016)
Expanded Poetics, Ed. Nathan Brown, Special Feature in The Volta (March 2016).
The Art of the Concept, Ed. Nathan Brown and Petar Milat, Special Issue of Frakcija: Performing Arts Journal 64-65 (2013). PDF
"The Irony of Anatomy: Basquiat's Poetics of Black Positionality," Radical Philosophy 195 (Jan/Feb 2016): 11-24. PDF
"Hegel's Cogito: On the Genetic Epistemology of Critical Metaphysics," Parrhesia 20 (2014): 49-61. PDF
"The Technics of Prehension: On the Photography of Nicolas Baier" in The Lure of Whitehead, Ed. Nicholas Gaskill and Adam Nocek (University of Minnesota Press, 2014). PDF
"Framing Modernity: Sam Lewitt's Aesthetics of Saturation" in Fluid Employment, Ed. Sam Lewitt (Sequence Press, 2013). PDF
"The Proletariat," Transcripts 3 (2013). PDF
"Rational Kernel, Real Movement: Alain Badiou and Théorie Communist in the Age of Riots," Lana Turner 5 (Fall 2012). LINK
"Red Years: Althusser's Lesson, Rancière's Error, and the Real Movement of History," Radical Philosophy 170 (Nov/Dec 2011). PDF
"Absent Blue Wax (Rationalist Empiricism)," Qui Parle 19.1 (Fall/Winter 2010). PDF
"The Speculative and the Specific: On Hallward and Meillassoux" in The Speculative Turn, Ed. Levi Bryant, Graham Harman, Nick Srnicek (re:press, 2010). PDF
"Immortality by Design," Parallax 14.3 (August 2008), 4-20. PDF
"The Inorganic Open: Nanotechnology and Physical Being," Radical Philosophy 144 (July/Aug 2007). PDF
Reviews, Responses, Interviews, Translations
"The Factial," Translation of excerpt from Quentin Meillassoux's doctoral dissertation, L'Inexistence Divine, Parrhesia 20 (2016): 20-40.
"Speculation at the Crossroads," Review of Tristan Garcia's Form and Object in Radical Philosophy 188 (Nov/Dec 2014): 47-50. PDF
"The Nadir of OOO: From Graham Harman's Tool-Being to Timothy Morton's Realist Magic," Parrhesia 17 (2013). PDF
"Next to Now," Review of Colin Milburn's Nanovision in Radical Philosophy 155 (May/June 2009). PDF
"To Live Without an Idea," Review of Martin Hägglund's Radial Atheism in Radical Philosophy (Mar/Apr 2009). PDF
"The Function of Digital Poetry at the Present Time," Response to N. Katherine Hayles in Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary (2008). LINK
"The Politics of Error: An Interview with Shanxing Wang," Jacket 34 (Oct 2007). LINK