Wesleyan portrait of Kevin Dwight Ball

Kevin Dwight Ball

Assistant Professor of Film Studies

Film Studies, 154


BA Wayne State University
PHD Wayne State University

Kevin Dwight Ball

Kevin Ball is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research interests include digital media and black studies. His dissertation, Sonic Motion and Heaviness in Black Media, engages with music videos that imagine "bodies of sound," or black bodies moving in levitational and haunted ways that visualize the lightness, pulse, and speculative possibilities of sonority. His essays on the work of Beyonce and D'Angelo have appeared in Film Criticism, where he is a member of the editorial board. His work has also appeared in Transformative Works and Cultures and ASAP/J.

Ball's current research project elaborates questions of black aesthetics through the lens of 19th Century chess. His forthcoming essay, "The Whirl of Permutation: Blackness, Play, and the Problem of Chess," discusses the life and games of Theophilus A. Thompson, a black chess problemist (composer of chess puzzles) who published a book, entitled Chess Problems, in 1873. Thinking across the racialized politics of silence in chess and its implications in the archive of Thompson's life and studies, Ball asserts that Thompson's chess aesthetics intervene in game studies by providing a countertheory of race and play in which blackness confronts play in the unheard register of "problem." In pursuing this claim, Ball draws together a range of scholarship, such as the works of Frank Wilderson, James McCune Smith, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Sylvia Wynter. This essay is part of a larger project, under the working title "Afro-Ludic," in which Ball seeks to intervene in discussions of race, play, and games across various media.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Wednesday 10.30am through 1.30pm


Spring 2024
FILM 396 - 01
Black Cinema in the US

FILM 398 - 01
Music Videos