Fall 2019

Revolutions: Material Forms, Mobile Futures 

On its 50th anniversary, the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan University returns to its inaugural theme of 1969-70 (“The Humanities in Revolution”) to consider anew the forms and meanings of revolutions past, present and future.  Evolving from the Latin verb revolver (meaning to turn back, again, around or over), revolutions take many forms, from periodic, temporal returns to spatial rotations around a central point or axis. Although cyclical, their movements need not demarcate a closed circuit, whether that of a defined historical period or geographical boundary, but often coil, spiral and loop through unexpected convolutions in hitherto unimagined, unbounded configurations.  They recur in myriad scales (from the micro to the macro) and temporalities, unfolding gradually in the ongoing work of sustaining or re-making everyday life, and suddenly, in the form of crises or upheavals that overturn established orders, paradigms and institutions. 

Repetition and transformation form the double helix of revolutions.  Whether small or grand, sudden or gradual, fugitive or epochal, revolutions past may serve as resources for grappling with challenges of the present moment, as occasions to reexamine the histories, contemporary realities and future possibilities of social and cultural movements, and as opportunities to rethink the material flows, forms, and shapes of power and resistance today.  In so doing, we return to an older meaning of “revolution,” namely, the process of turning over in the mind, of considering, reflecting and mediating upon, of discussing and debating an idea, and of searching and researching, as a means of turning, returning and overturning, of moving on, around and beyond.

This year, the Center for the Humanities provides an axis around which researches into the many forms of revolutions past, present, and future may unfold from diverse disciplinary, interdisciplinary and anti-disciplinary perspectives.


All lectures begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted, and are held in the Daniel Family Commons, which is located in the Usdan University Center.

Beyond the Box: The Politics and Aesthetics of Flow in the Logistics Revolution


SUSAN ZIEGER • University of California, Riverside


Sequel as Revolution: Taylor Mac's Queer Time


SEAN EDGECOMB • City University of New York


Desiring Otherwise


MARGOT WEISS • Wesleyan University


Reading between Freedom and Necessity


MATTHEW GARRETT • Wesleyan University


The Bookshop of Black Queer Diaspora




Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership


KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR • Princeton University


Toward an Abolitionist University Studies


ABIGAIL BOGGS • Wesleyan University


Collecting the Future: Photography, Waste and the Industrial Revolution


JENNIFER TUCKER  • Wesleyan University


Yellow Vest, Red Nation, Black Strike


JOSHUA CLOVER • University of California, Davis