Baudelaire's Shadow: Toward a Theory of Poetic Determination

Thursday, November 1, 2018
4:30 pm
Irvin Hall 040

Brown's research moves between poetics, philosophy, and science/technology studies, investigating conceptual and material determinations of structure and form. Recently his published work has also focused on contemporary art, film, and communist theory.

Brown's 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. He offers 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. His 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?

He is currently completing a book manuscript titled Rationalist Empiricism: A Theory of Speculative Critique. Moving from Plato to Descartes and Hume through Hegel, Marx, Althusser, and Meillassoux, He theorizes the mutually critical force that reason and experience exert upon each other in the history of philosophy, without being grounded by the transcendental.


Nathan Brown
Nathan Brown
Associate Professor, English, Concordia University