In this talk, Kara Keeling will discuss how “an empiricism that invites surprises” might work as a mode of knowledge production. She will expand upon the ideas offered at the end of her book, Queer Times, Black Futures, where she writes, “In the context of the algorithms and relations characteristic of finance, poetic knowledge returns the body to the living organism and upends the rationale for the violences of finance capital. It prefers not to. By introducing desire and the senses into knowledge production, it disrupts the common, habitual relations of signification that allow for prediction and reconciliation between things. It insists that how we come to know what we know is as significant as what we know, and, in these ways, it provides a queer way of knowing that flies in the face of calculation and commensuration …"
Kara Keeling is Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. Keeling's research has focused on African American film, theories of race, sexuality, and gender in cinema, critical theory, and cultural studies. Current research involves issues of temporality, media, and black and queer cultural politics; digital media, globalization, and difference; and Gilles Deleuze and liberation theory.
Keeling's book, The Witch's Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense (Duke University Press, 2007), explores the role of cinematic images in the construction and maintenance of hegemonic conceptions of the world and interrogates the complex relationships between cinematic visibility, minority politics, and the labor required to create and maintain alternative organizations of social life. She is co-editor (with Colin MacCabe and Cornel West) of a selection of writings by the late James A. Snead entitled European Pedigrees/ African Contagions: Racist Traces and Other Writing and author of several articles that have appeared in the journals Qui Parle, The Black Scholar, Women and Performance, and elsewhere.
Prior to joining the faculty at USC, Keeling worked as an assistant professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), an adjunct assistant Professor of Women's Studies at Duke University, and a visiting assistant professor of Art and Africana Studies at Williams College. At UNC, she was a Spray-Randleigh Fellow and a Fellow at the Institute for Arts and Humanities. She also held a Carolina Postdoctoral Fellowship for two years after graduating with a Ph.D. in Critical and Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh's Film Studies Program in the Department of English. In the summer of 2005, Keeling participated in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on African Cinema in Dakar, Senegal.
Keeling currently serves on the editorial boards of the journals Cultural Studies and Feminist Media Studies and is the Editor of the Moving Image Review section of Gay and Lesbian Quarterly (GLQ).