Faculty Spotlight: Joseph Earl Thomas on Memoir, Realism, Gayl Jones, and the Philadelphia Difference

In episode five of Faculty Spotlight, Lauren and Mark sit down with Joseph Earl Thomas, BISR faculty and author the acclaimed memoir Sink. The three discuss: memoir-writing and the art of “un-knowing” writing; literary realism in the 21st century; having, or faking having, a “world picture”; thinking trans-culturally with Sylvia Wynter; Gayl Jones and the art of literary maximalism (and why it’s not just for “white boys”); why “resignification” doesn’t necessarily change the material world; and what it’s like to live, work, and think in Philadelphia.

You can download the episode by right-clicking here and selecting “save as.” Or, look us up on Spotify or iTunes.

The Podcast for Social Research is produced by Elliot Yokum. If you like what you’ve heard, consider subscribing to Brooklyn Institute’s Patreon page, where you can enjoy access to all past and future episodes of the podcast.

Faculty Spotlight: Joseph Earl Thomas on Memoir, Realism, Gayl Jones, and the Philadelphia Difference

Notations

Mark Anthony Richardson, Year of the Rat (2016), Messiahs (2021)

Elaine Auyoung, “Rethinking the Reality Effect: Detail and the Novel

Thomas Nagel, View from Nowhere (1986)

Sylvia Wynter, “Beyond Liberal and Marxist Leninist Feminisms

Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Signifying Monkey (1988)

Mat Johnson, Pym (2011)

Saidiya Hartman, Scenes of Subjection (1997)

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