Archipelagic Thinking: The Insular, the Archipelago, and the Borderwaters

Michelle Ann Stephens (Rutgers U), Brian Russel Roberts (Brigham Young U) & Barbara Gföllner (U of Vienna, chair)

Marshall Islands stick chart, Rebbelib type,

This public conversation is part of an exploratory workshop on Archipelagic Imperial Spaces and Mobilities at Leipzig University. It is co-organized by members of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 1199) Spatialization Processes under the Global Condition (Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez and Steffen Wöll, both Leipzig University) and of the research platform  “Mobile Cultures and Societies” at the University of Vienna (Alexandra Ganser and Barbara Gföllner). Here you can find the full programme of the workshop.

Archipelagic Thinking: The Insular, the Archipelago, and the Borderwaters

In this conversation Michelle Ann Stephens and Brian Russell Roberts will explore key tropes and themes related to archipelagic thinking and archipelagic spaces and mobilities. They will discuss the intersections between archipelagic and mobilities studies, the complications of mainland/island, and ‘minor’ traditions. Throughout, they will pay close attention to how these are variously implicated in the generation of ontology, epistemology, research, and forms of praxis. Michelle will both deconstruct and expand upon the notion of the “insular” and the “island” itself as historical, discursive, ontological and epistemological objects. Brian will draw on his new book Borderwaters: Amid the Archipelagic States of America​ (2021) to underscore watery borders and borderwaters as natural-cultural keys to an archipelagic mobility studies.

Biographical Note

Michelle Ann Stephens is Professor of English and Latino and Caribbean Studies as well as Dean of the Humanities at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Among other works, she is the author of Skin Acts: Race, Psychoanalysis and The Black Male Performer (Duke UP, 2014) and Archipelagic American Studies (co-edited with Brian Russell Roberts, 2017). Her most recent book Contemporary Archipelagic Thinking (coedited with Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel, 2020) explores epistemologies and methodologies informed by the archipelago.

Brian Russell Roberts is Professor of English at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He is the author of Artistic Ambassadors: Literary and International Representation of the New Negro Era (U of Virginia P, 2013) and Borderwaters. Amid the Archipelagic States of America (Duke UP, 2021). He has codedited Archipelagic American Studies (with Michelle Ann Stephens, 2017) and Indonesian Notebook: A Sourcebook on Richard Wright and the Bandung Conference (with Keith Foulcher, 2016) both also published by Duke UP.

The event takes place online. To keep track of the number of participants to be expected we ask you to register for the event. To register for free, please send an email signaling your interest to no later than 11th July.