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Fumi Okiji

Assistant Professor

fumiokiji@umass.edu

W473 South College

My research and teaching look to black expression for ways to understand modern and contemporary life.  Which is to say, I am interested in the potential that black expressive culture holds for social criticism, and for the modeling alternative ways for us to be together in the world. The project I am currently working on is, tentatively, titled Abandon/ment. Thinking through two distinct but intertwined strands of thought—the wounded kinship of the Black Atlantic, and the ethical possibilities of radical receptivity or susceptibility—I am staging conversations between critical theory (first generation Frankfurt School, and contemporary feminist), black feminist thought, and music improvisation practices.

Jazz as Critique: Adorno and Black Expression Revisited, a book I have written based on my doctoral research, shows black music to be an expression of a type of life that incessantly (and, most often, inadvertently) calls into question the world’s integrity. This will be published in the summer.

I am also a music practitioner. There are two practice-enabled research projects I am currently engaged in—one that theorizes and experiments with vandalism and breakage of record(s) as ways to think through alternatives to humanist preoccupations with permanence and certainty; and another that will bring together an ensemble of scholar-artists to develop a radically open listening practice.

Research Areas

Black feminist poethics, German critical theory, black expressive culture, black feminist theory

Courses Recently Taught

Black music, gender and sexuality
Contemporary black feminist thought