Austin Lillywhite is a PhD candidate in the Department of Literatures in English. His research and teaching address 20th and 21st century global Anglophone literatures, modernist aesthetics and philosophy, and posthumanism and new materialism, with an emphasis on issues of embodiment, race, gender and sexuality.
His work has been published or is forthcoming in Representations, Modern Fictions Studies, Diacritics, Derriday Today and Chiasma. His dissertation, entitled Sensuous Fabrications: Race, Queerness, and the Ecology of Imagination, reads texts by Toni Morrison, Derek Walcott, Jesmyn Ward and Carmen Maria Machado in order to theorize what he calls the “raw feel.” The raw feel defines moments where characters turn to nonhuman “raw matter”—for example, plant and animal tissues, like the meat of overripe fruit, or fresh roadkill—in response to instances of racist and misogynist gaslighting. Drawing on phenomenology, affect theory, and queer studies, he argues that these moments of interspecies comparison enable characters to reclaim and refabricate the truth content of their perceptions by new means.
His work has been funded by a grant for research in sustainability from the Society for the Humanities. He is also the recipient of the Society for the Humanities’ Mellon Foundation Graduate Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year, centered on the theme of “Fabrication.”
- 20th-21st Century Global Anglophone Literatures
- Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies
- Postcolonial Literature
- Environmental Humanities
- Continental Philosophy