Emily Apter

  • the Whitney Biennial

    ON MY FIRST VISIT to this year’s Whitney Biennial, I entered a gallery and found myself surrounded by materials documenting the history of the journal Semiotext(e) and the small press of the same name. I’d stumbled on what felt like an uncanny physical manifestation of my own past—specifically, a crucial and affectively charged component of my theoretical formation. Ephemera papered the walls, along with displays of books, while special issues of the journal—on Bataille, on Autonomia, on polysexuality—were lined up in a vitrine, doubles of my own personal effects. Part of curator

  • Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

    WHEN I FIRST ENCOUNTERED Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, in the 1980s, we were both teaching at New England schools. It was a dark and snowy night, but the friends and faculty who came out that evening for Sedgwick’s lecture at Williams College (where I had recently joined the Romance-languages department) were excited to hear the Amherst professor who had authored the groundbreaking book Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (1985). Sedgwick’s talk was a thunderbolt. At a time when “theory” was riveted to analysis of Foucault’s power-knowledge axis, her presentation revalued ignorance.