Past Event

Celebrating Recent Work by Matthew Hart

November 16, 2020
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Online Event

New Books in the Arts & Sciences:
Celebrating Recent Work by Matthew Hart

Extraterritorial: A Political Geography of Contemporary Fiction
By: Matthew Hart

The future of fiction is neither global nor national. Instead, Matthew Hart argues, it is trending extraterritorial. Extraterritorial spaces fall outside of national borders but enhance state power. They cut across geography and history but do not point the way to a borderless new world. They range from the United Nations headquarters and international waters to CIA black sites and the departure zones at international airports. The political geography of the present, Hart shows, has come to resemble a patchwork of such spaces.

Hart reveals extraterritoriality’s centrality to twenty-first-century art and fiction. He shows how extraterritorial fictions expose the way states construct “global” space in their own interests. Extraterritorial novels teach us not to mistake cracks or gradations in political geography for a crisis of the state. Hart demonstrates how the unstable character of many twenty-first-century aesthetic forms can be traced to the increasingly extraterritorial nature of contemporary political geography. Discussing writers such as Margaret Atwood, J. G. Ballard, Amitav Ghosh, Chang-rae Lee, Hilary Mantel, and China Miéville, as well as artists like Hito Steyerl and Mark Wallinger, Hart combines lively critical readings of contemporary novels with historical and theoretical discussions about sovereignty, globalization, cosmopolitanism, and postcolonialism. Extraterritorial presents a new theory of literature that explains what happens when dreams of an open, connected world confront the reality of mobile, elastic, and tenacious borders.

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About the Author:

Matthew Hart is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of Nations of Nothing But Poetry: Modernism, Transnationalism, and Synthetic Vernacular Writing, and, most recently, Extraterritorial: A Political Geography of Contemporary Fiction. He is also the current President of the Modernist Studies Association. 

About the Speakers:

Merve Emre is Associate Professor of English at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Readers in Postwar America and The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing, and has co-authored The Ferrante Letters: An Experiment in Collective Criticism. She is currently finishing a book project entitled "Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities."

Denise Cruz is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is the author of Transpacific Femininities: The Making of the Modern Filipina and has edited Yay Panlilio's The Crucible: An Autobiography by Colonel Yay, Filipina American Guerrilla, among other published works.

Adam Tooze is Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of History at Columbia University. His published works include The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy; The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916–1931; and, most recently, Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. 

Alan Stewart is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Among his publications he has authored The Cradle King: The Life of James VI and I, the First Monarch of a United Great Britain; Shakespeare's Letters; and, most recently, the second volume of The Oxford History of Life-Writing covering the Early Modern period. 

Contact Information

The Heyman Center for the Humanities