Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination

U of Minnesota Press
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“Avery Gordon’s stunningly original and provocatively imaginative book explores the connections linking horror, history, and haunting. ” —George Lipsitz
 
“The text is of great value to anyone working on issues pertaining to the fantastic and the uncanny.”  —American Studies International
 
“Ghostly Matters immediately establishes Avery Gordon as a leader among her generation of social and cultural theorists in all fields. The sheer beauty of her language enhances an intellectual brilliance so daunting that some readers will mark the day they first read this book. One must go back many more years than most of us can remember to find a more important book.” —Charles Lemert
 
Drawing on a range of sources, including the fiction of Toni Morrison and Luisa Valenzuela (He Who Searches), Avery Gordon demonstrates that past or haunting social forces control present life in different and more complicated ways than most social analysts presume. Written with a power to match its subject, Ghostly Matters has advanced the way we look at the complex intersections of race, gender, and class as they traverse our lives in sharp relief and shadowy manifestations.
 
Avery F. Gordon is professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
 
Janice Radway is professor of literature at Duke University.
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Publisher
U of Minnesota Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2008
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Pages
252
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ISBN
9781452913865
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The Hawthorn Archive, named after the richly fabled tree, has long welcomed the participants in the various Euro-American social struggles against slavery, racial capitalism, imperialism, and authoritarian forms of order. The Archive is not a library or a research collection in the conventional sense but rather a disorganized and fugitive space for the development of a political consciousness of being indifferent to the deadly forms of power that characterize our society. Housed by the Archive are autonomous radicals, runaways, abolitionists, commoners, and dreamers who no longer live as obedient or merely resistant subjects.

In this innovative, genre- and format-bending publication, Avery F. Gordon, the “keeper” of the Archive, presents a selection of its documents—original and compelling essays, letters, cultural analyses, images, photographs, conversations, friendship exchanges, and collaborations with various artists. Gordon creatively
uses the imaginary of the Archive to explore the utopian elements found in a variety of resistive and defiant activity in the past and in the present, zeroing in on Marxist critical theory and the black radical tradition. Fusing critical theory with creative writing in a historical context, The Hawthorn Archive represents voices from the
utopian margins, where fact, fiction, theory, and image converge.

Reminiscent of the later fictions of Italo Calvino or Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, The Hawthorn Archive is a groundbreaking work that defies strict disciplinary, methodological, and aesthetic boundaries. And like Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination, which established Gordon as one of the
most influential interdisciplinary scholars of the humanities and social sciences in recent years, it provides a kaleidoscopic analysis of power and effect. The Hawthorn Archive’s experimental format and inventive synthesis of critical theory and creative writing make way for a powerful reconception of what counts as social change and political action, offering creative inspiration and critical tools to artists, activists, scholars across various disciplines, and general readers alike.

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