Michael Sawyer

  • Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies

Michael Sawyer is Associate Professor of African American Literature & Culture, a faculty affiliate of Africana Studies and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of English. His work endeavors to render inoperable the disciplinary boundaries between philosophy, theory, literary critique, and aesthetics. He has published two monographs, An Africana Philosophy of Temporality: Homo Liminalis (Palgrave: 2018) and Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X (Pluto: 2020). He has begun work on two new book projects. The first, The Door of No Return: A Phenomenology of Blackness, endeavors to articulate a theory of the Black subject that reaches beyond the limitations of the notion of anti-Blackness as an irreducible and omnipresent feature of the world as we know it. The second, Ramifications of Ramifications: A Hermeneutics of Toni Morrison, is preoccupied with the oeuvre of the Nobel Laureate, presupposing that the author is engaged in a long philosophical meditation on the nature of Blackness. The Morrison has a visual component that is supported by Michael’s artist residency at the ONX Studio in New York City. He is the co-editor of The Journal of French and Francophone Studies and a member of the editorial boards of Critical Times and Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon.

Representative Publications

Books in Press

Books in Preparation

  • The Door of No Return: A Phenomenology of Black(ness)
  • Check Point-Lima (Under Review) Literary Fiction
  • If Holden Caulfield Was Black (Literary Fiction)

Single-Authored Articles/Reviews/Chapters in Press

  • “Shattering Perspectives” a review of a Teaching Collection of African Ceramics installed at Gregory Allicar Museum of Art at Colorado State University African Arts Journal (Forthcoming)
  • “Crépuscle with RA Judy: A Review of Sentient Flesh: Thinking in Disorder, Poiēsis in Black” New Formations: A Journal of Culture / Theory / Politics (Forthcoming)
  • Book Review: “Peniel Joseph’s The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.” American Political Thought
  • “Post-Truth, Social Media, and the ‘Real’ as Phantasm” chapter in the volume Relativism and Post-Truth in Contemporary Society: Possibilities and Challenges edited by Steve Fuller, Mikael Stenmark, and Ulf Zackariasson Palgrave Press (ISBN 978- 3319965581) September 2018
  • “Temporalità radicale, realismo fittizio e rivoluzione come contesto” Filosofia politica. 3 Dec 2017. ISBN: 0394-7297. Pp. 445-458
  • “Undoing the Phaedrus: Melville’s Re-Reading of Plato” The C.L.R. James Journal November 2017 ISBN: 2167-4256
  • “Two Silenced Instruments” Front Row Center: Photography by Larry Hulst. Exhibition Catalog: Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs: 2017
  • “Sacrifice” Political Concepts,October 2015
  • Book Review: Archipelago: A Novel by, Monique Roffey Small Axe Salon: 15, Fall 2015
  • “Critical Intervention/Review of Keith Sandiford, Theorizing a Colonial Caribbean- Atlantic Imaginary: Sugar and Obeah” The C.L.R. James Journal 20:1, Fall 2014 (pp. 17-24)

Book Chapters/Articles in Preparation or Under Review

  • “Melville’s Meditation on the Long Shipwreck of the Middle Passage” book chapter in Companion to Melville edited by Wyn Kelley and Christopher Ohge, Wiley Blackwell (Forthcoming Fall 2021)

Research Interests

Africana Political Thought and Philosophy; Post-Colonial Studies; Critical Race Theory; Political Theory; Political Philosophy; Naval History and Tactics; Revolt, Revolution & Rebellion; Literary Theory & Criticism; History of the American, French, & Haitian Revolutions; Slavery; Mass Incarceration; Creative Writing; African American Music: The Italian Renaissance