Fellow: Awarded 2016
Field of Study: Literary Criticism
Competition: US & Canada
Fred Moten was born in Las Vegas and was raised there and in Kingsland, Arkansas. He received his A.B. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Moten is author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, Hughson’s Tavern, B. Jenkins, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (with Stefano Harney), The Feel Trio (which in 2014 won California Book Award in poetry and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), The Little Edges (which was a finalist for the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award) and The Service Porch. His work as a critic and poet is concerned with the social force and social origins of black expressive cultural practices. In particular, he studies the relation between insurgent social movement and experimental art and has been most concerned with understanding these fields of endeavor as indissolubly linked and irreducibly popular. Moten is particularly invested in the phonic materiality of written texts but he has worked to establish ways of theorizing and paying attention to the presence and force of sound in visual art, as well. His Guggenheim Fellowship project, Hesitant Sociology: Blackness and Poetry is an examination of the social poetics of Afro-diasporic literature and cinema whose form seeks to refuse the distinction between verse and prose.
Moten lives in Los Angeles and teaches in the Department of English at the University of California, Riverside.