Max Suechting
Modern Thought and Literature

Max Suechting is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the Program in Modern Thought & Literature. Originally from central Wisconsin, he received his BA from Amherst College, where he studied English and completed an interdisciplinary performance thesis which blended improvised music, electronics, and video art. He studies 20th-century American popular culture, including music, literature, film, television, and comics. His dissertation focuses on articulations of the posthuman in African-American popular music.

Dissertation: Brass Orchids: Technology and the Posthuman in Black Popular Music

His dissertation considers four compositional techniques drawn from the history of African-American popular music, drawing together the myriad ways artists have used ideas about race, technology, and sound to challenge or deny the category of the human. By examining the models of posthumanity in the work of artists like Alice Coltrane, J Dilla, and Kanye West, his project reframes the posthuman as a unstable, shifting continuum of affiliations, affinities, and behaviors rather than a single subject position.