Frank B. Wilderson, III is an Associate Professor in the Drama Doctoral Program and the African American Studies Program at UC Irvine. He has taught literature at UC Santa Cruz; and at the University of Witwatersrand and Vista University in South Africa, where he lived for five years during the transitional years from apartheid to universal suffrage.
While in South Africa he held elected office in the Congress of South African Writers and the African National Congress. In addition, he has worked as an institutional dramaturge for Lincoln Center Theater’s productions of Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes’s Mule Boneand Mbongeni Ngema’s Township Fever; and as a creative dramaturge for the Market Theater in Johannesburg’s production of George C. Wolfe’sThe Colored Museum.
His publications include Red, White & Black: Cinema and the Structure of U.S. Antagonisms (Duke University Press 2010); and Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid (South End Press 2008), which won The Eisner Prize for Creative Achievement of the Highest Order, The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for Creative Nonfiction; and The National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship.
Frank Wilderson received his A. B. from Dartmouth College (Government/Philosophy); an MFA from Columbia University (Fiction Writing); and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley (Rhetoric/Film Studies). His scholarly work explores cinema’s formal and narrative “awareness” of political ontology by bringing two disparate modes of representation into conversation with one another: (1) the cinema of Red, White, and Black directors and (2) three traditions of epistemological reflection: Humanism (feminism, Marxism, psychoanalysis); Indigenism (meditations on sovereignty and genocide); and Social Death (meditations on the accumulation and fungibility of Black bodies).
Currently, he is directing Reparations…Now, a critical documentary (digital film) that captures the terror of unnamable loss shouldered by today’s descendents of slaves.