Max Abner

Graduate Student

B.S. in Performance Studies, Northwestern University

Max's work lies at the intersection of Indigenous studies, thing theory, and literary Frontier studies. His project begins with the belief that the canon of American naturalist literature can be viewed as the curated archive and script for an ongoing series of "back to nature" cultural performances, and these performances often feature things in an active, dialogic relationship with human subjects. Drawing on aesthetic theory, theories of Ideology, and the posthumanities, Max's research aims to examine the limits of these things's ability to perform and their role in the construction and contestation of Colonial and Indigenous identities as well as postmodern-Anthropocene concepts of the wildthe frontier, and the country. In 2016, Max received a research grant from Northwestern University for his field work studying the contemporary homogenization of Kentucky folk music, and his scholarship and artistic practice were recognized by Northwestern University with the Roy V. Wood Award upon his graduation. Additionally, Max is the composer/performer behind the country-noise project PONTAC whose recorded work is presented by Preserve Records in Chicago.