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Aaron Dial

Aaron Dial

Postdoctoral Researcher // American Studies // SIS

Office and Contact

Room: HEAV G12


I earned my PhD from North Carolina State University in the Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (CRDM) program where my expertise is in materialist and digital media studies, digital humanities, Black studies, and cultural studies of technology and race. These areas of expertise inform my research and teaching interests, which, broadly sketched, are affective labor, popular culture, urban spaces and temporal flows, and the nexus between sports and science and technology.

Right now, I am working on my first monograph, entitled Deadstock, A Philosophy of Sneakers and Materiality in the Afterlife of Black Bodies. This work articulates the intimate and undiscussed connections between sneakers as material objects and Black bodies. I excavate sneakers from the strict confines of culture and fashion, asserting their existence as an object wherein bodies act and that acts upon bodies and spaces. Furthermore, this project hones the theoretical position that sneakers exist first and foremost as literal extensions of Black bodies, both sporting and cultural. That is, in sneakers, racialized imaginations of productive bodies are enlivened both as representative cultural fantasies and a collective reverie constellating the athletic possibilities of human potential. For example, in one of Deadstock’s later chapters, “Hangtime Melancholia,” which has been published in Cultural Studies, I explode the notion of hangtime, the physics-defying fantasy of a dunker’s trajectory, to its limit for the purpose of considering the undiscussed connections in the American photographic pastimes of lynching and dunk photography.

As you can probably guess, I am a big time sneakerhead with over 30 pairs in my collection. But also, my interests are varied. You could catch me doing anything from bumping the latest music release (I am actually learning to DJ!) to watching some dope anime to obsessing over NBA basketball. If you have any questions, just ask – preferably over a cold beer. I look forward to meeting you all in person and becoming a part of this already robust and collegial environment at Purdue University.