Matthew O’Malley works on the anthropology of poetry and making; on forms of poetic thought and the possibilities of lyric discourse (e.g. how they make sense); on ways of being in common. Bridging the humanities and the social sciences, his research interests span: affect and atmosphere, landscapes and worlds, time and technique, ontology, modernism and loss, North American ethnopoetics, & aesthetic theory and practice. He has written on: seasonality; Stanley Cavell; Pierre Clastres; the critical rubrics of externalization—alienation—forgetting in modernist social thought; magic and metaphor (à la Malinowski, Tambiah, and Ricoeur); literary and philosophical anthropologies (& their “imaginative horizons”); the history of the Commons and practices of commoning; placemaking in Northern California; Euro-American modalities of neoliberal precarity. His ethnographic focus is the North American West.
O’Malley also maintains active interests in ethnographic film, (avant-garde) cinema, and the philosophy of film. He would like to think—with James Boon—about ways of reading cinema as “ritual modes of un-forgetting.” Based in California for many years, Matthew remains involved in the various worlds of West Coast critical inquiry and experimental writing; North American small press printing and publishing; & place and bioregional studies.
Such Building Only Takes Care: A Study of Dwelling in the Work of Heidegger, Ingold, Malinowski, and Thoreau (Ohio Link, 2014)