The Antipanopticon of Etheridge Knight Academic Article uri icon


  • Panopticism seeks to make the pysche visible to a top-down system of examination and classification. In the process, it drives out privacy, the right to privacy, and, with them, the right to free self-making. Against this driving out, Etheridge Knight poses a remarkable body of poetry and prose that becomes a kind of antipanopticon in its cultivation of unconstrained communication and communion. During the years he spent as a guest of the Indiana State Prison, for instance, Knight wrote for prison and, later, other publications. He sought, even in the prison columns that were his main early outlet, to cultivate a communicative feedback loop capable of providing a channel through which hospitality could reach those who could not recognize themselves in mainstream American discourse. Knight's feedback loop confirms Jacques Derrida's view that language is hospitality.

published proceedings

  • PMLA/Publications of the Modern Language Association of America

author list (cited authors)

  • Collins, M

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Collins, Michael

publication date

  • May 2008

published in