Nigel De Juan Hatton, an associate professor of literature and affiliate faculty in philosophy at the University of California, Merced, was born on Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi, and raised in South Carolina, Arizona, California, Virginia, the Philippines and Germany. He received a B.A. in English from Virginia Tech, an MFA in Writing from the Jesuit University of San Francisco, an MA in Latin American Studies and MA in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA in Modern Thought & Literature from Stanford University, and a dual Ph.D. in Modern Thought & Literature and The Humanities with a minor in Political Theory, also from Stanford. He completed postdoctoral study at the Kierkegaard Centre for Research at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. He has been a visiting fellow at Human Rights Watch in New York City (2004), the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University (2012-13), the International Criminal Court in The Hague (2013), the American Academy in Rome (2013), the University of California Humanities Research Institute (2016), and the Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College (2016).  Nigel Hatton has completed introductory and advanced seminars in the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. His published work includes essays on the relationship ofhuman rights and literature, and the literary and political ideas of writers and thinkers such as James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Søren Kierkegaard, Jose Marti, and Ivan Klima. Several of his articles appear in the series titled, Kierkegaard’s Influence on Literature, Criticism and Art, as well as in journals such as The James Baldwin Review and Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice. An essay focused on W.E.B. Du Bois is forthcoming in the African-American Literature in Transition series from Cambridge University Press. His current book project examines Kierkegaard’s inter-textuality and philosophical relationship with and to 19th and 20th century African-American literature and culture, from the writings of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs to the spirituality and laments of John Coltrane and Ben Webster. In 2015, he received a grant from the University of California Consortium in Black Studies in California to complete a project titled, “African American Women and Ending Cultures of Homicide.” This project brings together over 20 years of reporting, interviews, and research and collaboration with activists, photographers, journalists and artists working in urban spaces within the United States to amplify the voices and agency of women who have lost children to homicide and had the loss of their children relegated to spectacle (spectacular television shows, documentaries, songs, stereotypes, political fodder) and silence rather than substantive action and social change informed by their (women interviewed as part of the project) careful, informed and transformative theorizing that provides pragmatic, structural and policy specific directives for preventing and erasing cultures and incidents of violence (the kind that would have made the murder of their children an impossibility). Nigel Hatton has taught courses in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University, the Scandinavian Department and College Writing Programs at the University of California, Berkeley, the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts at the University of California, Merced, and in the American Studies Department at Würzburg University in Germany. Undergraduate courses offered include “Human Rights and Literature,” “Literature & Philosophy,” “Readings in Close Reading,” “Introduction to African American Literature and Culture,” “Existentialism,” “Introduction to World Literature,” and “American Literature to 1865.” He has also held graduate seminars on “Modernity” and “Cosmopolitanisms,” “African-American Lifeworlds, Global Thinking and Human Rights.” Throughout graduate school and during his faculty appointments, he has simultaneously taught courses in journalism, literature and writing in California State prisons through the Prison University Project (since 2003) at San Quentin Sate Prison, and the Prison Education Project (in 2014) at Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, Calif. A proponent of education as a means to dismantle prisons one mind at a time, he is the prisoner advocate on the UC Merced Institutional Review Board committee (IRB) and currently advises UC Merced undergraduates collaborating on a service-learning project with inmates/students at the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown, California. At UC Merced, he is also a co-organizer of the Human Rights Film Festival, a former steering committee member of the Humanities Center, sits on the Admissions subcommittee of the Undergraduate Council, and has served as an advisor to both the Black Student Union and the African Diaspora Graduate Group.


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