F214. Wayward: An Examination of the Modern Flaneur

Room 602/603, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
Friday, February 28, 2014
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


Walter Benjamin suggests “empathy is the nature of the intoxication to which the flaneur abandons himself in the crowd.” Part of the seduction of the concept is that it's a chance to physically interact with a living text, but it’s also a concept freighted with the baggage of European male privilege. Panelists will address and contest the intellectual as well as physical ways of the modern flaneur, covering city streets and wilderness paths, national highways and international flight patterns.



Matthew Batt is the author of the memoir Sugarhouse and the recipient of a McKnight Fellowship and an NEA Individual Artist Grant. His work has appeared in Tin HouseMid-American Review, and the Huffington Post. He is an associate professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

David Shields is the author of fifteen books, including Reality Hunger, named one of the best books of 2010 by more than thirty publications; The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead, a NYT best seller; and Black Planet, a National Book Critics Circle finalist. His work has been translated into twenty languages.

Vanessa Veselka is the author of the novel, Zazen, which won the 2012 PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize for fiction. Her short stories appear in Tin House, YETI, and Zyzzyva. Her nonfiction is found in GQ, the Atlantic, the American Reader, Salon, and is included in the 2013 Best American Essays.

Amy Leach

Nicole Walker


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center