Humanities Institute

Co-Sponsored event: Dr. Lauren Berlant

Mon, April 1, 2013 | SAC 5.118

12:00 PM

Dr. Lauren Berlant
Dr. Lauren Berlant

"The Commons: Affect and Infrastructure"

A talk by Dr. Lauren Berlant, English, University of Chicago.

Lauren Berlant is the George Pullman Professor of English at the University of Chicago. Berlant characterizes her work as addressing “the affective components of belonging in the U.S. nineteenth and twentieth centuries—now the twenty-first.” Her most recent book, Cruel Optimism (Duke 2011), provides a history of contemporary affect and attends to the variety of responses that arise as people navigate the disjunctures between their dreams of “the good life” and contemporary social realities. What structures of attachment do
people create in order to not only survive, but thrive, when circumstances once considered exceptional become ordinary?

Cruel Optimism follows Berlant’s trilogy examining national sentimentalilty: The Anatomy of National Fantasy (Chicago, 1991); The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship (Duke, 1997) and The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture (2009). In addition, Berlant has edited several collections, including Intimacy (Chicago, 2000); Our Monica, Ourselves: Clinton and the Affairs of State (with Lisa Duggan; NYU, 2001); and Compassion: the Culture and Politics of an Emotion (Routledge, 2004).

To learn more about Dr. Berlant, please visit her website.

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