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Living in Ellipsis: On Biopolitics and the Attachment to Life

Date and Time: 
Thursday, February 11, 2016. 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Humanities Center Board Room
Workshop: 
Interdisciplinary Working Group in Critical Theory
Meeting Description: 
Speakers:
Lauren Berlant is the George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor of English at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Cruel Optimism, The Female Complaint, and The Queen of America Goes to Washington City, among others. 
 
Her respondent, Sianne Ngai, is Professor of English at Stanford and specializes in American literature, literary and cultural theory, and feminist studies. Her books are Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting and Ugly Feelings.
 
Meeting description:
This event is co-organized by the Working Group in Critical Theory and The Feminist/Queer: Critiques and Synergies Workshop. Professor Berlant has provided the following description: 
 
This talk is located in a shattered, formally inconsistent, yet intelligible zone defined by being in life without wanting the world. Reading with Claudia Rankine (Don’t Let Me Be Lonely), the novel and film of A Single Man (Christopher Isherwood, 1964; Tom Ford, 2009), and Harryette Mullen (Sleeping with the Dictionary (2002), it describes an aesthetics and a subjectivity shaped on one side by suicide and on the other by a life drive that is also, paradoxically, negative, in that it turns toward life by turning away from the world of injury, negation, and contingency that endure as an defining presence for biopolitical subjects. It suggests attending to and developing a dissociative poetics. The talk will be less abstract than this abstract.

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