Sex, Gender, and Sexuality Symposium lecture: Lauren Berlant
Thursday, September 11, 7:00 PM
Vollum lecture hall
This event is open to the public.
"Structures of Unfeeling: Mysterious Skin"
Lauren Berlant, George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor in the English department at the University of Chicago, talks about flat affect, anachronism, and the history of the present. The concept of a "structure of feeling" offered by Raymond Williams points to atmospheres shared among strangers but circulating beneath the surface of explicit life. How do we access that material? What happens to our capacity for trust and interpretation when the shared affects are manifested in flat or recessive styles of being that occlude expressivity? “Structures of Unfeeling: Mysterious Skin" works with Scott Heim's novel and Gregg Araki's film to think about how scenes of "underperformed” or flat emotion shift social norms of trust and aesthetic norms of the event: to do this, it implicates a history of aesthetic movements from 20th century avant-gardes and theories of traumatic dissociation to the inside knowledges of sexual culture and the DIY aesthetics of punk and mumblecore. Berlant is the author of Cruel Optimism and Desire/Love, and coauthor of Sex, or the Unbearable. Sponsored by the departments of anthropology, art history, classics, dance, English, French, German, linguistics, music, philosophy, political science, religion, Russian, sociology, Spanish, and theatre; the Cooley Gallery; the Center for Teaching and Learning; and the offices of Institutional Diversity and the Dean of the Faculty.
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