CRUEL OPTIMISM

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Cruel Optimism

Author : Lauren Berlant
ISBN : 0822351110
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 40.34 MB
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A relation of cruel optimism exists when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing. Offering bold new ways of conceiving the present, Lauren Berlant describes the cruel optimism that has prevailed since the 1980s, as the social-democratic promise of the postwar period in the United States and Europe has retracted. People have remained attached to unachievable fantasies of the good life—with its promises of upward mobility, job security, political and social equality, and durable intimacy—despite evidence that liberal-capitalist societies can no longer be counted on to provide opportunities for individuals to make their lives “add up to something.” Arguing that the historical present is perceived affectively before it is understood in any other way, Berlant traces affective and aesthetic responses to the dramas of adjustment that unfold amid talk of precarity, contingency, and crisis. She suggests that our stretched-out present is characterized by new modes of temporality, and she explains why trauma theory—with its focus on reactions to the exceptional event that shatters the ordinary—is not useful for understanding the ways that people adjust over time, once crisis itself has become ordinary. Cruel Optimism is a remarkable affective history of the present.
Category: Literary Criticism

Cruel Optimism

Author : Lauren Berlant
ISBN : 0822350971
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 20.27 MB
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A relation of cruel optimism exists when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing. Offering bold new ways of conceiving the present, Lauren Berlant describes the cruel optimism that has prevailed since the 1980s, as the social-democratic promise of the postwar period in the United States and Europe has retracted. People have remained attached to unachievable fantasies of the good life—with its promises of upward mobility, job security, political and social equality, and durable intimacy—despite evidence that liberal-capitalist societies can no longer be counted on to provide opportunities for individuals to make their lives “add up to something.” Arguing that the historical present is perceived affectively before it is understood in any other way, Berlant traces affective and aesthetic responses to the dramas of adjustment that unfold amid talk of precarity, contingency, and crisis. She suggests that our stretched-out present is characterized by new modes of temporality, and she explains why trauma theory—with its focus on reactions to the exceptional event that shatters the ordinary—is not useful for understanding the ways that people adjust over time, once crisis itself has become ordinary. Cruel Optimism is a remarkable affective history of the present.
Category: Literary Criticism

Two Girls Fat And Thin

Author : Mary Gaitskill
ISBN : 9781439128800
Genre : Fiction
File Size : 87.61 MB
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This captivating novel shimmers with dark intensity and wicked wit. In a stunning synthesis of eroticism, rage, pathos, and humor, Gaitskill's "fine storyteller's pace and brilliant metaphors" (The New York Times Book Review) create a haunting and unforgettable journey into the dark side of contemporary life and the deepest recesses of the soul.
Category: Fiction

The Affect Theory Reader

Author : Melissa Gregg
ISBN : 9780822347767
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 74.14 MB
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A collection of essays on affect theory by groundbreaking scholars in the field
Category: Literary Criticism

Desire Love

Author : Lauren Berlant
ISBN : 9780615686875
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 75.87 MB
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"There is nothing more alienating than having your pleasures disputed by someone with a theory," writes Lauren Berlant. Yet the ways in which we live sexuality and intimacy have been profoundly shaped by theories - especially psychoanalytic ones, which have helped to place sexuality and desire at the center of the modern story about what a person is and how her history should be read. At the same time, other modes of explanation have been offered by popular and mass culture. In these domains, sexual desire is not deemed the core story of life; it is mixed up with romance, a particular version of the story of love. In this small theoretical novella-cum-dictionary entry, Lauren Berlant engages love and desire in separate entries. In the first entry, Desire mainly describes the feeling one person has for something else: it is organized by psychoanalytic accounts of attachment, and tells briefly the history of their importance in critical theory and practice. The second entry, on Love, begins with an excursion into fantasy, moving away from the parent-child structure so central to psychoanalysis and looking instead at the centrality of context, environment, and history. The entry on Love describes some workings of romance across personal life and commodity culture, the place where subjects start to think about fantasy on behalf of their actual lives. Whether viewed psychoanalytically, institutionally, or ideologically, love is deemed always an outcome of fantasy. Without fantasy, there would be no love. Desire/Love takes us on a tour of all of the things that sentence might mean.
Category: Literary Criticism

The Queen Of America Goes To Washington City

Author : Lauren Gail Berlant
ISBN : 0822319241
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 50.56 MB
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Drawing on literature, the law, and popular media--and "taking her (counter)cue from that celebrated sitcom of American life, 'The Reagan Years'" (Homi K. Bhabha)--Berlant presents a stunning and major statement about the nation and its citizens in an age of mass mediation. Her intriguing narratives and gallery of images will challenge readers to rethink what it means to be an American and seek salvation in its promise. 57 photos.
Category: Political Science

Sex Or The Unbearable

Author : Lauren Berlant
ISBN : 9780822355946
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 88.39 MB
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In Sex, or the Unbearable two of our leading theorists of sexuality, politics, and culture engage in intense and animated dialogue about living with—and imagining alternatives to—what's overwhelming in sex, friendship, social inequality, and one's relation to oneself.
Category: Literary Criticism

The Promise Of Happiness

Author : Sara Ahmed
ISBN : 9780822392781
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 75.92 MB
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The Promise of Happiness is a provocative cultural critique of the imperative to be happy. It asks what follows when we make our desires and even our own happiness conditional on the happiness of others: “I just want you to be happy”; “I’m happy if you’re happy.” Combining philosophy and feminist cultural studies, Sara Ahmed reveals the affective and moral work performed by the “happiness duty,” the expectation that we will be made happy by taking part in that which is deemed good, and that by being happy ourselves, we will make others happy. Ahmed maintains that happiness is a promise that directs us toward certain life choices and away from others. Happiness is promised to those willing to live their lives in the right way. Ahmed draws on the intellectual history of happiness, from classical accounts of ethics as the good life, through seventeenth-century writings on affect and the passions, eighteenth-century debates on virtue and education, and nineteenth-century utilitarianism. She engages with feminist, antiracist, and queer critics who have shown how happiness is used to justify social oppression, and how challenging oppression causes unhappiness. Reading novels and films including Mrs. Dalloway, The Well of Loneliness, Bend It Like Beckham, and Children of Men, Ahmed considers the plight of the figures who challenge and are challenged by the attribution of happiness to particular objects or social ideals: the feminist killjoy, the unhappy queer, the angry black woman, and the melancholic migrant. Through her readings she raises critical questions about the moral order imposed by the injunction to be happy.
Category: Philosophy

Object Lessons

Author : Robyn Wiegman
ISBN : 9780822351603
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 35.20 MB
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A passionate advocate of identity studies and a keen reader of U.S. institutional politics, Robyn Wiegman turns her attention in Object Lessons to the critical practices and political ambitions of identity-based fields. In a series of case studies drawn from women s studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, and American studies, she examines the unspoken belief that better theory will produce progressive social change in order to consider the political desire that fuels current scholarly debate. Her metacritical analysis is neither a defense nor a dismissal of such political commitment but a sustained inquiry into the hope it generates, the thinking it inspires, and the conformity it inadvertently demands.
Category: Literary Criticism

Awkward Politics

Author : Carrie Smith-Prei
ISBN : 9780773598973
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 69.53 MB
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The increased use of digital tools for political activism has triggered heated debates about the effectiveness of digital campaigns for political change and feminist causes. While technology’s immediacy and transnational reach have broadened the potential impact of activism, it has, at the same time, complicated the goals, materiality, and consumption of feminist actions. In Awkward Politics, Carrie Smith-Prei and Maria Stehle suggest that awkwardness offers a means of engaging with twenty-first century feminist activism by accounting for the uncertainty of popfeminist moments and movements, its sometimes illegible meanings, affects, and aesthetics. By investigating transnational media ranging from popfeminist performance art, music, street activism, blogs, and hashtags to literature, film, academic theory, and protests, the authors demonstrate that viewing activist art through the lens of awkwardness can yield a nuanced critique. By developing awkwardness into a theoretical tool for intervention, a key concept of feminist politics, and a moving target, this innovative study dramatically alters the ways in which we approach activism, its forms, movements, and effects. It also suggests a broad range of applicability, from social movements to the academy. Breaking new ground through the intersections of technology, consumerism, and the political in popfeminist work, Awkward Politics highlights the urgency of feminist politics and activism.
Category: Social Science