In December, Lauren Berlant will visit the University of Amsterdam and participate in three events. Berlant is George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor of English at the University of Chicago. Her most recent books are Cruel Optimism (2011) addressing precarious publics and the aesthetics of affective adjustment in the contemporary U.S. and Europe and, with Lee Edelman, Sex, or the Unbearable (2014), a dialogue/argument about how negativity – the violence of self-difference – structures subjects and worlds, and whether and how repair is possible through theory, love, or politics. She is currently working on flat affect, and comedy, including an edited volume with Sianne Ngai, called Comedy, An Issue. She blogs at Supervalent Thought (www.supervalentthought.com) and is also a founding member of the art/activist group Feel Tank Chicago.
1) Public talk: Lauren Berlant: “Humorlessness/Politics”
Time: Monday, Dec. 14, 4-6pm
Location: Universiteitstheater (Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16), room 3.01
Abstract: This paper addresses humorlessness as ontology, performance, and affect; and as threat and aspiration. It asks how the encounter with humorlessness structures the political scene and style of encounter, and how the encounter with it changes according to where people are in a relation of power. It looks at how unlearning attachment to some styles of it without humor on the other side have been modeled aesthetically as performance. It is about the ordinariness of violence and its mediations, back and forth, in struggles over flavor, accent, tone, manners, and genre. Its cases are not about its boredom or banality but responses to the ferocity of exhaustion. The case studies derive from the space of US biopolitics and range from the League of Revolutionary Black Workers’ documentary, *Finally Got the News* (1970) to some contemporary political art of Steve McQueen, William Pope.L, and Claire Pentecost. The talk is humorless, among other things. It sees no solution in formal counter-crisis. This is a first foray into a new project.
2) Master class with Lauren Berlant Time
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 10am-1pm
In this master class, participants will have the chance to discuss Berlant’s book Cruel Optimism in combination with some more recent work on precarity and affect with the author. Readings as well as further information will be made available in advance to those who register. NICA RMA and PhD students can receive 1 EC for participating in this seminar. Please register by sending an email with a short motivation to firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Keynote at conference “Bland, Boring, Banal: Lackluster Feeling and Digital Media in Extreme Times”
Thursday, Dec. 17
For more information, please refer to: http://asca.uva.nl/events/news%5B2%5D/content2/2015/08/bland-boring-banal.html