Media | Art | Politics:  Soirées on Optimism, Failure and Care

Media | Art | Politics:  Soirées on Optimism, Failure and Care

MAP will continue this semester as a series of soirées: three reading sessions in which we will be reading, integrally, the following three books:

  • 17 February: Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism (Duke UP 2011)
  • t.b.a.: Jack Halberstam’s Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP 2011)
  • t.b.a.: Maria Puig de Bellacasa’s Matters of Care (Minnesota UP 2017).

Offering a radical reframing of the concepts of optimism, failure, and care, these books converge in that they meet the ongoing crisis of our current, transitional, moment (in both the humanities and society at large) heads on. “[T]o attend to the terms of transition is to forge imaginaries to manage the meanwhile,” Berlant writes. As such, we expect, these books to offer nothing less of a “healing reading”: a way of coping and bargaining with what is there.

Sessions will take place on Monday evenings from 17.00 till 19.00 in Lipsius 208 (Leiden University). Places are limited, registration is required. To register, please send a message with your affiliation and commitment to the organizers before the 5th of February. In order to optimally profit from our collective reading, we expect the participants to commit to be present and read the material for all three sessions. Research MA students can earn 2 ecs by participating.

The MAP Soirées on Optimism, Failure and Care are funded NICA (Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis), and LUCAS (Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society). They are organized and will be led by Pepita Hesselberth ( and Yasco Horsman (