Negativity and Resilience, Fantasy and Hope: Multivectoral Dialogues between Laurent Berlant and German(-émigré) Critical Theory


This keynote will trace multidirectional influences and resonances between Berlant’s thought and German studies through a larger project of rethinking political aesthetics for our current moment. The larger project undertakes dialogues between early and mid-twentieth century German-émigré thinking on political aesthetics in the face of fascism (Adorno, Benjamin, Bloch) and twenty-first-century work in affect and queer studies, neo-Marxism and Black radical theory. In particular, the talk will attend to Berlant’s dual focus on tracking lived realities in the age of neoliberalism and reemerging fascism and transforming cruel optimism into hope, or imagining visions for “making the world anew.

The event is co-sponsored by the Centre for European Studies at UBC.

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