The Queen of America Goes to Washington City

Author: Lauren Gail Berlant
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822319245
Format: PDF, Kindle
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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.

On Having an Own Child

Author: Karin Lesnik-Oberstein
Publisher: Karnac Books
ISBN: 1780494130
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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How are ideas of genetics, 'blood', the family, and relatedness created and consumed?This is the first book ever to consider in depth why people want children, and specifically why people want children produced by reproductive technologies (such as IVF, ICSI etc). As the book demonstrates, even books ostensibly devoted to the topic of why people want children and the reasons for using reproductive technologies tend to start with the assumption that this is either simply a biological drive to reproduce, or a socially instilled desire. This book uses psychoanalysis not to provide an answer in its own right, but as an analytic tool to probe more deeply the problems of these assumptions. The idea that reproductive technologies simply supply an 'own' child is questioned in this volume in terms of asking how and why reproductive technologies are seen to create this 'ownness'.Given that it is the idea of an 'own' child that underpins and justifies the whole use of reproductive technologies, this book is a crucial and wholly original intervention in this complex and highly topical area.

Sex Or the Unbearable

Author: Lauren Berlant
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822355949
Format: PDF, Docs
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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.

Desire Love

Author: Lauren Berlant
Publisher: punctum books
ISBN: 0615686877
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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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.

The Global and the Intimate

Author: Geraldine Pratt
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231520840
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Sixteen essays by prominent feminist scholars and authors establish new paths in the study of intimacy and globalization, challenging globalization’s grand narratives and their representation of women as either victims of forced migration or local actors of limited influence. These essays intervene in grand narratives of global relations by focusing on the specific, the quotidian, the affective, and the eccentric. They scrutinize the frames we use to recognize and organize intimacy and analyze the global forces that undergird personal experience and exchange. Writing from multiple disciplinary and geographical perspectives, contributors extend a long-standing feminist tradition of challenging gender-based oppositions by upending hierarchies of space and scale. By placing the global and the intimate in near relation, they forge a distinctively feminist approach to questions of transnational relations, economic development, and intercultural exchange. This pairing encourages more personal modes of writing and engagement with the globalization debate and fashions a sense of justice that responds more thoroughly to the specificity of time, place, and feeling.

Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies

Author: Jodi Dean
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822390922
Format: PDF, ePub
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Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies is an impassioned call for the realization of a progressive left politics in the United States. Through an assessment of the ideologies underlying contemporary political culture, Jodi Dean takes the left to task for its capitulations to conservatives and its failure to take responsibility for the extensive neoliberalization implemented during the Clinton presidency. She argues that the left’s ability to develop and defend a collective vision of equality and solidarity has been undermined by the ascendance of “communicative capitalism,” a constellation of consumerism, the privileging of the self over group interests, and the embrace of the language of victimization. As Dean explains, communicative capitalism is enabled and exacerbated by the Web and other networked communications media, which reduce political energies to the registration of opinion and the transmission of feelings. The result is a psychotic politics where certainty displaces credibility and the circulation of intense feeling trumps the exchange of reason. Dean’s critique ranges from her argument that the term democracy has become a meaningless cipher invoked by the left and right alike to an analysis of the fantasy of free trade underlying neoliberalism, and from an examination of new theories of sovereignty advanced by politicians and left academics to a look at the changing meanings of “evil” in the speeches of U.S. presidents since the mid-twentieth century. She emphasizes the futility of a politics enacted by individuals determined not to offend anyone, and she examines questions of truth, knowledge, and power in relation to 9/11 conspiracy theories. Dean insists that any reestablishment of a vital and purposeful left politics will require shedding the mantle of victimization, confronting the marriage of neoliberalism and democracy, and mobilizing different terms to represent political strategies and goals.

Cruel Optimism

Author: Lauren Berlant
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
ISBN: 9780822350972
Format: PDF
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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.

The Female Complaint

Author: Lauren Berlant
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822389169
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The Female Complaint is part of Lauren Berlant’s groundbreaking “national sentimentality” project charting the emergence of the U.S. political sphere as an affective space of attachment and identification. In this book, Berlant chronicles the origins and conventions of the first mass-cultural “intimate public” in the United States, a “women’s culture” distinguished by a view that women inevitably have something in common and are in need of a conversation that feels intimate and revelatory. As Berlant explains, “women’s” books, films, and television shows enact a fantasy that a woman’s life is not just her own, but an experience understood by other women, no matter how dissimilar they are. The commodified genres of intimacy, such as “chick lit,” circulate among strangers, enabling insider self-help talk to flourish in an intimate public. Sentimentality and complaint are central to this commercial convention of critique; their relation to the political realm is ambivalent, as politics seems both to threaten sentimental values and to provide certain opportunities for their extension. Pairing literary criticism and historical analysis, Berlant explores the territory of this intimate public sphere through close readings of U.S. women’s literary works and their stage and film adaptations. Her interpretation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and its literary descendants reaches from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, touching on Shirley Temple, James Baldwin, and The Bridges of Madison County along the way. Berlant illuminates different permutations of the women’s intimate public through her readings of Edna Ferber’s Show Boat; Fannie Hurst’s Imitation of Life; Olive Higgins Prouty’s feminist melodrama Now, Voyager; Dorothy Parker’s poetry, prose, and Academy Award–winning screenplay for A Star Is Born; the Fay Weldon novel and Roseanne Barr film The Life and Loves of a She-Devil; and the queer, avant-garde film Showboat 1988–The Remake. The Female Complaint is a major contribution from a leading Americanist.

Rebels

Author: Leerom Medovoi
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822387298
Format: PDF, ePub
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Holden Caulfield, the beat writers, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and James Dean—these and other avatars of youthful rebellion were much more than entertainment. As Leerom Medovoi shows, they were often embraced and hotly debated at the dawn of the Cold War era because they stood for dissent and defiance at a time when the ideological production of the United States as leader of the “free world” required emancipatory figures who could represent America’s geopolitical claims. Medovoi argues that the “bad boy” became a guarantor of the country’s anti-authoritarian, democratic self-image: a kindred spirit to the freedom-seeking nations of the rapidly decolonizing third world and a counterpoint to the repressive conformity attributed to both the Soviet Union abroad and America’s burgeoning suburbs at home. Alongside the young rebel, the contemporary concept of identity emerged in the 1950s. It was in that decade that “identity” was first used to define collective selves in the politicized manner that is recognizable today: in terms such as “national identity” and “racial identity.” Medovoi traces the rapid absorption of identity themes across many facets of postwar American culture, including beat literature, the young adult novel, the Hollywood teen film, early rock ‘n’ roll, black drama, and “bad girl” narratives. He demonstrates that youth culture especially began to exhibit telltale motifs of teen, racial, sexual, gender, and generational revolt that would burst into political prominence during the ensuing decades, bequeathing to the progressive wing of contemporary American political culture a potent but ambiguous legacy of identity politics.

Split Decisions

Author: Janet Halley
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400827353
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Is it time to take a break from feminism? In this pathbreaking book, Janet Halley reassesses the place of feminism in the law and politics of sexuality. She argues that sexuality involves deeply contested and clashing realities and interests, and that feminism helps us understand only some of them. To see crucial dimensions of sexuality that feminism does not reveal--the interests of gays and lesbians to be sure, but also those of men, and of constituencies and values beyond the realm of sex and gender--we might need to take a break from feminism. Halley also invites feminism to abandon its uncritical relationship to its own power. Feminists are, in many areas of social and political life, partners in governance. To govern responsibly, even on behalf of women, Halley urges, feminists should try taking a break from their own presuppositions. Halley offers a genealogy of various feminisms and of gay, queer, and trans theories as they split from each other in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. All these incommensurate theories, she argues, enrich thinking on the left not despite their break from each other but because of it. She concludes by examining legal cases to show how taking a break from feminism can change your very perceptions of what's at stake in a decision and liberate you to decide it anew.