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The Queen of America Goes to Washington City

The Queen of America Goes to Washington City Author Lauren Gail Berlant
ISBN-10 0822319241
Release 1997
Pages 308
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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.



Desire Love

Desire Love Author Lauren Berlant
ISBN-10 9780615686875
Release 2012
Pages 142
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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.



After Sex

After Sex Author Janet Halley
ISBN-10 9780822349099
Release 2011
Pages 321
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Prominent participants in the development of queer theory explore the field in relation to their own intellectual itineraries, reflecting on its accomplishments, limitations, and critical potential.



Cruel Optimism

Cruel Optimism Author Lauren Berlant
ISBN-10 0822350971
Release 2011-10-27
Pages 352
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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.



Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies

Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies Author Jodi Dean
ISBN-10 9780822390923
Release 2009-08-12
Pages 228
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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.



Split Decisions

Split Decisions Author Janet Halley
ISBN-10 9781400827350
Release 2008-04-01
Pages 424
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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.



The New American Exceptionalism

The New American Exceptionalism Author Donald E. Pease
ISBN-10 9780816627820
Release 2009
Pages 246
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For a half century following the end of World War II, the seemingly permanent cold war provided the United States with an organizing logic that governed nearly every aspect of American society and culture, giving rise to an unwavering belief in the nation's exceptionalism in global affairs and world history. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, this cold war paradigm was replaced by a series of new ideological narratives that ultimately resulted in the establishment of another potentially endless war: the global war on terror. In The New American Exceptionalism, pioneering scholar Donald E. Pease traces the evolution of these state fantasies and shows how they have shaped U.S. national identity since the end of the cold war, uncovering the ideological and cultural work required to convince Americans to surrender their civil liberties in exchange for the illusion of security. His argument follows the chronology of the transitions between paradigms from the inauguration of the New World Order under George H. W. Bush to the homeland security state that George W. Bush's administration installed in the wake of 9/11. Providing clear and convincing arguments about how the concept of American exceptionalism was reformulated and redeployed in this era, Pease examines a wide range of cultural works and political spectacles, including the exorcism of the Vietnam syndrome through victory in the Persian Gulf War and the creation of Islamic extremism as an official state enemy. At the same time, Pease notes that state fantasies cannot altogether conceal the inconsistencies they mask, showing how such events as the revelations of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and the exposure of government incompetence after Hurricane Katrina opened fissures in the myth of exceptionalism, allowing Barack Obama to challenge the homeland security paradigm with an alternative state fantasy that privileges fairness, inclusion, and justice.



The Female Complaint

The Female Complaint Author Lauren Berlant
ISBN-10 9780822389163
Release 2008-02-25
Pages 368
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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.



Deviations

Deviations Author Gayle Rubin
ISBN-10 9780822349860
Release 2011-11-28
Pages 484
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Collection of writings by Gayle S. Rubin, an American theorist and activist in feminist, lesbian and gay, queer, and sexuality studies since the 1970s.



Neoliberalism as Exception

Neoliberalism as Exception Author Aihwa Ong
ISBN-10 9780822387879
Release 2006-06-28
Pages 304
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Neoliberalism is commonly viewed as an economic doctrine that seeks to limit the scope of government. Some consider it a form of predatory capitalism with adverse effects on the Global South. In this groundbreaking work, Aihwa Ong offers an alternative view of neoliberalism as an extraordinarily malleable technology of governing that is taken up in different ways by different regimes, be they authoritarian, democratic, or communist. Ong shows how East and Southeast Asian states are making exceptions to their usual practices of governing in order to position themselves to compete in the global economy. As she demonstrates, a variety of neoliberal strategies of governing are re-engineering political spaces and populations. Ong’s ethnographic case studies illuminate experiments and developments such as China’s creation of special market zones within its socialist economy; pro-capitalist Islam and women’s rights in Malaysia; Singapore’s repositioning as a hub of scientific expertise; and flexible labor and knowledge regimes that span the Pacific. Ong traces how these and other neoliberal exceptions to business as usual are reconfiguring relationships between governing and the governed, power and knowledge, and sovereignty and territoriality. She argues that an interactive mode of citizenship is emerging, one that organizes people—and distributes rights and benefits to them—according to their marketable skills rather than according to their membership within nation-states. Those whose knowledge and skills are not assigned significant market value—such as migrant women working as domestic maids in many Asian cities—are denied citizenship. Nevertheless, Ong suggests that as the seam between sovereignty and citizenship is pried apart, a new space is emerging for NGOs to advocate for the human rights of those excluded by neoliberal measures of human worthiness.



The Anatomy of National Fantasy

The Anatomy of National Fantasy Author Lauren Berlant
ISBN-10 0226043770
Release 1991-08-13
Pages 269
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Examining the complex relationships between the political, popular, sexual, and textual interests of Nathaniel Hawthorne's work, Lauren Berlant argues that Hawthorne mounted a sophisticated challenge to America's collective fantasy of national unity. She shows how Hawthorne's idea of citizenship emerged from an attempt to adjudicate among the official and the popular, the national and the local, the collective and the individual, utopia and history. At the core of Berlant's work is a three-part study of The Scarlet Letter, analyzing the modes and effects of national identity that characterize the narrator's representation of Puritan culture and his construction of the novel's political present tense. This analysis emerges from an introductory chapter on American citizenship in the 1850s and a following chapter on national fantasy, ranging from Hawthorne's early work "Alice Doane's Appeal" to the Statue of Liberty. In her conclusion, Berlant suggests that Hawthorne views everyday life and local political identities as alternate routes to the revitalization of the political and utopian promises of modern national life.



Sex Or the Unbearable

Sex  Or the Unbearable Author Lauren Berlant
ISBN-10 9780822355946
Release 2013-12-09
Pages 149
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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.



Ordinary Affects

Ordinary Affects Author Kathleen Stewart
ISBN-10 9780822390404
Release 2007-08-30
Pages 144
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Ordinary Affects is a singular argument for attention to the affective dimensions of everyday life and the potential that animates the ordinary. Known for her focus on the poetics and politics of language and landscape, the anthropologist Kathleen Stewart ponders how ordinary impacts create the subject as a capacity to affect and be affected. In a series of brief vignettes combining storytelling, close ethnographic detail, and critical analysis, Stewart relates the intensities and banalities of common experiences and strange encounters, half-spied scenes and the lingering resonance of passing events. While most of the instances rendered are from Stewart’s own life, she writes in the third person in order to reflect on how intimate experiences of emotion, the body, other people, and time inextricably link us to the outside world. Stewart refrains from positing an overarching system—whether it’s called globalization or neoliberalism or capitalism—to describe the ways that economic, political, and social forces shape individual lives. Instead, she begins with the disparate, fragmented, and seemingly inconsequential experiences of everyday life to bring attention to the ordinary as an integral site of cultural politics. Ordinary affect, she insists, is registered in its particularities, yet it connects people and creates common experiences that shape public feeling. Through this anecdotal history—one that poetically ponders the extremes of the ordinary and portrays the dense network of social and personal connections that constitute a life—Stewart asserts the necessity of attending to the fleeting and changeable aspects of existence in order to recognize the complex personal and social dynamics of the political world.



On Having an Own Child

On Having an Own Child Author Karin Lesnik-Oberstein
ISBN-10 9780429916953
Release 2018-04-24
Pages 224
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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.



Intimacy

Intimacy Author Lauren Gail Berlant
ISBN-10 0226384411
Release 2000
Pages 455
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Last year's impeachment of President Bill Clinton demonstrated the paradox, but did not begin to explain it. How is it that "private matters" are analyzed endlessly in public forums on a daily basis? Why is it assumed that "getting a life" means having a private relationship? Intended to unravel some of the tangled relations that fall under the broad category of "intimacy," this provocative collection of sixteen essays articulates the ways in which intimate lives are connected with the institutions, ideologies, and desires that organize people's worlds. Locating its domain in the familiar spaces of friendship, love, sex, family, and feeling "at home," Intimacy also examines the estrangement, betrayal, loneliness, and even violence that may accompany the demise of relationships, both personal and political. These include intimacies among strangers, such as happens in times of national scandal or habits of everyday life. The contributors to this volume traverse many disciplines and cultures, tracking the processes by which intimate lives absorb and repel the dominant rhetoric, law, ethics, and ideologies of public spheres. Drawing on examples from contemporary culture, history, art, literature, and music, this book illuminates the ways in which intimacy has become linked with stories of citizenship, capitalism, aesthetic forms, and the writing of history. As it challenges conventional notions of private life, Intimacy is sure to spark controversy about its institutions as well. Some of these essays in this book were previously published in an award-winning issue of the journal "Critical Inquiry." Contributors include Lauren Berlant, Svetlana Boym, Steven Feld, Deborah R. Grayson, Michael Hanchard, Dagmar Herzog, Annamarie Jagose, Laura Kipnis, Laura Letinsky, Biddy Martin, Maureen McLane, Mary Poovey, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick, Joel Snyder, Candace Vogler, Michael Warner, and others.



Somebody s Children

Somebody   s Children Author Laura Briggs
ISBN-10 9780822351610
Release 2012-03-07
Pages 360
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A feminist historian and an adoptive parent, Laura Briggs gives an account of transracial and transnational adoption from the point of view of the mothers and communities that lose their children.



The Global and the Intimate

The Global and the Intimate Author Geraldine Pratt
ISBN-10 9780231520843
Release 2012-06-12
Pages 384
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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.