Lauren Berlant Reading Group
Thu 25 August 2022
This reading group will focus on 'Cruel Optimism' by Lauren Berlant. We will read from the beginning and see how far we get / would like to go. Reading material will be provided, but please bring a copy of the text if you have one. The focus will be to read together, have some discussion but mainly enjoy the experience of reading and allowing time to form thoughts during and after the session.
There is no expectation to contribute reading out loud or comments, participants can opt in to or out of reading during the session. The session will be led by Caitlin Merrett King, who is graduating from MLitt Art Writing this year; this reading group has been programmed as part of 'Good Lighting', the MLitt Art Writing degree show programme. This is intended to be the first pilot session of the reading group, participants will be invited to join the group again and discuss how it could continue past this session.
Please contact Caitlin if you have any questions about the group.
Lauren Berlant was a scholar and cultural theorist and, from 1984 until their death in 2021, a Professor of English at the University of Chicago. They specialised in queer, affect theory as a way of exploring and defining individual and collective desires, emotions and attachments.
In ‘Cruel Optimism’, Berlant saught to criticise the unacheivable socio-economic fantasies of the postwar West — promises of the ‘good life’, true intimacy, security and equality, and upward mobility. Today, this text still offers vital criticism of how life and relationships are sustained under liberal capitalism.
Part of Good Lighting