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Lauren Berlant papers

Biographical/Historical Note

Lauren Berlant (born 1957), has been the George M. Pullman professor of English, Gender Studies, and the Humanities at the University of Chicago since 1984 after receiving her PhD from Cornell University.

Her work has focused on the “components of belonging in the U.S. nineteenth and twentieth centuries—now the twenty-first: in particular, in relation to juridical citizenship, to informal and normative modes of social belonging, and to practices of intimacy as they absorb legal, normative, and fantasmatic forces. These scenes of relation articulate state, juridical, and institutional practices of zoning and more abstract boundary-drawing—between public and private, white and non-white, and/or citizen and foreigner—with other kinds of social bonds through which people imagine and practice world-making.”

Berlant is interested in how modes of social membership flourish that absorb the blows of power while preserving critical and optimistic attachments to the political as a site of a vaguely rendered, collective ongoingness or potentiality. To this end, [she has] finished a trilogy on national sentimentality—in order of their historical address, The Anatomy of National Fantasy (Chicago, 1991); The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture (2009); and The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship (Duke, 1997). [She has] also followed out this interest in collective attachments and affects in [her] edited volumes Intimacy (Chicago, 2000); Our Monica, Ourselves: Clinton and the Affairs of State (with Lisa Duggan; NYU, 2001); and Compassion: the Culture and Politics of an Emotion (Routledge, 2004).

The information cited in this section was retrieved from The Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago. (2015). http://english.uchicago.edu/faculty/lauren-berlant.