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Modernism’s Gifts: Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, and the Novel

Modernisms Gifts_thumb

Rebecca Colesworthy, Draper Program in Humanities and Social Thought, NYU

December 7, Monday
12:30 to 1:45 PM

Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality
41-51 East 11th Street, Room 709
between University Place and Broadway
wheelchair access at 85-87 University Place between 11th & 12th Streets

This talk proposes a connection between the “modernist turn” in Anglo-American literature and the “return” of themes of the gift hailed by anthropologist Marcel Mauss in his 1924 essay, The Gift. Building on readings of novels by Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys, and Stevie Smith, Colesworthy explores the ways in which theories of the gift, exchange, and subjective and symbolic “economies” help us to reevaluate the ethical and political stakes of modernism, while also suggesting that their texts make distinctively literary – and sometimes feminist – contributions to the largely androcentric interdisciplinary corpus inspired, at least in part, by Mauss’s essay. Not only do their novels demystify and enable us to think beyond the long-term limit of structuralist and psychoanalytic theories alike – that is, the “riddle of femininity” – but they also plot the conditions and conventions propitious for gifts with the potential to disrupt the social and sexual status quo, thus conjugating the challenges of literary innovation and social transformation.

Rebecca Colesworthy is an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in Literary Cultures at NYU’s John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Humanities and Social Thought. She received her B.A. in English and Women’s Studies from Brown University and her Ph.D. in English from Cornell University. Her research interests include Anglo-American and comparative modernism, gender and sexuality studies, and literary and critical theory. Her current project, “Modernism’s Gifts,” explores the relationship between modernist ethics and poetics by juxtaposing the work of Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys, and Stevie Smith with theories of the gift and exchange drawn from the fields of anthropology, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. In addition to completing articles on Jean Rhys and Jacques Lacan, she looks forward to undertaking her next project, which considers the ways in which various 20th-century writers reimagine the traditionally exceptional position of the feminine subject with respect to moral laws.

Part of the Brown Bag Lunch Series. Bring your own lunch – we’ll provide beverages!

This event is free and open to the public.  If you need sign language interpretation services or other accommodations, please let us know as soon as possible.

For more information, please call 212-992-9540 or email csgs@nyu.edu.

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* FALL 2016 EVENTS *

csgs fall 2016 calendcar SMALL

After Marriage: The Future of LGBTQ Politics & Scholarship

After Marriage: The Future of LGBTQ Politics & Scholarship

a two-day conference with featured speakers Karma Chávez, Lisa Duggan, Katherine Franke, Bridget Hughes, Simone Kolysh, Kevin Lotz, Darnell L. Moore, Mignon Moore, Robyn Ochs, Brandon Andrew Robinson, stef shuster, Steven Thrasher, Urvashi Vaid, and many others

October 1 & 2, Saturday & Sunday

524 West 59th Street
NYC

Life & Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980 to 1983

Life & Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980 to 1983

a one-day symposium featuring Tim Lawrence (University of East London), Bernie Gendron (music historian), Leonard Abrams (East Village Eye), Patti Astor (downtown actor, Fun Gallery, Wild Style), Johnny Dynell (Mudd Club, Pyramid, Danceteria, Area), Steven Harvey (New York Rocker), Danny Krivit (Roxy), Sal Principato (Liquid Liquid), John Robie (musician, producer), Sharon White (The Saint), Pat Ivers & Emily Armstrong (Nightclubbing), Kit Fitzgerald (video artist), Marvin Taylor (NYU), Jeffrey Deitch (gallerist), Michael Holman (Canal Zone, Gray, Negril, breaking impresario), Chi Chi Valenti (Mudd Club, Danceteria), Michael Zilkha (ZE Records), & Sukhdev Sandhu (NYU)

October 8, Saturday
10 am to 6 pm

721 Broadway, 6th Floor, room 612
NYC

Trans Capable: Fungibility, Fugitivity, & the Fleshly Matter of Being

Trans Capable: Fungibility, Fugitivity, & the Fleshly Matter of Being

a lecture by C. Riley Snorton

October 13, Thursday
6 to 7:30 pm

20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor
NYC