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December 13: Depression: A Public Feeling

a talk by Ann Cvetkovich

December 13, Thursday
6 to 8 pm

Department of Social and Cultural Analysis
20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor

Ann Cvetkovich, English, University of Texas at Austin

Introduction by Cristina Beltrán, Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University

In Depression: A Public Feeling, Ann Cvetkovich combines memoir and critical essay in search of ways of writing about depression as a cultural and political phenomenon that offer alternatives to medical models. She describes her own experience of the professional pressures, creative anxiety, and political hopelessness that led to intellectual blockage while she was finishing her dissertation and writing her first book. Building on the insights of the memoir, in the critical essay she considers the idea that feeling bad constitutes the lived experience of neoliberal capitalism.

Cvetkovich draws on an unusual archive, including accounts of early Christian acedia and spiritual despair, texts connecting the histories of slavery and colonialism with their violent present-day legacies, and utopian spaces created from lesbian feminist practices of crafting. She herself seeks to craft a queer cultural analysis that accounts for depression as a historical category, a felt experience, and a point of entry into discussions about theory, contemporary culture, and everyday life. Depression: A Public Feeling suggests that utopian visions can reside in daily habits and practices, such as writing and yoga, and it highlights the centrality of somatic and felt experience to political activism and social transformation.

Ann Cvetkovich is Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of English and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Mixed Feelings: Feminism, Mass Culture, and Victorian Sensationalism (Rutgers, 1992); An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (Duke, 2003); and Depression: A Public Feeling (Duke, 2012). She co-edited (with Ann Pellegrini) “Public Sentiments,” a special issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online, and (with Janet Staiger and Ann Reynolds) Political Emotions (Routledge, 2010). She has been coeditor, with Annamarie Jagose, of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Her current writing projects focus on the current state of LGBTQ archives and the creative use of them by artists to create counterarchives and interventions in public history.

Cristina Beltrán is an associate professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. A political theorist by training, her research focuses on modern and contemporary political theory, democratic theory, Latino studies and Latino politics in the United States, U.S. race politics, gender and sexuality, and American political thought. She is the author of The Trouble with Unity: Latino Politics and the Creation of Identity (Oxford University Press, 2010), recipient of the American Political Science Association’s 2011 Ralph Bunche Award, APSA’s Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section award for the best book on racial and ethnic political identities, ideologies, and theories, and Cuba’s Casa de la Américas prize for the best book on the subject of Latinos in the United States. Her current research project (provisionally titled Latino Conservatives: Racial Shame, Racial Success, and the Politics of Transformation) explores how Latino conservative thought is shaped not only by ideology but by questions of affect and aesthetics. Her work has appeared in Political Theory, Aztlán, the Du Bois Review, Politics & Gender, Political Research Quarterly, and various edited volumes.

This event is free and open to the public. Venue is wheelchair accessible.

For more information about this event, contact the NYU Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at 212-992-9540.

Sponsored by the NYU Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.



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