Lauren Berlant and Friends
Facilitated by Charlie Markbreiter

June 12, July 10, 24, 2022, 6–7:30pm, June 26, 2022, 12–2:30pm

About the reading group

This is a four session reading group that will take place both online and in person at Wendy's Subway.

Date: Alternating Sundays, June 12, June 26, July 10, July 24
Time: 6-7:30 pm EST (1 1/2 hours) Except for June 26.
Capacity: 15 in-person participants, unlimited online participants.
Cost: Sliding scale $10–30 per session ($40–120 total). This fee goes towards facilitator honorarium and WS overhead. No one turned away for lack of funds: email Sunny
Closed captions in English available for participants on Zoom.

Register here.

What if you Lauren Berlant so hard you can’t stop? Well, that happened to us, the Detachment Theory Reading Group. 

During these encore sessions, we will focus on texts which highlight the sourdough starter weirdness of Berlant’s oeuvre. We begin with an excerpt of Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (2007). If Berlant’s Cruel Optimism (2011) analyzed neoliberalism’s effect on the American Dream, Gilmore exposes the police apparatus which enabled that Dream in the first place. Using California’s expanding prison system as a case study, Gilmore shows how the racialized punishment and warehousing of “surplus” populations is deployed to manage the social inequality and unrest that neoliberalism generates. 

In our second session, we will look at Aurelia Guo’s World of Interiors (2022), whose table of contents is itself a poem. Referencing the history of “class publications,” “shelter magazines,” and the Conde Nast publishing memoir, The Glossy Years, Guo analyzes the era (Thatcherite England) which precedes her, and the world of interiors she currently inhabits. Like Berlant, Guo looks at how neoliberalism offers “freedom” in exchange for the retraction of the welfare state. She also talks about migration, the law, and flowers. Guo will join us to discuss and answer questions about her book.

The next two sessions will be organized based on our conversations and everyone’s interests. We would love for you to join us. 

As in our last sessions, you never have to do the readings. To quote health justice scholar Beatrice Adler-Bolton, “the text is just a jumping off point.”

About the instructor

Charlie Markbreiter is a PhD student in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, and has taught at CUNY’s Queens College campus since fall 2020. His first fiction book, Gossip Girl Fanfic Novella, is out from Kenning Editions fall 2022; his criticism has been featured in publications such as Art in America, Bookforum, Artforum and The New Inquiry, where he is also the Managing Editor. Charlie also helps run the Death Panel discord, an online free school which is free to join here

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