This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.
Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.
Wellness as Metaphor: Mapping Affect in Heidi Julavits The Vanishers
A staff and postgraduate research seminar.
Narratives of wellness take part in the myth that each neoliberal subject exists as a private and privatized actor able to make decisions that reflect their best interests; attenuated to the smallest fluctuation in bodily states, wellness constantly takes measure of the body.The increasingly visible relationship between affect and labor makes wellness, perhaps, the affect of neoliberalism par excellence. The role of wellness programs is the maintenance of appropriate affective states for working environments.
This talk examines the increased language surrounding wellness in the United States through a discussion of Heidi Julavits’s The Vanishers. The Vanishers insistently maps ways narratives of wellness creep into contemporary American fiction. In The Vanishers the everyday routinization of monitoring affective states becomes deeply entangled in productivity. Julavits describes affective states as contagious and open to influence and attack from others. These attacks force people out of appropriate affective states rendering them unacceptable laboring bodies.
About the speaker
Dr Sean Grattan is Lecturer in American Literature in the School of English, University of Kent.
His research interests include contemporary American literature, twentieth century American literature, gender and sexuality studies, utopian literature, and affect theory. He has published essays on Colson Whitehead, Toni Morrison, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, and William S. Burroughs. He recently co-edited a special issue of Cultural Critique titled “What Comes After the Subject?”
He is at work on my monograph Utopian Affects: Horizons of Community in Contemporary American Literature, which examines the often denigrated place of utopian literature and theory within the contemporary American literary landscape.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this event.
Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies
We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Find out more on our Events page.
Many of our public lectures, seminars and conferences are recorded, and can be listened to as podcasts.
- 29th January 2021
- Title TBC
- Online (Zoom)
- Dr Hannah-Rose Murray (University of Edinburgh)