Cruel Optimism

On Cruel Optimism

sianne ngai

  Teaching “Sex in Public” (1998) a few months ago while in the middle of reading Cruel Optimism, I was struck anew by the moment when Berlant and Warner confront Biddy Martin’s critique of an aversion to the ordinary in … Continue reading “On Cruel Optimism”

Optimistic Cruelty

Lisa Duggan

  Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism has the uncanny quality of illuminating for readers what we believe we already knew.  Her renderings of the affective quality of everyday life at the center of a declining US American empire, offered to us … Continue reading “Optimistic Cruelty”

on (not) mentoring

kandice chuh

  The subject of the combover stands in front of the mirror just so, to appear as a person with a full head (of hair/ideas of the world). Harsh lighting, back views, nothing inconvenient is bearable in order for the … Continue reading “on (not) mentoring”

How Does It Feel?

kayla wazana tompkins

As someone who has been writing about food and eating for a long time, I am most intrigued with Cruel Optimism‘s engagement with eating in the third chapter, “Slow Death: Sovereignty, Obesity, Lateral Agency.” My sense is that food exists … Continue reading “How Does It Feel?”

Tone on the Range

kathryn bond stockton

  Lauren’s thought is fat: rich and extensive, spreading with pleasure.  And I’m headed to murder, fat, and luxury as I seek to fete her.  First, however, something in Lauren’s tone is moving.   The sly, alluring sadism of optimism … Continue reading “Tone on the Range”