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Faculty Fellow

Lauren Berlant

George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor University of Chicago


Lauren Berlant (1957–2021) was a world-renowned scholar who examined what sentimentality means in American culture for gender, sexuality and politics. They sought to define the desires and emotions that compel people to create forms of life that support a sense of belonging, and the complex ways in which gender, race, citizenship, class, and sexuality affect and mold those attachments. Berlant’s award-winning book Cruel Optimism (2011) analyzed the devices that affect everyday human connections, and how the culturally conditioned material regard for the perfect life compels human beings to act against their own best interests.

To learn more about Lauren Berlant's research and publications, please visit their profile page at the Department of English.


Infrastructures for the Comedic

2014 – 2016