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September 15, 2003

Noted Cultural Studies Expert Lauren Berlant to Address "Public Feelings " in Public Lecture Series

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Leading cultural studies scholar and feminist theorist Lauren Berlant, professor of English at the University of Chicago, will deliver three public lectures at Smith this year as the William Allan Neilson Professor in Women's Studies.

The lecture series will address the theme "Public Feelings: Love, Compassion, and Indifference in the U.S." Each talk will take place in the Leo Weinstein Auditorium in Wright Hall at 4:30 p.m. and will be followed by a reception in the Neilson Browsing Room. The events are free of charge and wheelchair accessible.

On Thursday, Sept. 18, Berlant will present "Remembering Love, Forgetting Everything Else: Now, Voyager," in which she will explore some of the compromises women and-less often-men make in order to secure or remain in love relationships. The lecture culls from the 1942 film "Now, Voyager," which starred Bette Davis as a painfully introverted woman who undergoes a dramatic transformation and begins a relationship with a married man.

Berlant's second lecture, "Capitalism and Compassion," will take place on Monday, Oct. 20. Her final talk, "Why Be Normal? Globalization, Psychoanalysis, and Intimacy," will be delivered on Monday, Nov. 17.

Over the last decade, Berlant has established an international reputation for her in-depth cultural analyses of the social and historical construction of emotions and attachments, particularly for women.

Her most recent books are "The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship" (1997) and "Our Monica, Our Selves: Clinton, Scandal, and Affairs of State" (2001).

Berlant is the recipient of numerous awards for her scholarly contributions to gender studies and the humanities. She received the 1999 Society of American Publishers award for Best Special Issue of a magazine or journal, which became her book "Intimacy"(2001). In 1993, she won the Norman Foerster Award for the year's best essay in American literature for "The Queen of America Goes to Washington City (Harriet Jacobs, Frances Harper, Anita Hill)," on which she later based the book of the same title.

The Neilson Professorship, which commemorates President William Allan Neilson, was established in 1927. Berlant joins past Neilson professors such as Alfred Kazin (English, 1954-55), Eudora Welty (English, 1961-62), Charles Hamilton (government, 1988-89) and Romila Thapar (religion and biblical literature, 1998-99).


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