Ian Watt Lecture in the History and Theory of the Novel, feat. Sianne Ngai
Fri June 3rd 2022, 5:00 - 7:00pm
Center for the Study of the Novel
Terrace Room, Margaret Jacks Hall, Room 426
Please join us on Friday, June 3rd for the Center for the Study of the Novel’s annual Ian Watt Lecture in the History and Theory of the Novel. We are delighted to welcome Sianne Ngai, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English at Chicago. Professor Ngai’s talk is titled Inhabiting Error: from Last Christmas to Senior’s Last Hour.
The event will be held at 5pm in the Terrace Room of Margaret Jacks Hall.
Sianne Ngai's first book, Ugly Feelings (2005, Harvard University Press), is considered a key work of affect theory for its focus on politically ambiguous, non-cathartic negative emotions— envy and irritation as opposed to anger and fear. Her second book, Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting (2012, Harvard University Press), which won the Modern Language Association’s James Russell Lowell Prize, argues for the contemporary centrality of three everyday aesthetic categories, which are approached with the same philosophical seriousness given to the beautiful and sublime. Ngai’s most recent book, Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form (2020, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), explores the “gimmick” as a verdictive speech act and form encoding a series of interconnected contradictions concerning labor, time, and value. Extending Ngai’s previous investigation of the rise of equivocal aesthetic judgments (such as the merely “interesting”), Theory of the Gimmick explores the uneasy mix of attraction and repulsion produced by the gimmick across a range of forms specific to capitalist culture. Ngai’s work is most broadly concerned with the analysis of aesthetic forms and judgments specific to capitalism. She is currently working on a book about the ways in which Marx, Hegel, and a number of writers and artists inhabit error.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Allie Gamble (algamble [at] stanford.edu)
Ido Keren (ikeren [at] stanford.edu)
Casey Patterson (caseyp [at] stanford.edu)
Alex Sherman (ajsherm [at] stanford.edu)