Thursday, February 28, 2013, 6:00 p.m.
Robbins Library, Rush Rhees Library
In her talk, “Uncanny Debts,” McClanahan explores how credit, as an economic form, has long been associated with optimism, certainty, and credibility—and with the kinds of narrative realism that produce those feelings. Understanding debt, however, might require a different aesthetic form, one capable of registering debt’s traffic in fear, anxiety, and material alienation. This talk suggests that Freud’s Unheimlich —the unhomely, the uncanny—is the representational mode most adequate to debt and to an economy of default. It reads debt’s uncanny not only through Marx and Freud but also in a series of other texts ranging from Google Earth imagery to a Hong Kong horror film, Dream Home.
Annie McClanahan is a 2012-13 Cornell University Society for the Humanities Fellow and an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). She is completing a book manuscript titled Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, 21st Century Culture. Theorizing new modes of uncertainty and belief, character and credibility, social cohesion and collective default, Dead Pledges explores how cultural texts have been compelled to account for the expansion and collapse of a financialized credit economy. She has published in Post45, symploke, South Atlantic Quarterly, and qui parle, and is currently co-editing a special issue on genre and financialization for the Journal of American Studies. In 2013-14 she will be a faculty fellow at the Center for 21st Century Studies at UWM.
Sponsored by the Humanities Project, University of Rochester School of Arts and Sciences.