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Lauren Berlant Death – Professor Lauren Berlant is Dead, Cause of Death

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Lauren Berlant Death – Obituary: Lauren Berlant, Former George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor of English at the University of Chicago has passed away. Her death was announced on June 28, 2021. However, details surrounding her cause of death has not been revealed yet.

Lauren Berlant received her Phd from Cornell University. A private, statutory, Ivy League and land-grant research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell’s founding principle, a popular 1868 quotation from founder Ezra Cornell: “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”

Lauren Berlant first three books are The Anatomy of National Fantasy, The Female Complaint and The Queen of America Goes to Washington City.

Berlant was a member of Feel Tank Chicago and has edited books on Compassion (2004) and Intimacy (2001), which won an award for the best special issue among all journals in the same year from the Academy of American Publishers, and which are interlinked with their work in feminist and queer theory in essays like “Sex in Public” (Critical Inquiry (1999)), Our Monica, Ourselves: Clinton and the Affairs of State (with Lisa Duggan, 2001) and Venus Inferred (with photographer Laura Letinsky, 2001). Berlant worked with many journals, including as editor of Critical Inquiry and Public Culture, and helped to has chaired the Center for Gender Studies at the University of Chicago.

Berlant death was made known to us through various tributes posted across social media today. A twitter user wrote; “So deeply sad to hear of Lauren Berlant’s death. Her work on affect, laughter, humorlessness, comedy, feminist theory, slapstick of survival, cruel optimism, & the aesthetic/collective politics of fantasy have been such touchstones for me. RIP to a brilliant feminist scholar”

Lauren Berlant has published a lot of books, few of her publications are;

  • Reading Sedgwick, ed. (Duke UP, 2019)
  • The Hundreds (Duke UP, 2019), written with Kathleen Stewart
  • “Comedy Has Issues,” with Sianne Ngai Critical Inquiry 43 (Winter 2017): 233-249
  • “Humorlessness (Three Monologues and a Hairpiece),” Critical Inquiry 43, 2 (Winter 2017): 305-340
  • “The Commons: An Infrastructure for Troubling Times,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (2016), Vol. 34(3): 393–419
  • “Structures of Unfeeling: Mysterious Skin,” The International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society (2015): 1-23
  • Sex, or the Unbearable, with Lee Edelman (Duke UP, 2014)
  • Desire/Love (Punctum, 2012)
  • Cruel Optimism (Duke UP, 2011), 2011 René Wellek Prize, American Comparative Literature Association
  • Heather Davis and Paige Sarlin, Interview with Lauren Berlant and Michael Hardt: “The Risk of a New Relationality” in Reviews in Cultural Theory, 2012. http://reviewsinculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RCT-SP-On-the-Commons.pdf
  • “Thinking about Feeling Historical,” Emotion, Space, and Society 1, 1 (2008):
  • The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture (Duke 2008)
  • Compassion, ed. (Routledge, 2004)
  • Intimacy, ed. (University of Chicago Press, 2001).
  • The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship. (Duke 1997).
  • The Black Public Sphere (as editorial member of the Black Public Sphere Collective), UChicago 1997.
  • The Anatomy of National Fantasy: Hawthorne, Utopia, and Everyday Life (UChicago 1991).

Berlant’s most recent monograph, Cruel Optimism, was published in 2011 by Duke University Press. The book works across the U.S. and Europe to assess the level of contemporary crisis as neoliberalism wears away the fantasies of upward mobility associated with the liberal state.

Cruel optimism manifests as a relational dynamic in which individuals create attachment as “clusters of promises” toward desired object-ideas even when they inhibit the conditions for flourishing and fulfilling such promises. Maintaining attachments that sustain the good life fantasy, no matter how injurious or cruel these attachments may be, allows people to make it through day-to-day life when the day-to-day has become unlivable.

Elaborating on the specific dynamics of cruel optimism, Berlant emphasizes and maintains that it is not the object itself, but rather the relationship: “A relation of cruel optimism is a double-bind in which your attachment to an object sustains you in life at the same time as that object is actually a threat to your flourishing.

So you can’t say that there are objects that have the quality of cruelty or not cruelty, it’s how you have the relationship to them. Like it might be that being in a couple is not a relation of cruel optimism for you, because being in a couple actually makes you feel like you have a grounding in the world, whereas for other people, being in a couple might be, on the one hand, a relief from loneliness, and on the other hand, the overpresence of one person who has to bear the burden of satisfying all your needs. So it’s not the object that’s the problem, but how we learn to be in relation.”

Tributes to Lauren Berlant

To the family, kindly receive our heartfelt condolences. Do you have anything to say or condolence messages to share. Feel free to use the comment section below, Friends and Family has shown their sympathy by sharing their grieving message across social media.

When someone you care about has lost a loved one, it can be hard to know what to say when sending condolences. But it’s important to say something. Sharing your condolences lets them know you care and offers comfort in one of the hardest times they’ll ever experience. It’s a loving gesture that means a lot.

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