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“Anxious Mastery and the Forms It Takes” a talk by Mara De Gennaro
September 23, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
“Anxious Mastery and the Forms It Takes”
A discussion of Modernism after Postcolonialism: Toward a Nonterritorial Comparative Literature (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020) with author Mara de Gennaro (New York University, Gallatin School of Individualized Study).
Response by Bruce Robbins (Columbia University) and moderated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Columbia University).
In an era of increasingly overt polarization and territorialism, it becomes all the more pressing to consider how literary forms of comparison can alert us to unspoken and misrecognized relations while also confronting us with the difficulty of representing the other. Mara de Gennaro argues that 20th-century transnational and diasporic poetics marked by irresolution and a wavering sense of authority model ways to contest the ostensibly self-assured comparative practices of colonialist, racist, and ethno-nationalist discourses. Inspired by innovations in Francophone and Anglophone literature and critical theory, the creolist critical method of reading advanced in Modernism after Postcolonialism demonstrates that tentative, inconclusive comparisons can call us to imagine new solidarities across bounded territories.
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