The Future is Barren: The Sterility of Late Capitalism, Research Lounge Arts West, Thursday, 21. November 2019

The Future is Barren: The Sterility of Late Capitalism
Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens (UQ) offers a dynamic peer review of Dr Hannah McCann’s (UoM) work in progress on conceptualising “sterility” as a central locus for thinking through debates in ***** theory around futurity, utopia, and reproduction. Taking Lee Edelman’s anti-social thesis as a starting point, and drawing on work from José Esteban Muñoz, Jack Halberstam, James Bliss, among others, this article considers the underlying gendered and racialised logics of sterility central to the politics of reproduction under capitalism. This article proposes that thinking with the concept of “sterility” rather than just “reproduction” might open up an understanding of how capitalism itself is ultimately anti-reproductive: even as it relies on reproduction, it seeks to control who and what is sterile, and most importantly makes barren what was once fecund. Such a starting point allows for engagement with sterility as a discursive tool and biopolitical technology that helps to make sense of the long history of surveillance capitalism.
Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Associate Professor of Cultural Studies in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland. She is the author of three monographs: Normality: A Critical Genealogy (University of Chicago Press 2017), co-authored with Peter Cryle; Anatomy as Spectacle: Public Exhibitions of the Body from 1700 to the Present (Liverpool University Press 2011); and ***** Writing: Homoeroticism in Jean Genet's Fiction (Palgrave 2009). Her Future Fellowship examines practices of experimentation as a nodal point between the arts and sciences, from the nineteenth-century scientific laboratory to contemporary experimental art.
Dr Hannah McCann is a lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. Her research is located within critical femininity studies, with various projects on beauty culture, ***** fangirls, and ***** femme identity. She has published in various journals including European Journal of Women’s Studies, Sexualities, and Australian Feminist Studies. Her monograph Queering Femininity: Sexuality, Feminism and the Politics of Presentation was published with Routledge in 2018.

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Thursday, 21. November 2019, Research Lounge Arts West, The Future is Barren: The Sterility of Late Capitalism

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