"Networked Solitude," Amy Hungerford (Yale)
Feb 22 - Laying out large-scale framing questions for a new project, “Networked Solitude” asks what relevance acts of solitude in American literature and culture from the 19th century to the present—with their ancient and modern tributaries, from Buddhist, Christian, psychological, poetic, disciplinary, and social-theoretical sources—have for our conception of social life. The talk proposes that in transforming our understanding of what it at stake in the archives of solitude that we may reopen older questions about exactly how and to what end human acts of imagination have their effects. Points of reference in the talk include Viet Nguyen, Harriet Jacobs, Sojourner Truth, Henry Thoreau, Milarepa, Benedict Anderson, Michel Foucault, and contemporary network science.
Amy Hungerford is Professor of English and Dean of the Humanities Division at Yale University. She is author of The Holocaust of Texts: Genocide, Literature, and Personification (Chicago, 2003) and Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion Since 1960 (Princeton, 2010). Her new monograph, Making Literature Now (Stanford University Press, 2016) is about the social networks within which contemporary literature—in both digital and traditional media—comes to be written and read. She is the editor of the Norton Anthology of American Literature, 9th ed., Volume E, “Literature Since 1945.”