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U. of I. series brings authors, scholars together to talk about recent books


Sharita Forrest, News Editor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A new discussion series sponsored by the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois is bringing together authors and U. of I. scholars to discuss recent books. The Author’s Roundtable series, which began this semester, gives invited scholars opportunities to discuss their work with a panel of U. of I. faculty members and graduate students in a conversational setting.

On Nov. 3, Eva Illouz will discuss her book “Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism” (Polity Press, 2006). Illouz, a professor of sociology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, contends that “emotional capitalism is a culture in which emotional and economic discourses and practices mutually shape each other.” Illouz examines how the language of psychology and of emotionality have affected the workplace, productivity, marriage and family relations, and the definition of pathology, leading to a culture of self help.

Faculty members Manisha Basu, a professor of English, and Alejandro Lugo, a professor of anthropology and of Latina/Latino studies, and Eric Dalle, a graduate student in comparative literature, will discuss Illouz’s work with her.

On Dec. 8, Tim Dean will discuss his upcoming book “Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking“ (University of Chicago Press, May 2009). Dean is a professor of English and an associate faculty member in the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture and the department of comparative literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Barebacking, a term that originated in gay slang and now is used to describe any act of sexual penetration without condoms, is writing “a new chapter in the history of sexuality and of AIDS” through a subculture that produces an alternative approach to kinship and an alternative to normative sexuality, according to Dean.

Responding to Dean’s work will be Matti Bunzl, director of the Program in Jewish Culture and Society and a professor in the department of history, the Gender and Women Studies Program and other units; and Cris Mayo, a professor of gender and women’s studies and of educational policy studies.

The roundtable series began Sept. 15 with author Roberto M. Dainotto’s discussion of his book “Europe (in Theory)” (Duke University Press, 2007), an analysis of 18th- and 19th-century ideas about Europe’s internal divisions, which parallel the Eurocentric division between East and West. Dainotto contends that the opposition between Northern and Southern Europe continues to influence thinking about culture, politics and identity.

The Author’s Roundtables begin at 8 p.m. in the Music Room of Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana.