Lauren Berlant teaches English at the University of Chicago, where her work has focused on the aesthetics of political emotion in the U.S. 19th and 20th centuries—now into the 21st. In particular, in relation to legal citizenship, she addresses informal and normative modes of social belonging, and practices of intimacy as they absorb legal, normative, and fantasmatic forces.
Her recent books include Cruel Optimism (2011), addressing precarious publics, fantasies of the good life and the aesthetics of affective adjustment in the crisis-ridden contexts of the contemporary US and Europe; Desire/Love (2012), an introduction to concepts of attachment; and, with Lee Edelman, Sex, or the Unbearable (2014), a dialogue/argument about the self-disturbance and repair projected onto sex. She has written theoretically and in more public modes on the affects associated with citizenship, gender, racism, class antagonism, sexuality, trauma and comedy, for example. Her latest work, on the generative intensities of ordinary encounter and world-making, and written with the anthropologist Kathleen Stewart, is called The Hundreds (2019).