Announcement: Dr. Lisa Duggan, “Normativity and Its Discontents”


We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Lisa Duggan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, is giving a talk on Feburary 25th at 6:00 PM in CLA 0.128 called “Normativity and Its Discontents.” The description of Dr. Duggan’s talk is below; we hope to see you there.

What or who is normal? Norm, normal and normative are terms of both social aspiration and political revulsion, referring alternatively to laws or rules, averages or means, ideals or ethical judgements. They are deeply embedded in the histories and cultures of capitalism and empire, race, gender and sexuality. They are central terms in psychoanalysis, psychiatry and psychology, and well as in biomedicine, the philosophy of ethics, sociology and economics. They are also vernacular terms of popular approval and rejection. In this talk, we will consider the history and politics of normativity in two contexts: (1) The geopolitics of mental diagnosis deployed during the “war on terror,” as represented in the Showtime television series Homeland, and (2) The widely popular fiction of libertarian capitalist hack Ayn Rand. These can show us how American Studies, disability studies and gender/sexuality studies, in particular, put these binaries to work in a global context. The goal is to understand the role of “normal” life in the contradictory moral discourse of neoliberal imperialism.


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