Wearing Out Speculative Ambitions
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Wearing Out Speculative Ambitions
Robyn Wiegman, Professor

What compels me most about the last forty years of critical inquiry is less a specific idea or event than the array of practices that have emerged to keep pace with the discipline’s speculative ambitions. Postmodernism. Deconstruction. Feminism. Postcoloniality. Post Humanism. Transnationalism. Affect. Ecocriticism. Biopolitics. Afro Pessimism. The Digital Humanities. Neoliberalism. The Reparative Turn. These orientations, among numerous others, insist on countering university cultures increasingly infatuated with the government of number by valuing the lived atmospheres of interpretative worlds. While fluency in any of these critical orientations requires intimacy with their conceptual no less than political limits, it is the very process of wearing out what enlivens the discipline that helps sustain faith in the work we do. [End Page 22]

Robyn Wiegman, Professor
Literature and Women’s Studies
Duke University
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