Northwestern Events Calendar


"Vexed: On Resistant Attachment" - Professor Sarah Tindal Kareem (UCLA) | Comp Lit Speaker Series

When: Friday, November 22, 2019
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM CT

Where: Kresge Hall, 2351, Kaplan Seminar Room, 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Sarah Peters   (847) 491-3864

Group: Comparative Literary Studies

Co-Sponsor: English Department
Critical Theory

Category: Academic


"Vexed: On Resistant Attachment" | Sarah Tindal Kareem, Associate Professor, English, UCLA

Friday, November 22, 2019

12pm – Graduate Workshop | Comp Lit Seminar Room, Kresge 5-531 *please see note below about participating in the graduate workshop

4pm – Lecture | Kaplan Seminar Room, Kresge 2-351

At a moment when literary critics wonder whether the reflexive urge to “stand back” from an aesthetic object impoverishes critical encounters with works of art, this talk will ask: why suppose that distance, obstacles, and constraints impede aesthetic pleasure? On the contrary, might not critical guardedness intensify rather than weaken aesthetic sensation? “Vexed,” in this talk, names both an affective state and a critical disposition. Drawing upon attachment theory, I characterize this state as one of resistant attachment: a state in which contradictory impulses vie for expression—for example, the desire to draw closer but also to flee. The talk will consider literary incarnations of resistant attachment that both model and solicit this critical disposition. 

Sarah Tindal Kareem is Associate Professor in the Department of English at UCLA. Her research and teaching focus on eighteenth-century literature with particular attention to the history and theory of the novel and fiction’s representation and solicitation of affective attachments. Her first book, Eighteenth-Century Fiction and the Reinvention of Wonder (Oxford 2014), argued that wonder and the marvelous were integral to eighteenth-century literary realism. Her current book project focuses on the ways in which distance, obstacles, and negative feelings facilitate attachments within—and with—literary works.

*Graduate Workshop Participation: if you are interested in participating in the graduate workshop, please e-mail Carly Bortman ( to RSVP and receive the readings. There will be a prior reading group on November 14th at 6:30pm. More information will be provided if you are interested in attending.

This event is sponsored by the Comparative Literary Studies Program // co-sponsored by Critical Theory Cluster and Department of English

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