Northwestern Events Calendar


GLOBAL LUNCHBOX | A conversation with Laura Kipnis about her book Love in the Time of Contagion: A Diagnosis

When: Friday, April 29, 2022
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: Online

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

Cost: Free

Contact: Danny Postel  


Category: Global & Civic Engagement, Academic, Lectures & Meetings


Register for the Zoom link:

Please join us for the Global Lunchbox, a weekly forum convened by the Weinberg College Center for International and Area Studies at Northwestern University featuring conversations with scholars about their current research on a range of critical issues.

This week we will talk to Laura Kipnis, Professor Emeritus of Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern, about her latest book, Love in the Time of Contagion: A Diagnosis, which asks: what does living in dystopic times do to our ability to love each other and the world?

About the book

COVID-19 has produced new taxonomies of love, intimacy, and vulnerability. Will its cultural afterlife be as lasting as that of HIV, which reshaped consciousness about sex and love even after AIDS itself had been beaten back by medical science? Will COVID end up making us more relationally conservative, as some think HIV did within gay culture? Will it send us fleeing into emotional silos or coupled cocoons, despite the fact that, pre-COVID, domestic coupledom had been steadily losing fans?

Just as COVID revealed our nation to itself, so did it hold a mirror up to our relationships. In Love in the Time of Contagion, Laura Kipnis weaves (often hilariously) her own (ambivalent) coupled lockdown experiences together with those of others and sets them against a larger backdrop: the politics of the virus, economic disparities, changing gender relations, and the ongoing institutional crack-ups prompted by #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, mapping their effects on the everyday routines and occasional solaces of love and sex.

About the author

Laura Kipnis is a cultural theorist/critic and former video artist. Her present work focuses on the intersections of American politics, psyche, and the body—with detours through love, Marx, gender distress, adultery, scandal, Freud, and the legacy of the avant-garde. Her previous books are Ecstasy Unlimited: On Sex, Capital, Gender, and Aesthetics (1993), Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America (1998), Against Love (2004), How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad Behavior (2010), Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation (2015), and Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus (2017). 

Her essays and reviews have appeared in Slate, The Nation, Critical Inquiry, Social Text, Wide Angle, the Village Voice, Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, and numerous edited collections. Her books and essays have been translated into fifteen languages. Her video-essays have been screened and broadcast in North America, (Museum of Modern Art, American Film Institute, Whitney Museum-Equitable Center, et al), Europe, Japan, and Australia. She is the writer-director-producer of Marx: The Video (1990), A Man’s Woman (1988), and Ecstasy Unlimited: The Interpenetrations of Sex and Capital (1985).

Photo: © Nina Subin

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