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Encountering Berlant part 1: Concepts otherwise

Anderson, Ben and Aitken, Stuart and Bacevic, Jana and Callard, Felicity and Chung, Kwang Dae (Mitsy) and Coleman, Kathryn S. and Hayden, Robert F. and Healy, Sarah and Irwin, Rita L. and Jellis, Thomas and Jukes, Joe and Khan, Salman and Marotta, Steve and Seitz, David K. and Snepvangers, Kim and Staples, Adam and Turner, Chloe and Tse, Justin and Watson, Marthy and Wilkinson, Eleanor (2023) 'Encountering Berlant part 1: Concepts otherwise.', The Geographical Journal, 189 (1). pp. 117-142.


In Part 1 of ‘Encountering Berlant’, we encounter the promise and provocation of Lauren Berlant's work. In 1000-word contributions, geographers and others stay with what Berlant's thought offers contemporary human geography. They amplify an encounter with their work, demonstrating how a concept, idea, or style disrupts something, opens up a new possibility, or simply invites thinking otherwise. The encounters range across the incredible body of work Berlant left us with, from the ‘national sentimentality’ trilogy through to recent work on negativity. Varying in form and tone, the encounters exemplify and enact the inexhaustible plenitude of Berlant's thought: fantasy, the case, love, impasse, feel tanks, slow death, ellipses, gesture, attrition, intimate public, ambivalence, style. Part 2 of ‘Encountering Berlant’ focuses on Berlant's most influential concept: ‘cruel optimism’. Across these heterogeneous encounters, Berlant's enduring concern with the tensions and possibilities of relationality and how to enact better forms of common life shine through. These enduring concerns and Berlant's commitment to the incoherence and overdetermination of phenomena are summarised in the Introduction, which also explores how Berlant's work has been engaged with in geography. The result is a repository of what an encounter with Berlant's thought makes possible.

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Publisher statement:This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Date accepted:02 November 2022
Date deposited:04 January 2023
Date of first online publication:25 December 2022
Date first made open access:04 January 2023

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