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OnderzoekOnderzoek Faculteit der LetterenOnderzoeksinstitutenThe Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG)News

prof. Laura Bieger - "Native Son and the Public: Literature, Media, and the Politics of Reading"

When:We 13-12-2017 15:00 - 17:00
Where:OBS 23.001

In her talk, Prof. Bieger will present the research design for her current project "Native Son and the Public." Few books have summoned a reading public on the scale of Native Son (1940), the first novel by African-American author Richard Wright. Prof. Bieger's project explores—in the jolt created by a single novel in the readership of its time—the power of literature involved in generating that institutional space of the public sphere on which democratic societies crucially depend. Moreover, in extending on Jürgen Habermas’s notion of readership as a key constituent of the public sphere, it uses the case of Richard Wright’s Native Son to propose that media, like readers, are shaping agents in this process in ways that merit renewed exploration.

Laura Bieger is Professor of American Studies, Political Theory and Culture at Groningen University. She is the author ofÄsthetik der Immersion (transcript 2007), which examines public spaces from Washington’s government district to the Las Vegas Strip that assert their function aesthetically—by turning world-image-relations into immersive spectacles. In another book, Belonging and Narrative (forthcoming), she considers the need to belong as a driving force of literary production and the novel as a primary place and home-making agent. Her essays and reviews have appeared in New Literary History,Amerikastudien/ American Studies, Studies in American Naturalism, and ZAA. She has held teaching and research positions at Freie Universität Berlin, Universität Wien, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, the University of California at Berkeley, and IFK Wien.