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Everyday Lives

Tuesday 1 March 2016, 6.00PM

Centre for Modern Studies Postgraduate Forum 

Chair: Stephanie Lambert

'There is a certain obscurity in the very concept of everyday life. Where is it to be found? In work or in leisure? In family life and in moments 'lived' outside of culture?' -Henri Lefebvre

To answer Lefebvre's question - or to investigate the underlying assumptions of its terms - the Centre for Modern Studies postgraduate forum has invited three research students to examine everyday lives and what counts as ordinary in the modern period, in papers ranging from the late-Vitorian Jewish and homosexual artist Simeon Solomon to the 'slacker' figure in 1990s American fiction. So, to take a break from your quotidian routines, come to debate three fascinating papers you won't hear every day:

Joseph Rollins: 'Withdrawing in Disgust: Neoliberalism and the Slacker Narrative'

Joe’s paper contends that the slacker, a key figure in the landscape of 1990s American fiction, represents an important but largely unrecognised opposition to the ideology of neoliberalism. Drawing on Henri Lefebvre’s theories of everyday life, he reads the figure of the slacker as portrayed in Richard Linklater’s 1991 film Slacker as an important and radical figure in the dialectic of work and leisure. By refusing to engage in market-oriented activities in favour of alternative, creative pursuits, the slacker redefines the boundaries of work and re-energises the pursuits of leisure, thus challenging the neoliberal ‘always on’ imperative.

Joe is a PhD student in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York. His research focuses on American fiction in the 1990s, specifically on the interaction between the individual and neoliberal ideology in texts from and about the decade.

Daniel South: '“A rule of image”: David Foster Wallace and the Situationist International'

Dan’s paper will explore representations and ideas of ‘the everyday’ in the novels of David Foster Wallace, suggesting that Wallace characterises everyday life as a site of performance and uncertainty. He will compare this view with that of two prominent figures from the Situationist International, a radical collective of avant-garde artists and intellectuals set up in France in 1957, examining in particular the overlap between Wallace’s “rule of image” and Guy Debord’s “society of the spectacle”.

Dan’S PhD research focuses on authorship and the Internet in contemporary Anglo-American fiction. Before coming to York he completed a Masters by Research in Drama and Theatre Studies at the University of Kent, examining representations of performance in the novels of David Foster Wallace.

Madeline Boden: 'Simeon Solomon: Man of Faith, Man of Paint'

In the context of Pre-Raphaelite scholarship, Simeon Solomon (1840-1905) is an artist often considered solely in relation to his marginalised identities; firstly that of a Jew and secondly as an open homosexual in Victorian Britain. While it is understandable that these two aspects of Solomon's character, unusual for the time and the place, have come to influence our way of reading Solomon's work, this paper seeks to push back at these signifiers of difference, and particularly his Judaism, as the only way to interpret the artist's work. By examining Jewish Customs, a set of engravings Solomon made for the popular periodical 'Household Leisure' in 1862, I will explore the visible and influential presence of Anglo Jewry in Victorian London and the ways in which these engravings depict commonality instead of disparity, nuancing our understanding of the way in which Solomon viewed Jewish identity. 

Maddie is a first-year PhD student in the History of Art department and completed her undergraduate and Master's degrees at York. Her work primarily focuses on British artists working in the Middle East with a particular interest in artists' journeys to Egypt during the late nineteenth-century. Maddie is a member of the CMods committee and also runs a reading group on Queer Theory.

Location: BS/008, Berrick Saul Building

Admission: All welcome