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After Men: Modernist Adventure and the Regendering of Work

Tuesday, October 24 | 11:45am – 1:25pm | 472 Holmes Hall

Sam Waterman is Assistant Professor in English at Northeastern University London. His research focuses on late 19th to 21stcentury literature, histories and theories of work, gender and sexuality studies and affect theory. He has work published or forthcoming in Textual PracticeModernism/Modernity and Contemporary Literature. Sam is currently working on a monograph entitled After Men: Modernist Adventure and the Regendering of Work. He completed his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania and before that studied for a BA in English and an MA in Critical Theory at the University of Sussex.

In this talk Dr Waterman will give an overview of his monograph project on modernist adventure. Rather than reading the modernist period as one in which adventure romance reaches its terminal phase, this talk will argue that several authors of the period – amongst them E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and Elizabeth Bowen – appropriated the language of masculine adventure to give form to the workplace aspirations of women and queer subjects during a phase of workplace modernization. Sam will unpack how these writers, whose aesthetic projects (and politics) were in many ways anathema to adventure writing, nonetheless recognised in its tropes of risk, contingency, and action, narrative resources for enchanting emerging forms of professional and creative work. Reading these forms of “aesthetic romance” in counterpoint with recent literary and sociological accounts of the “creative economy” and feminist critiques of work, reveals some surprising parallels between the language used to enchant and critique professional forms of labour then and now. 

Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to sa.green@northeastern.edu.

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