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Grand Rounds: Travis Alexander
April 2, 2019 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Speaker – Travis Alexander, Ph.D. candidate English and Comparative Literature
Title – “All the new information in my blood”: Immunity, Melancholy, Virality
Overview – This talk expands on the psychoanalytic work of Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok to posit that the arrival of HIV didn’t simply constitute a neutralization of the immunological fetishism of the postwar period. Rather, the loss of immunity—a trauma that could not speak its name—precipitates what we might term a biopolitical melancholia. Having lost access to its privileged topos—the immune system itself—immunological governance in turn proximately gravitates toward the object responsible for its trauma: namely, HIV. I propose thus to read Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk satire Snow Crash (1992) as staging the embrace of virality. In Stephenson’s narrative, virality emerges ironically as the most viable vehicle for conserving the fantasies of both neoliberal competency and racial containment modeled initially by immunity itself.
Place – HHIVE Lab (524 Gaskins), Greenlaw Hall
Date – April 2nd, 2:30-3:30
light refreshments provided