CCA Pragmatism - Jen Fleissner and Martin Savransky

When:  Monday, February 27, 2023, 03:30pm

Where:  Online

Category:  Center for Cultural Analysis

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A conversation with Jen Fleissner and Martin Savransky (facilitated by Jane Thrailkill) 


In Spring 2023, the Pragmatism Working Group will be hosting series of conversations with old friends of the group to talk about new work in the field from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. As one might expect given shared interests, there is remarkable overlap in topics covered by our guests, and yet there is also something of a structural hole between disciplines. The idea behind the conversation series is to try to creatively bridge that gap. How do these new studies register across fields? What are the common threads of interest? What lines of resistance or continuity develop when cutting between them? Where might interesting new strands of conversation lead?

Jen Fleissner, Indiana University, English, wrote a book that came out just this December, Maladies of the Will: The American Novel and the Modernity Problem (Chicago). While ostensibly about the place of the American novel in novel studies, the book is largely interested in the philosophical encounter of American novelists with the problems of modernity.  

Martin Savransky, Goldsmiths College, University of London, Sociology, published a book Around the Day in Eighty Worlds: Politics of the Pluriverse (Duke) in 2021, that situates the pluralism of William James in the context of the ontological turn in anthropology and ethical considerations about the future of the planet. His research interests include political ecology, political ontology, pragmatism, radical pluralism, postcolonial thought, speculative practices, and methodologies of living and dying on unstable ecological terrain.

Jane Thrailkill, UNC Chapel Hill, English,is a specialist in nineteenth-century America. Her most recent book is Philosophical Siblings: Varieties of Playful Experience in Alice, Henry, and William James (U Penn, 2021), in which she points us from the siblings’ shared sense of wonder at toys and mutual teasing to a humanistic ethics of care. She is a leading figure in the interdisciplinary work of the "medical humanities."


Brad Evans, a co-founder of the CCA Pragmatism Working Group in 2016, is a specialist in 19th and 20th century American literature with a background in the history of anthropology. In his recent book, Ephemeral Bibelots: How an International Fad Buried American Modernism, he uncovered the relational predilections of a diverse cadre of writers and artists who played a role in a largely forgotten and strangely unpredictable craze for proto-modernist little magazines in the U.S. at the end of 1800s.

Elisa Tamarkin, Berkeley, English, has agreed to co-conduct the year’s activities. We will be discussing her second book, Apropos of Something: A History of Irrelevance and Relevance, out last July with the University of Chicago Press. She is now turning to Melville and questions of "questions of visibility and consciousness in literature, art, and life."