Faculty Video: The Life of the Mind

Marking the publication of her acclaimed debut novel The Life of the Mind, BISR faculty (and co-founder) Christine Smallwood joined Abby Kluchin, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Michael Stevenson, and Suzanne Schneider for a wide-ranging discussion of the novel’s characters, themes, and theoretical influences (Thomas Mann, Melanie Klein, and, perhaps unconsciously, Gramsci and Walter Benjamin); writing about pregnancy, miscarriage, and the body; and what it means, with the academy in crisis, to live a “life of the mind.” What is depressive realism? How does the central character Dorothy relate to both professional and bodily failure? What distinguishes “overthinking” from critique? Can reading and thinking make us better people? And if not, how can we understand the “necessary luxury” of living, at least partly, a life of the mind? The event gets underway at 10:50.


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