116th Annual Conference - Bellingham, Washington
Friday, November 9 - Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Agency of Objects: Expressions of Materiality Theory in Literature and Culture

Session Chair: 
William Christopher Burwick, Hamilton College
Session 8: Sunday 10 am – 11:30 am
Miller Hall 114


  1. Alex Miller, University of Washington Tacoma
    My presentation will address how George Saunders interrogates the consequences of our posthuman moment through an aesthetic that seeks to peer behind the prosthetics of neoliberalism and toward the affective connections that unite individuals.    
  2. Rose DuCharme, University of California at Irvine
    Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons goes beyond personification to convey a world focused on the material status of the object, and yet these objects become inflected with the category of the person through a set of affective associations, which results in the loss of material structural integrity. This de-formation of objects requires the absenting of persons.
  3. Lori Newcomb, Wayne State College
    In The Country of Last Things, set in a place of ceased material production, poses the question of what is left when objects vanish. The "last things" are salvaged, repurposed objects that have control over humans, who struggle amid material decline. However, humanity also reaches new levels of innovation as a means of coping. Ultimately, the “last thing” is the lasting thing: the desire for human connection and creation persists, despite the loss of objects and even of the language needed to express that loss.
Session Cancelled: