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Centre for Uses of Literature

Class and Work Cluster

Fall 2023

22-23 August 2023

From class struggle to capitalist realism? Class, work and gender in literature from the 1970s and the present day

Organised by the Class and Work Cluster in collaboration with the project 'Precariat, Precarity and Precariousness in (Post-) Welfare-State Scandinavian Literatures' (funded by the Swedish Research Council), this seminar will explore current research on issues of class and insecurity and take a new look at the literature and culture associated with 1970s discourses of class, society, and social transformation. For more information, contact ejh@sdu.d. Program [pdf]. 

14 September 2023, meeting room Locke/online, 13:00-14:30

Reading group to discuss excerpts from After Work by Helen Hester and Nick Srnicek. Joint event with the Feminized group.

5 December, 14:00-15:30, online

Clara Jones, King's College London: 'Radical Politics and Readers' Competitions: Amabel Williams-Ellis and Left Review'. For more details, click here.



6 June 2023, 17:00-18:15 

Online talk: Madeline Lane-McKinley, Comedy Against Work: Utopian Longing in Dystopian Times

On 6 June, Madeline Lane-McKinley joined us online to talk about her new book Comedy Against Work: Utopian Longing in Dystopian Times (Common Notions, 2022).

From the publisher's website:

Work is a joke. Laughing at it is political.

Humor, Groucho Marx asserted, is “reason gone mad.” For Walter Benjamin, laughter was “the most revolutionary emotion.” In a moment when great numbers of people are reevaluating their commitment to the hellscape we call “work,” what does it mean to take comedy seriously—and to turn it against work?

Both philosophically brilliant and deeply personal, Comedy Against Work demonstrates how laughing about work can puncture the pretensions of tyrannical bosses while uniting us around a commitment to radically new ways of making the world together. At the same time, Lane-McKinley exposes a war at the heart of contemporary comedy between those who see comedy as a weapon for punching down and those whose laughter points to social transformation. From stand-up to sitcoms, podcasts to late night, comedy reveals our longing to subvert power, escape the prison of work, and envision the joys of a liberated world.


Madeline Lane-McKinley is a writer, professor, and Marxist-feminist with a PhD in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a founding member of Blind Field: A Journal of Cultural Inquiry. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Los Angeles Review of Books, Boston Review, The New Inquiry, Entropy, GUTS, and Cultural Politics. She is also the author of the chapbook Dear Z and a contributor to The Museum of Capitalism.


Last Updated 15.02.2024