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Encountering Berlant part 1: Concepts otherwise

Anderson, Ben; Aitken, Stuart; Bacevic, Jana; Callard, Felicity; Chung, Kwang Dae (Mitsy); Coleman, Kathryn S.; Hayden, Robert F.; Healy, Sarah; Irwin, Rita L.; Jellis, Thomas; Jukes, Joe; Khan, Salman; Marotta, Steve; Seitz, David K.; Snepvangers, Kim; Staples, Adam; Turner, Chloe; Tse, Justin; Watson, Marthy; Wilkinson, Eleanor

Encountering Berlant part 1: Concepts otherwise Thumbnail


Stuart Aitken

Felicity Callard

Kwang Dae (Mitsy) Chung

Kathryn S. Coleman

Robert F. Hayden

Sarah Healy

Rita L. Irwin

Thomas Jellis

Joe Jukes

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Salman Khan
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

Steve Marotta

David K. Seitz

Kim Snepvangers

Adam Staples

Chloe Turner

Justin Tse

Marthy Watson

Eleanor Wilkinson


In Part 1 of ‘Encountering Berlant’, we encounter the promise and provocation of Lauren Berlant's work. In 1000-word contributions, geographers and others stay with what Berlant's thought offers contemporary human geography. They amplify an encounter with their work, demonstrating how a concept, idea, or style disrupts something, opens up a new possibility, or simply invites thinking otherwise. The encounters range across the incredible body of work Berlant left us with, from the ‘national sentimentality’ trilogy through to recent work on negativity. Varying in form and tone, the encounters exemplify and enact the inexhaustible plenitude of Berlant's thought: fantasy, the case, love, impasse, feel tanks, slow death, ellipses, gesture, attrition, intimate public, ambivalence, style. Part 2 of ‘Encountering Berlant’ focuses on Berlant's most influential concept: ‘cruel optimism’. Across these heterogeneous encounters, Berlant's enduring concern with the tensions and possibilities of relationality and how to enact better forms of common life shine through. These enduring concerns and Berlant's commitment to the incoherence and overdetermination of phenomena are summarised in the Introduction, which also explores how Berlant's work has been engaged with in geography. The result is a repository of what an encounter with Berlant's thought makes possible.


Anderson, B., Aitken, S., Bacevic, J., Callard, F., Chung, K. D. (., Coleman, K. S., …Wilkinson, E. (2023). Encountering Berlant part 1: Concepts otherwise. The Geographical Journal, 189(1), 117-142.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 2, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 25, 2022
Publication Date 2023-03
Deposit Date Jan 4, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 28, 2023
Journal The Geographical Journal
Print ISSN 0016-7398
Electronic ISSN 1475-4959
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 189
Issue 1
Pages 117-142


Published Journal Article (689 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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