From the films of Larry Clark to the feminist comedy of Amy Schumer to the fall of Louis C. K., comedic, graphic, and violent moments of abjection have permeated twentieth- and twenty-first-century social and political discourse.
The contributors to Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence
(Duke University Press, 2020) move beyond simple critiques of abjection as a punitive form of social death, illustrating how it has become a contested mode of political and cultural capital—empowering for some but oppressive for others.
Escaping abjection's usual confines of psychoanalysis and aesthetic modernism, core to theories of abjection by thinkers such as Kristeva and Bataille, the contributors examine a range of media, including literature, photography, film, television, talking dolls, comics, and manga.
Whether analyzing how comedic abjection can help mobilize feminist politics or how expressions of abjection inflect class, race, and gender hierarchies, the contributors demonstrate the importance of competing uses of abjection to contemporary society and politics. They emphasize abjection's role in circumscribing the boundaries of the human and how the threats abjection poses to the self and other, far from simply negative, open up possibilities for radically new politics.
is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her Twitter handle is @magshenny.
is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto.
Joel Tscherne is an adjunct history general studies professor at Southern New Hampshire University. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne.