ReadingRoom is open to anyone interested in careful close readings. It strives to create an open and inclusive space for substantial and meaningful conversations in the humanities, the arts and beyond. We are convinced that reading can help crystallize our critical questions. What are we driven by? What are we striving for? Who are “we”? Together, in the shifting constellations of ReadingRoom, where new people join each time while also many return regularly, we can refine those questions and sharpen our understanding of this world, our practicing in this world. In that sense, reading is an active intervention into our present, a shared practice that sharpens our senses and enables new affective communities.
ReadingRoom holds one thematic series per year, with 4-6 meetings per series. Each time we base our conversations on a few key texts from a wide range of disciplines. Over the course of 2019, ReadingRoom also issued four installments of a newsletter, each collecting our thoughts and questions after a session. The newsletters are published in issue # 11 of the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest. By clicking on the following links, you can also find the individual newsletters we made: #1 April 2019, #2 June 2019, #3 October 2019 and #4 November 2019.
Our current, seventh series is called Going Viral; or what just happenend?
ReadingRoom was interrupted by Covid-19 in March 2020. We are excited to finally return with a new series now, in the fall of 2021. Given the unprecedented circumstances of the global pandemic, this series called Going Viral; or What Just Happened? wants to resist the urge to move forward and ‘past’ things all too quickly. Perhaps ReadingRoom can instead be a space to reflect together on what happened or, more precisely, on what is still happening. Can we think about who or how we are, living in times of Covid-19? Can we think-read-feel together about the experiences of loss and change during the past year-and-a half; about what to do with our diverging efforts of digesting those experiences; with the grief and mourning that might be in place, but has not found much of a place in the ‘returns to normal’ as we see them around us? Can we learn how to speak with each other again and perhaps thereby find ways of collective grieving and working through? Those are the questions on our minds for the seventh series of ReadingRoom, which started off in November 2021.
Tuesday, 23 November 2021, 17.00-19.00
Our first session was based on Laurent Berlant’s work. We read the “Introduction. Affect in the Present” from Berlant’s Cruel Optimism (2011). Berlant’s text helped us think about affect, public space, optimism and situations of crisis. By engaging with Berlant’s work, we also commemorate the loss of this wonderful thinker.
Wednesday, 9 March 2022, 17.00-19.00
Our second session will engage with Douglas Crimp’s piece “Mourning and Militancy” (October, vol 51, 1989). If you are interested in joining, please register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 18.