Pursuit of Happiness

23 10 2007

There are all sorts of benefits to living in Lawrence and one of my favorites is the Humanities Lecture Series at KU. Tonight’s speaker was Sara Ahmed, a professor in Race & Cultural Studies at the University of London. Ahmed studies the ways in which “difference, otherness and strangeness become ‘properties’ of bodies through actions, words, perceptions, feelings and judgements”. It sounds perplexingly academic and it was. However, she spent some time talking about the human pursuit of happiness and the frustration inherent therein. Think about spending your days studying our Sisyphean efforts to find happiness, with it’s inevitable disappointment and failure. On a livelier note, she managed to illustrate her themes with clips from the movie “Bend It Like Beckham”, which saved the lecture from utter melancholy. 

Actually, like so many of the speakers in this series, she was remarkably animated and interesting, despite the complexity of the topic. If you’d like to know more and want to appear as if you’re working intently, you can learn a little Greek mythology at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus or ponder Sara Ahmed’s studies at: http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/press-releases/pressrelease.php?releaseID=549 or maybe buy one of her books: http://www.amazon.com/Cultural-Politics-Emotion-Sara-Ahmed/dp/0415972558

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