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Of Fleas, Pests, and Termites: Cultural Criticism and its Metaphors of Smallness at Pomona College Humanities Studio

The penultimate lecture in the Pomona College Humanities Studio’s 2018-19 “Fail Better” Speakers Series.

Pomona College - Hahn Hall - Room: 101
420 N. Harvard Avenue

To the cultural critic, failure has always seemed inevitable. There’s a romance to lost causes, to championing the obscure artist or the overshadowed author. But what happens when popular culture no longer orbits a stable center — when there’s no longer a boring monoculture to build your identity against, and our tastes and desires grow fragmented beyond imagination? What does it mean to seek out the lost and forgotten in this moment of historical amnesia? Hua Hsu, a critic at the New Yorker, will sketch out an alternative lineage of culture and criticism that has prized the minuscule, the underground, and the stubborn — as well as his own obsession with a “pest” he found in the archives.