Abjection Incorporated

Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence

Book Pages: 344 Illustrations: 50 illustrations Published: January 2020

Cultural Studies > Affect Theory, Media Studies, Theory and Philosophy > Affect Theory

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 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.

Contributors. Meredith Bak, Eugenie Brinkema, James Leo Cahill, Michelle Cho, Maggie Hennefeld, Rob King, Thomas Lamarre, Sylvère Lotringer, Rijuta Mehta, Mark Mulroney, Nicholas Sammond, Yiman Wang, Rebecca Wanzo


“Passionate, eye-opening, exciting! From Lena Dunham to Amy Schumer to Larry Clark and Louis C. K. (not to mention Mad Magazine), who would have thought that forty years after Kristeva's Powers of Horror so much insight for our times could be discovered through the lens of abjection! Editors Maggie Hennefeld and Nicholas Sammond have contributed to and guided the production of a timely and unusually cohesive anthology.” — Linda Williams, Professor Emerita, University of California, Berkeley

Abjection Incorporated makes a strong case for the abject as an important political space for confrontations between identities assigned and performed. Even as many seek to displace the subject as a meaningful category of analysis and action, these essays demonstrate that the fundamental tension between the fragility of self and the abjection of otherness remains a viable and quite possibly unavoidable foundation for cultural theory and criticism.” — Jeffrey Sconce, author of The Technical Delusion: Electronics, Power, Insanity


Availability: In stock
Price: $28.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Maggie Hennefeld is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and author of Specters of Slapstick and Silent Film Comediennes.

Nicholas Sammond is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto and author of Birth of an Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction. Not It, or, The Abject Objection / Maggie Hennefeld and Nicholas Sammond  1
1. The Politics of Abjection / Sylvère Lotringer  33
Part I. Abject Performances: Subjectivity, Identity, Individuality
2. Popular Abjection and Gendered Embodiment in South Korean Film Comedy / Michelle Cho  43
3. Precarious-Girl Comedy: Issa Rae, Lena Dunham, and Abjection Aesthetics / Rebecca Wanzo  64
4. Abject Feminism, Grotesque Comedy, and Apocalyptic Laughter on Inside Amy Schumer / Maggie Hennefeld  86
Part II. Abject Bodies: Humans, Animals, Objects
5. The Animal and the Animalistic: China's Late 1950s Socialist Satirical Comedy / Yiman Wang  115
6. Anticolonial Folly and the Reversals of Repatriation / Rijuta Mehta  140
7. Between Technology and Toy: The Talking Doll as Abject Artifact / Meredith A. Bak  164
8. Absolute Dismemberment: The Burlesque Natural History of Georges Bataille / James Leo Cahill  185
9. Why, an Abject Art / Mark Mulroney  208
Part III. Abject Aesthetics: Structure, Form, System
10. A Matter of Fluids: EC Comics and the Vernacular Abject / Nicholas Sammond  217
11. Spit * Light * Spunk: Larry Clark, an Aesthetic of Frankness / Eugenie Brinkema  243
12. A Series of Ugly Feelings: Fabulation and Abjection in Shojo Manga / Thomas Lamarre  268
13. Powers of Comedy, or, The Abject Dialectics of Louie / Rob King  291
Contributors  321
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0302-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0189-8