On fatigue and recovery – CUHK Public Lecture

Arts & Humanities in the Face of Global Challenges
Public Lecture Series
Chinese University of Hong Kong

16 May 2020

CUHK Faculty of Arts hosted a series of public online lectures in April and May, under the theme “Arts and Humanities in the Face of Global Challenges”, to encourage home learning during the coronavirus pandemic. This series of webinars presented research by a diverse group of scholars from the Faculty. Each speaker brought refreshing and historical perspectives on our contemporary moment, either directly or through reflection. Together, these public events spoke for the value and relevance of humanities scholarship at a time when we face profound global challenges.

On Fatigue and Recovery
Speaker: Prof. Ian Alden Russell, Dept. of Cultural and Religious Studies
Moderator: Prof. Frank Vigneron, Dept. of Fine Arts

‘You must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.’ These are the final lines of Samuel Beckett’s novel The Unnamable (1954) in which an unnamed protagonist recurringly asks how, amidst overwhelming and exhausting struggles in life, one can continue. This lecture explores the politics of fatigue that have emerged through recent periods of social change and upheaval. It will address challenges stemming from postindustrial labour practices and the rise of performance and productivity culture, especially in relation to social media. It concludes with a hopeful call for how we may be able to better care for and sustain ourselves and one another. This paper was originally commissioned by Ormston House in Limerick, Ireland as part of The Sustainability Plan.

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