Neoliberalism, the Family, and Bourgeois Domesticity II

Neoliberalism, the Family, and Bourgeois Domesticity II
21 January 2022, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Precarious Homes – Narratives and Practices of Home-Making in Turbulent Times

This event series takes its cue from the CCWW Conference "'Where are you from?' to 'Where shall we go together?' Re-imagining Home and Belonging in 21st-Century Women's Writing", hosted at the IMLR in September 2020. Dedicated to further exploration of literary and theoretical conceptualisations of home-making, the series considers women’s writing in context, using various formats -  reading groups, a symposium, and an author/translator conversation.

Programme of events (pdf)

Neoliberalism, the Family, and Bourgeois Domesticity II

Seminar/Reading Group 

Friday 21 January 2022, 15:00-16:00 GMT (Online) 

Organiser: Stephanie Ng (Cambridge)

Building on a theoretical understanding of the family as a site of respite and illusion in the neoliberal present, this seminar reads Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy to explore the difficulties that women encounter in searching for belonging and self-definition. Focusing on the autofictional protagonist Faye, a newly divorced writer who is constantly on the move, having profound conversations with strangers in liminal places, this seminar seeks to discuss the possibility of reconceptualizing intimacy and relationality. How might “life” be lived differently, outside the conveniences and reassuring cadences of private, bourgeois domesticity? In what ways does the makeshift quality of Faye’s acquaintanceship and her wariness for chromonormativity manifest on a formal level? Somewhat unexpectedly, Faye reverts to traditional notions of home and belonging halfway through the series. In Transit, the second novel of three, she renovates a newly mortgaged house and we learn that she will remarry. What might her ambivalent retreat to conventional modes of home-making reveal about the literal and emotional cost of freedom? How does homesickness take on new valences as we meet more and more characters – predominantly female ones – who are both sick for and sick of home? With regards to format, this seminar will begin with a brief introduction of the texts and a few opening observations. The majority of the one-hour period will be dedicated to discussion in the style of a reading group.

Participants are kindly requested to read the following:

Cusk, Rachel. Outline. Faber & Faber, 2014. – in particular, Chapters II and III, pp. 32-57.
Cusk, Rachel.
Transit. Faber & Faber, 2016. – in particular, pp. 1-9.
Cusk, Rachel.
Kudos. Faber & Faber, 2018. – in particular, pp. 33-60.

The first seminar in this series took place on 10 December 2021

All are welcome to attend this free online event, starting at 15:00 GMT. You will need to register in advance to receive the online joining link. Please click on the Book Now button below to register


Jenny Stubbs
020 7862 8832