Universiteit Leiden

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Solar Onus: Notes Toward a Theory of the Discourse of Sports

  • Herschel Farbman (UC Irvine)
Wednesday 22 February 2017
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Talk about professional sports is essential to them. Chatter about the game, carried out across every medium of communication, wraps it in the form of a “product,” itself a key term of sportstalk (fans will often bemoan the low quality of “the product on the field”). Take away the wrapping, and there is no pro game. In this non-athletic but essential part of the action, the fan has his or her accursed share—“accursed” because the fan as such is eternally banned from the very field that his or her talk stakes out and glorifies. Following closely the deployment in the discourse of some key terms, metaphors, and turns of phrase — e.g., a peculiar and peculiarly frequent use of the word “onus”— critical theorist Herschel Farbman (UC Irvine) elaborates a critical commentary on the process by which the sportstalking fan, often troped ironically as player, figuratively extends the physical game far beyond the highly restricted limits of the field of play proper, forging, in the process, the lingua franca of advanced corporate capitalism.

Herschel Farbman is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of The Other Night: Dreaming, Writing, and Restlessness in Twentieth-Century Literature (Fordham University Press, 2008; 2012 in paperback), along with a number of articles, both on literature and on “live” media such as streaming video and sportstalk radio.

MAP Lectures

This talk is part of the Leiden Lectures on Media | Art | Politics, organized by Pepita Hesselberth, Yasco Horsman, and Tingting Hui. For more information about upcoming lectures and registration, click here.

The Map Lectures are made possible with the support of:

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