Join the Humanities Studio in welcoming Hua Hsu, associate professor of English and director of American Studies at Vassar College, as he presents “Of Fleas, Pests, and Termites: Cultural Criticism and its Metaphors of Smallness” — the penultimate lecture in our 2018-19 “Fail Better” Speakers Series.

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.

Hsu is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure across the Pacific.

The event — co-sponsored by the American Studies Program, the International Relations Program, and the Departments of English and History — is free and open to the public.

Event Contact

Thursday, April 4, 2019 4:30 pm
  • Pomona College
  • Hahn Hall
  • Room: 101
  • 420 N. Harvard Avenue
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