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3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

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Freedom is the highest ideal in American politics, but its legacy is complex. Throughout American history, freedom has supported emancipation and individual liberty, but has also supported white supremacy, oppression, and misogyny. These “ugly freedoms” legitimate the right to harm and subjugate others. Drawing on her new book, Ugly Freedoms (Duke University Press, 2022), Elisabeth Anker will examine ugly freedoms from the history of slavery to the January 6 insurrection, even as she explores visions of freedom that emphasize the flourishing of all people, not just a privileged few. 

Professor Anker is Associate Professor of American Studies and Political Science at the George Washington University, where she is also Director of the Film Studies Program. Her work lies at the intersection of political theory, cultural studies, feminist theory, and affect studies.  She is the author of the multiple prize-winning book Orgies of Feeling: Melodrama and the Politics of Freedom (Duke University Press 2014) and the brand new book Ugly Freedoms (Duke University Press, 2022). Her articles have appeared in Political TheorySocial ResearchTheory & EventAmerican Literary HistoryPolitics and Gender, Contemporary Political Theory, and the Journal of Communication.

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