William Davies: The Reaction Economy
Reactions – facial expressions, gestures or emojis – are the main currency of the digital public sphere. Ubiquitous surveillance and smartphones have made the spontaneous reaction a thing to be cultivated, collected and stored. How did we come to endow reaction with such significance, and what might an escape from the reaction economy look like?
William Davies, a sociologist and political economist, teaches at Goldsmiths and has written extensively on subjects such as neoliberalism and the ‘happiness industry’. This Is Not Normal: The Collapse of Liberal Britain includes several of his essays for the LRB.
Clair Wills: How to Plot an Abortion
Following the US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and other challenges to reproductive rights, Clair Wills considers the stories we tell about abortion – in fiction, film, court rulings and clinics.
Clair Wills teaches at Cambridge. Her books include Lovers and Strangers, an immigrant history of postwar Britain. She is finishing a book about unmarried mothers in 20th-century Ireland.
Terry Castle: Some Mortifications of Family History
Terry Castle reflects on the life of her first cousin at four removes, Henry Francis Finn (1852-1924), who led a celebrated cavalry charge against the dervishes of Sudan at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898, one of the most grotesquely lopsided and horrific battles in military history.
Terry Castle has taught at Stanford since 1983. Her books include The Apparitional Lesbian, The Female Thermometer: 18th-Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny and a memoir, The Professor.