Elizabeth Anker, "Ugly Freedoms" (Duke UP, 2022)


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With me on today’s show is Professor Elizabeth Anker, whose most recent book, Ugly Freedoms (Duke UP, 2022), works to understand how the idea of freedom, seemingly so fundamental to our understanding of the American experience, is often the very concept that allows for the brutal deprivation of the freedom of others. As she writes, “ugly freedom entails a dynamic in which practices of freedom produce harm, brutality, and subjugation as freedom.” Today we will be discussing Professor Anker’s theory of ugly freedom in the context of our unending crisis of gun violence in the United States. This show’s topic feels as essential as any that I have offered thus far. I hope you will find something hopeful in our conversation.

Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.

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