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An evening with Barbara Ehrenreich (20 November)


The American opinion maker Barbara Ehrenreich, recipient of the Erasmus Prize in 2018, is coming to Utrecht! She will engage students in a discussion of the worrying state of her homeland on Tuesday evening 20 November. Topics will include the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor, the political dividedness in America, the #MeToo movement and the treacherous nature of the American dream and of positive thinking. Register now to join us!

 

Register now!


Barbara Ehrenreich operates on the intersection of investigative journalism and social sciences and combines this with a thorough knowledge of her own discipline of cell biology. She had appointments and guest professorships at no less than eight American universities. Based on thorough research, her extensive oeuvre unravels the illusion of the American dream (eternal optimism), the exploitation of unskilled workers, dominant views on women, and the sham industry of positive psychology.


As an investigative journalist, Ehrenreich built her reputation with important publications in the New York Times, Harper's Magazine, Time, Wall Street Journal and many other renowned American magazines and newspapers. She was also editor-in-chief of the prominent magazine Mother Jones.


Ehrenreich came to international fame with Nickle and Dimed, a book for which she spent months doing undercover research at the bottom end of the labour market. In her early work For her own Good (1979, together with Deirdre English), she criticised the paternalistic attitude of medical science towards the female body. Since then she has been a pioneer of the women's movement, as a founder of and advisor to numerous organisations devoted to promoting women’s interests.


Her extensive oeuvre of no less than 22 books both inspires and challenges scholars worldwide. She relentlessly exposes culturally ingrained patterns of behaviour and socio-economic structures; her most well-known book, Smile or Die, is one example. Positive thinking as a condition for curing cancer? Absolutely not, all it does is give false hope and it makes those who do die co-responsible for their own suffering. Above all, it has generated a vast industry of quacks, psychologists and handy advertisers.

The American opinion maker Barbara Ehrenreich, recipient of the Erasmus Prize in 2018, is coming to Utrecht! She will engage students in a discussion of the worrying state of her homeland on Tuesday evening 20 November. Topics will include the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor, the political dividedness in America, the #MeToo movement and the treacherous nature of the American dream and of positive thinking. Register now to join us!