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Public lecture, Sheffield University

Building Works: On the Uses of Use

Use is a small word with a lot of work to do, a small word with a big history. As Rita Felski describes in her introduction to a special issue of New Literary History on use, the very word is stubby, plain, workmanlike, its monosyllabic bluntness as bare and unadorned as the thing that it names” (2013, 5). This lecture explores different uses of use across a range of intellectual traditions including biology and psychology as well as education. It considers how words and things are shaped by use and shows how worlds are built from small acts of use to enable some uses (and users) more than others.

Please register for the lecture here: