Attention as Method: Marxism, Feminism, and the Politics of Presence


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Gender and Women's Studies


This dissertation explores the concept of attention from 1945 to the present through a materialist feminist lens. Since the mid-twentieth century, discourse in the United States has abounded with references to an attention crisis, but contrary to popular convictions that digital culture is to blame, this project asks how attention is constituted by economic conditions. Theorizing that workers’ psychic resources are differently strained by so-called immaterial or affective labor, this project develops a materialist theory of attention through Marxist feminist, phenomenological, and post-Fordist theory. This theoretical groundwork is followed by three case studies of contemporary attention techniques: mindfulness in the Bay Area tech sector, second-wave feminist consciousness raising, and the practice of feminist historiography itself.