Shirl Yang

Shirl Yang, Humanities Teaching Fellow

Shirl Yang is a Humanities Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago. She holds a B.A. in English and Biology from Williams College, and a Ph. D in English from U of C. Her work explores the entanglement of contemporary affective and economic life, focusing on ways of getting by in the wake of systemic stagnation and financialization that has characterized the US economy since 1970. What forms of economic citizenship available to those deemed not worth investment? What are the politics of opting out precisely when one is expected to buy in? Guided by affect theory’s turn to “reticent” or “recessive” action,” her dissertation argues for the undertheorized centrality of withdrawal and withholding—scenes of not working, not investing, and not consuming—to 20th and 21st century notions of economic life and citizenship. As an instructor, she enjoys teaching with critical theory, comedy, psychoanalysis, and whatever she can find on YouTube.