Morgan McMahon Successfully Defends Dissertation

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Morgan McMahon successfully defended her dissertation entitled “The rejection of Cruel Optimism in French Contemporary Theater: Trois Pièces d’Initiation” on April 20th, 2020. Her doctoral research explores the effects of family trauma as presented in French contemporary theater, situating three plays written by Xavier Durringer, Jean-Luc Lagarce and Marie Ndiaye within the context of Lauren Berlant’s theory of Cruel Optimism. While Berlant points to a universal series of obstacles as proof of the current inability to achieve “the good life” through “lively, durable intimacy,” Durringer, Lagarce and Ndiaye depict a way through these obstacles as a means of initiation and agency, demonstrating an optimistic trend in French theater.