Addiction: Consumption and the Dilemmas of Freedom

Event Date: 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023 - 10:00am to 4:30pm

Event Location: 

  • Humanities and Social Change Center @ Robertson Gym 1000A

Event Price: 


This one day conference will examine the ambiguous concept of addiction and discuss the questions that addiction's prevalence raises about individual freedom, consumerism, and the pursuit of happiness in the United States today.

Session I, 10:00AM - 12:00PM

Presentation by Susan Zieger

Session II, 1:00 - 2:30PM

Presentation by Natasha D. Schüll

Session III, 3:00 - 4:30PM

Presentation by Lucas McCracken

Susan Zieger is a professor of English literature at the University of California, Riverside, specializing in the Victorian period. Her works include Inventing the Addict: Drugs, Race, and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century British and American Literature (2008) and The Mediated Mind: Affect, Ephemera, and Consumerism in the Nineteenth Century (2018). She is currently researching her next book, Logistical Life.

Natasha D. Schüll is a cultural anthropologist and associate professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, exploring the psychic life of technology. Schüll has authored two books, Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas (2012) and Keeping Track (forthcoming), as well as directed and produced an award-winning documentary film BUFFET: All You Can Eat Las Vegas (2005).

Lucas McCracken is a Humanities and Social Change dissertation fellow in Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, studying the modern secular legacy of ancient Christian ideas. His latest article, "Christian Addiction: The Metaphor of Debt-Bondage in Roman Theology," is forthcoming with the Journal of the American Academy of Religion.

The Capps Center is delighted to co-sponsor this event with the UCSB Humanities & Social Change Center and the Department of Religious Studies.