Rebecca Falkoff is Assistant Professor of Italian Studies a New York University. She received her Ph.D. in Italian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and her B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research—rooted in psychoanalysis, gender and sexuality studies, and new materialist thought—focuses on possession and perversion in modern literary and visual texts. She has published on the illegible obscene, flea markets, and the Ferrante phenomenon, and has translated works by Elsa Morante and Anita Raja. Her essay, “Carlo Emilio Gadda’s Professional Alchemy, or How to Make Bread from Air and Literature from Science” was awarded the Romance Studies Early Career Researchers Essay Prize. She is currently completing her first book, Hoarding: Disorder and Modernity.
Rebecca R. Falkoff
Wolf Humanities Center Regional Fellow
2018—2019 Forum on Stuff
Rebecca R. Falkoff
Assistant Professor of Italian Studies, New York University
Hoarding: Disorder and Modernity
Recent years have seen an overwhelming interest in hoarding, expressed in medical discourse, academic works of literary and political theory, and a range of imaginative cultural forms. Unlike traditional economic elaborations of hoarding, which focus on those who accumulate bullion, money, or grain, contemporary hoarding results in accumulations that are of no immediate economic consequence. My project analyzes contemporary discourse and its historical and disciplinary roots to show how hoarding intertwines psychic and political economies, troubling the boundaries between material and immaterial; rational and irrational; individual and aggregate; present and future. My readings of key modern literary and visual texts demonstrate that the hoarder is not an exceptional figure, but an embodiment of the psychological, economic, ecological, and technological conditions of modernity.