In this reading guide, Diletta De Cristofaro introduces debates around the sleep crisis and some books, across fiction and non-fiction, that focus on the too-often ignored political, social, and historical dimensions of sleep. This piece is part of the inaugural issue of The Posthumanist magazine (September 2022), all devoted to sleep.
As part of the Sleep Salons series hosted by the Sociability of Sleep (Université de Montréal & McGill University, Canada), Dr Diletta De Cristofaro gave a talk last March about the writing of sleep. She was in conversation with Julie Flygare, President and CEO of Project Sleep. The video recording of the event is now available, you can watch it below.
On 27th April, 1pm CEST, Dr Diletta De Cristofaro will be delivering a META lecture at Politecnico di Milano titled “Sleep Mode: Technologies and the Sleep Crisis“. Full details here, abstract of the lecture below.
We are in a sleep crisis: sleep disorders are on the rise and people are sleeping less and less, with disastrous effects on health. Or at least, this is what some studies claim, incessantly amplified by the media. In fact, sleep scientists are divided on whether or not our society is suffering from this crisis of poor sleep. Yet the discourse of contemporary society as profoundly sleep-deprived dominates cultural production. Why have insomnia, burnout, and exhaustion become the main lenses through which we think about sleep in our present? Considering a range of examples from twenty-first-century literature, visual arts, popular and digital culture, this lecture explores the ambiguous role of technologies in the discourse of the sleep crisis: how they are blamed for this supposed public health emergency and, at once, positioned as a possible solution to the crisis. I argue that technologies, and their representations in contemporary culture, illuminate a nexus of concerns, affects, and imperatives that underlie the discourse of the sleep crisis.
The programme for “Sleep and Digital Health: Multidisciplinary Perspectives” is now available. Take a look here!
Don’t forget to register for the conference by clicking on the button below. Registration is free but required.
The counterproductive promise of a ‘sleep goal’
In this opinion piece in The Week, Dr Diletta De Cristofaro explores how the fixation of sleep-tracking devices and relaxation apps on sleep goals ironically ends up devaluing sleep.
In April-May 2022, Dr Diletta De Cristofaro will be presenting conference papers about the project at the BSLS (British Society for Literature and Science), PCA (Popular Culture Association), “Everyday Embodiment and Technology in Science and Speculative Fiction” symposium (University of Leeds), and APL (Association for Philosophy and Literature). Further details below.
8 April 2022, 9am BST
Fictions of the Sleep Crisis
The British Society for Literature and Science annual conference, Manchester, UK.
14 April 2022, 9:30am EDT
6 May 2022, 2:30 BST
Sleep Mode: Technologies and the Sleep Crisis
“Everyday Embodiment and Technology in Science and Speculative Fiction” symposium, University of Leeds, part of the Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures project.
The project’s conference on the theme of Sleep and Digital Health will take place online on 27-28 June 2022.
The conference will explore the nexus of sleep and digital health from a range of disciplinary perspectives. The deadline of our call for papers has been extended to 21st March 2022.
Find out more about the conference and the CfP here.
Free registration is open here.
Watch the video collecting highlights of the launch event of Sleep Stories at Durham Book Festival 2021
“Sleep Stories and the Science of Sleep” launched the “Sleep Stories” commission at Durham Book Festival, a podcast series featuring stories about sleep by leading British writers. The event delved into the science and culture of sleep. Dr Diletta De Cristofaro was joined by author Salena Godden, Professor of sleep science Jason Ellis, and neuroscientist and writer Dr Erik Hoel.
On 23rd March, 12-1:30 pm ET, Dr Diletta De Cristofaro will be giving a talk about “Writing Sleep”.
This salon juxtaposes literary-critical explorations of sleep in contemporary fiction with the awareness- and empathy-building practices of life writing about sleep and sleep disorders. The talk will be online and registration is free. More information about The Sociability of Sleep research-creation project here.
Register for the talk here.
The third and final episode of “Sleep Stories”, a podcast series co-commissioned in collaboration with Durham Book Festival is now available.
“Encroach” is an exclusive short story, inspired by the theme of sleep, written and read by Andrew McMillan. The story is introduced by Professor in Psychology Jason Ellis.
Listen to it here.