The project that became Cruel Optimism began when I was a Leverhulme fellow
at Lancaster University for a number of years, in conversation (now for over a
decade) with the wonderful and brilliant crew of Bev Skeggs, Sarah Franklin,
Sara Ahmed, Celia Lury, Jackie Stacey, Imogen Tyler, and the much- grieved
Paul Fletcher. Speaking of grieving, it was during a conversation with Bill
Readings about Lyotard that I first saw optimism as the thing that keeps the
event open, for better or ill. Thanks to Roger Rouse for continuing to brain-
storm with my aleatory thoughts about aleatoriness and my transnational
thoughts about capital. Thanks to Ian Horswill for collaborating with me on
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