9506 - Theorizing Emotion - Emotions affect theory. From Lauren Berlant’s “feel tank” at the University of Chicago to reading groups such as Sneja Gunew’s “Decolonizing Affect” group in Vancouver, theorizing affect and “feeling in theory,” as Rei Terada puts it, has become increasingly important not only for thinking about aesthetics and poststructuralism, but also for interrogating postcolonial, queer and diasporic subjectivities. This course will examine a range of “affect theories” and the ways in which these theories help us to understand the processes of subject formation. We will take up Terada’s questioning of emotion after the “death of the subject” and examine the possibilities for feeling in theory. We will grapple with Gilroy’s concept of “diasporic intimacy;” Sedgwick’s discussion of emotion, performance and pedagogy; the power of mourning in Derrida and Butler; and Ngai’s argument that there can be a materialist analysis of feeling. Throughout this course, we will investigate emotion as intervening against that which has previously been dismissed as too subjective. Unlike affect, emotion requires subjects. Theorizing emotion tackles the seemingly indulgent excesses of the personal and the intimate. The surfeit of the subjective can recuperate theoretical inquiry from the impoverishment of its detachments. Embracing the theoretical possibilities of disgust, paranoia, love, and melancholia, we will attend to these messy intersections of emotion and theory.
Our text will include:
Ahmed, Sara. The Cultural Politics of Emotions
Butler, Judith. Precarious Life.
Derrida, Jacques. Archive Fever and selections from The Work of Mourning
Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic and Postcolonial Melancholia
Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual
Nancy, Jean-Luc. The Inoperative Community
Ngai, Sianne. Ugly Feelings
Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Touching Feeling
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