Filed under: affect, Affect Theory, Detachment theory, Encounters, Love, Mood, non-sovereignty, optimism, Ordinariness, pedagogy, psychoanalysis, Theory of this Blog, writing | Tags: adults, affect, children, Lydia_Davis, memory, psychoanalysis, things, writing
1. The Test
There’s a can of blueberries at the back of the shelf amid dust and flour mites or whatever it is that gets into the rice, like an old writing file where you made a deposit in the darkness of a late style. As though berries too syrupy even for ice cream and the cheesecakes your mother never got to make were just waiting around for you to be found, like that child in the game. (more…)
Filed under: Affect Theory, psychoanalysis, writing, supervalent_thought, Mood, sexuality, affect | Tags: affect, theory, writing, Sedgwick, emotion, Tomkins, Glee, mood
These are our questions for the MLA roundtable. Section one takes up genealogies of affect theory; section two takes up the problem of affect in the historical present; section three takes up a variety of concerns about queer theory, sexuality, racialization, specific cases and archives, and modes of orientation that are in proximity to whatever we might call affect but in different idioms. You can download them here. mla roundtable 2011
745. Affecting Affect Theory is scheduled to take place at 1:45+3:00 p.m. on 08-JAN-12 in 615, WSCC; Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place (Pike St. and 8th Ave.)
Affect Theory Roundtable Questions, MLA 2012
Authors: Lauren Berlant, Ann Cvetkovich, Jonathan Flatley, Neville Hoad, Heather Love, José E. Muñoz, Tavia Nyong’o
I. Genealogies of Affect Theory
1. How do we think about the different trajectories of affect theory now, especially as the Deleuzian/Massumian project/idiom has become so important to its critical circulation? How do we think the proximity of public feelings, minor affects, psychoanalysis, Sedgwickian syncretism (Buddhism, Tomkins, Klein), and affective labor’s version of affect-as-immateriality in relation to the Spinozan tradition? How to keep the event of affect open to maintaining the multiplicity of traditions, trajectories, tendencies, and critical tactics? Is spanning all traditions important to ways we think about addressing future problems?
2. Affect vs/alongside mood, feeling, emotion etc. What are the stakes of synthesizing these different ways of talking to our about states of the sensorium?
3. Cavell (a great affect theorist who is not often included in the genealogies of affect theory) says that professional philosophy has been emancipated from an obligation to be therapeutic, but that it should be haunted by that very emancipation. What about the critical work we do: what about questions of theory and utility, of reparativity, of failure?
4. In response to thoughts about genealogies and the increasing institutionalization of Deleuzian affect studies, I would like to take the chance to think in some detail about genealogies for public feelings/feel tank type affect studies. The Cavell thing got me thinking about other possibly overlooked figures. (more…)
Filed under: Belonging, Craziness, Ordinariness, Theory of this Blog, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: normativity, optimism, The_Nation, writing
My recent work is about resistance to change, but tracks optimism, I think, because its persistence points to a glitch in the subject’s commitment to repeat that cluster of habits she recognizes as “her” personality. A glitch, as I say in my newest chapter, is an interruption amidst a transition. Ever since that Nation episode (see entry below) I’ve been torn, torn, torn. Do I want to write more like that? I’ve had an offer to do more. So part of my brain has been phrasing whatever I think in the idiom of the memorable, the pithy, and the visceral. I am having terrible polemicist envy.
If I were to do the journalism, I would want to be thinking about recasting what the good life might come to mean in the face of the bad life facing us down, the shocking, ordinary overpresence of violence in and toward bodies politic, and the increasing scarcity of nature-as-resource. I would want to be imagining how to produce a pragmatic world for an imaginary that sustains a better image of social reciprocity, a version of the kinship of care without the xenophobia of so much easily imagined belonging. And to produce a greater attachment to the kind of economic justice that would make the rich poorer, and the poor more secure.
All of that’s not yet in my vernacular skill set, however. Work is always in regress before it’s in progress. But, in that register, I can say something uncynical about political affectivity–that is, about normativity and its others, about how viscera are trained, bodies calibrated, vigilance honed, mixed feelings managed, toward remaining fluid in and making sense of a world that is both crumbling and enduring, full of obstacles and lubricants, as people make ways to live on in it.
I may follow this with versions of two columns that might or might not end up there.
Filed under: supervalent_thought, Theory of this Blog, writing | Tags: affect, psychoanalysis, supervalent_thought, theory, writing
Think about a phrase that resonates. A supervalent thought is a thought whose meaning resides not only in its explicit phrasing, but in the atmosphere of intensity it releases that points beyond the phrase, to a domain of the unsaid. A supervalent thought produces an atmosphere in the world, makes an opening in the potential for apprehension, consciousness, and experience.
It’s a concept from Freud’s Dora. Freud uses it to describe an expressed thought (I don’t love you) that covers up a concealed thought that is its opposite (I love you). But I think the spirit of the concept is that in the penumbra a concept generates all kinds of contradictions can be magnetized to induce an impact beyond what’s explicit or what’s normative.