Visceral Theory: Affect and Embodiment
30 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003
How can we think or write theory in the wake of poststructuralism? For a number of recent thinkers, one possible answer arrives in the often slippery category of affect, in the attempt to return theoretical attention not only to material conditions but specifically to the body and the intensities that traverse it. Such theorists are critical of the elevation of language over visceral, lived experience and interested in the ways that affects circulate publicly or are transmitted contagiously. “The skin,” writes Brian Massumi, “is faster than the word.” In different ways, they theorize affect—which they distinguish from emotion or feeling—as a per-personal and pre-linguistic entity about which they nonetheless attempt to speak. This class will constitute a joint experiment in how to think, write, and deploy the concept or concepts of affect. Readings will include selections from Baruch Spinoza, Sigmund Freud, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Brian Massumi, Kathleen Stewart, Teresa Brennan, Lauren Berlant, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and others. No prior reading will be assumed, but a willingness to struggle with and through nonlinear and experimental writing (both alone and with the group) will be an absolute necessity.
Course ScheduleWednesday, 7-9pm
June 05 — July 17, 2013
6 sessions over 7 weeks