'In What We Tend To Feel Is Without History': Toward a Feminist Ethics of Affect Open Access

Guilmette, Lauren (2014)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/nz805z91h?locale=en
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Abstract

My project begins from the need for ethics to speak to the messy, relational space between freedom and determinism through which histories persists in us. I bring together Spinoza's ethics and politics of affect, Foucault's genealogies of 'abnormals' (and the will to know them), and Butler's response ethics to develop a language for these affective mediations--scripts, fictions, frames--and to consider how such an understanding of affect could enrich and concretize a response ethics: beyond the call to respond to another sentient being in its 'otherness,' its overflow of what we could conceptualize or thematize, an 'ethics of affect' addresses the concrete and historically singular ways in which we approach this unbridgeable gap. I am particularly concerned with 'interest,' and with sympathy and curiosity as modes of interest in the lives of others, because these modes negotiate forms of identification, difference, and spectacle that animate this gap. My aim is to develop terms to help us to articulate and counteract the persistence of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other stuck cultural patterns of association which delimit what it is possible to think and feel.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Affect and Ethics ......................................................................................................................... 1

Chapter One: Feminist Spinoza--The Ethics and Politics of Joy in the Affective Turn ................................................... 11

Chapter Two: "I Have Only Written Fictions"--Spinoza, Foucault, and the Re-Scripting of Affect ................................... 37

Chapter Three: Sympathy and the Limits of Identification ..................................................................................... 65

Chapter Four: Curiosity-as-Care--Foucault, Butler, and the Ethics of the Will-to-Know ................................................ 87

Conclusion: Toward a Feminist Ethics of Affect ................................................................................................... 112

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