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ANTHRO 5122 - Affect, Emotion, And Feeling: Anthropology Of The Evocative

This course reviews recent attempts in the social sciences to demarcate and define the scope and objects of the "affective" turn in cultural theory and, more broadly, to carve out a distinctly interdisciplinary space for the understanding of affect, emotions, feelings, bodies, and the dynamism of sociocultural "matter". Anthropologists and other social theorists from Durkheim onward have considered the role of affect in questions of bodies, sensation, emotion, and social change. In recent years, the "affective turn" in the humanities and humanistic social sciences has brought renewed attention to these dynamics. For some, affect is contrasted with emotion; it is potential or capacity, not set cultural meaning. For others, affect is contrasted with structure or form; it is bodily sensation or intensity--dynamic, energetic, mobile. And for others still, affect might enable us to grasp how it feels to inhabit a life world, a particular atmosphere, texture, sensuality, or the feel of things. This course explores the genealogy and range of theories of affect, emotion, and feeling, considering anthropology's distinctive contributions to and critiques of their study. We will discuss ways that centralizing affect, emotion, and feeling might disrupt dichotomies of structure/agency, opening up modes of analysis and enabling us to explore forms of life that exceed human subjects and socialities. Readings will tack between more theoretical essays and ethnographic representations of affect, sensuality, mobility, and emotion.
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Fall 2019, Spring 2017
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