On this module, students consider how cultural texts represent the affective experiences and provocations of contemporary life. The module asks how social, psychological, and philosophical understandings of the way we feel -- and represent or evoke feeling -- influence how authors, broadly understood, engage questions of aesthetics, audience, and ethics, in relation to affective states as various as remorse, boredom, nostalgia, fascination, rebellion, and expectation. Considering a selection of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, life-writing, television, and film, and with reference to visual and performance art, we will explore how the critical language of affect helps us understand relations amongst emotion, subjectivity, and political action. Writers covered might range from J.M. Coetzee to Claudia Rankine, directors from Michael Haneke to Jill Soloway, and visual artists from Anselm Kiefer to Kara Walker.
The schedule for the S1 2020-21 module will be advertised to you by email during the summer, and will be confirmed when the QMPlus site is released. I can confirm now, though, that we will be reading the following texts (amongst others tbc). You might make a start on these over the summer...
- Joan Didion, Blue Nights
- Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You
- Maggie Nelson, Bluets
- Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric
You could also watch some of the following (to put you in the mood, so to speak):
- Amour, dir. Michael Haneke
- Moonlight, dir. Barry Jenkins
- Beach Rats, dir. Eliza Hittman
If you want to sample some of our theoretical reading in advance, I recommend you work your way through some of these: the opening chapter of Lauren Berlant's Cruel Optimism
via QMlibrary), the preface to Eugenie Brinkema's The Forms of the Affects
via QMlibrary), the final chapter of Sara Ahmed's The Promise of Happiness
, the chapter on 'Affect' in Derek Attridge's The Work of Literature
via QMlibrary), as well as Susan Sontag's seminal polemical essay 'Against Interpretation' (widely available). Don't be alarmed if you find any of these dense or difficult! They are, but we'll work through them together.