Things That Move Us: Affect and Authority

Datum / Uhrzeit:
02.11.16 - 08.02.17   /  16:30 - 18:00

Institute for Media and Cultural Studies

Haus der Universität, Schadowplatz 14, 40212 Düsseldorf


Affect – a palpable intensity, the atmosphere in a room – is transmitted between people, below the threshold of conscious perception, manifesting as bodily tension and relaxation. Affect is involuntary, non-conscious, contagious, and to a certain degree automatic. A turn to affect helps us to challenge the conception of knowledge production as something rational and objective. The critical and creative engagement with the affects enables a different form of knowledge: passionate, embodied and responsible knowledge that is grounded in experience fruitfully extends a purely rational approach to knowledge and to knowledge production and forces us to reassess our positioning in society and in the world.

Affect’s political potential has been investigated with renewed intensity from gender and queer studies perspectives in the previous fifteen years. Scholars working along these lines focus particularly on negative affects such as shame, fear, out-rage, depression and failure, asking the question: how can negative affects be (made) productive? They consider the enabling moments produced by choosing not to turn away from these affects, critically investigate their societal causes and explore the creative employment of these intensities. These foci of investigation speak to the broader question: how can affects facilitate a thinking process?

This seminar series focuses on the speaking person. We will reflect on the authority of speaking scholars and practice scholarship as a discursive activity. Scholarly discourse hinges on your involvement and self-understanding as curious learners. We will engage with scholarly authority in dialogical ways: for one, you will learn to engage critically and constructively with scholarly authority. Moreover, you will learn to affirm authority and to develop your own authoritative voice. Come and be challenged to participate in the international English-language based scholarly discussion on affect!

Seminar sessions take place bi-weekly at Haus der Universität, Schadowplatz 14. We will have an (inter)national guest for each session who will give a lecture and will be present for discussion with you. Don’t worry: We will prepare discussion questions together ahead of the lecture.


Verantwortlich für den Inhalt: E-Mail sendenAnglistik und Amerikanistik Redaktion