Affect Theory Conference #affectWTF

So, over to Amish country for the first tie in many years, to Lancaster, PA for the rather amazing Affect conference. The fluidity of audiences between rooms, appearing and then disappearing, was soon made clear – the conference was throwing out loads of live tweeting of sessions, a real social media presence. Highlights for me: Larry Grossberg, Jeremy Gilbert, and Jason Read in the second plenary (pictured), with some very engaged discussion about diagramming affect (Grossberg) and the politics of labor and ‘enlistment’ of labor by capitalism (Gilbert and Read). Another highlight was the absolutely delightful back and forth on stage between Kathleen Stewart (author of one of my all-time favorite academic books ever, Ordinary Affects) and Lauren Berlant. There were giggles, cursewords, open laughter, and some excellent answers to audience questions.

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My paper, ‘On sensations, affects, and motor habits in Ravaisson and Bergson: habit-bodies’ was based on a previous conference paper (NCA, the National Communication Association), but heavily modified in the light of some work I’ve been doing for a chapter in the forthcoming book Understanding Merleau-Ponty, Understanding Modernism for Bloomsbury. More on this soon – some fascinating work on the physiology of movement and ‘automaticity’ (reflexes) as a background to Merleau-Ponty’s discussion of ‘motility’ (as it is translated in the Landes 2013 edition of Phenomenology of Perception).

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