Feeling Queer / Queer Feeling
University of Toronto, Canada
24–26 May, 2017
As a physical and psychological phenomenon, affect takes place in the body and is both outside of and beyond representational mediations, as it mobilizes the concrete experience of the self, of others, and how we are in the world. In response, theories of affect are in our opinion tactical and strategic attempts to come to grips with shifting and nuanced aspects of infinite difference, to qualify the gradient of difference and alterity at the very core of the self. Certainly, we speak of feelings, sensations, emotions, perceptions, and “passions” but theories of affect call for critical sympathy and attention to attempt to translate into another language that which does not happen in words. We must take into consideration that words and concepts are only partial, incomplete, and imperfect attempts at translating experience and that translations reduce the complexity, wealth, diversity, multiplicity, plurality and singularity, of the phenomenon which we want to best describe. How can one then begin to apprehend that which is not within the range of oral or written language, that which cannot be communicated directly, and that which can be showed but not relayed in literature, cinema, painting, or by any other art form? How do we go about capturing, either materially or conceptually, that which cannot be apprehended or seized in any other way?
Session 4: Pain and Pleasure in the Racial Dimensions of Affect and Desire
Father Madden, Carr Hall, St Michael’s College
Chair/Présidence : Christina Chung
Nael BHANJI, York University, “Trans Necropolitics: Terrorism, Vigil/ance, and the
Affective Geopolitics of Transsexual Memorialization”
Natalie KOURI-TOWE, Thorneloe University at Laurentian University, “Nationalism and
the Affective Life of Terror in the Case of Omar Khadr”
Sarah Stefana SMITH, Pennsylvania State University, “Regarding Beauty: Mickalene
Thomas’s Tête de Femme and the Search for the Sublime in Difference”
Weaving between three different projects on the racial dimensions of affect, this panel considers the pleasurable and painful circulation of affects in contemporary arts and politics. While affect theory invites us into the corporeal and emergent experiences of sensation, the aesthetic and political landscapes of contemporary race discourses usher the ephemeral into the convergent spaces of violent encounters (detention and torture, racial violence, racial profiling, counter-terrorism) and anticipatory hope (bafflement, reconciliation, memorialisation). Between the desire for disruption in the aesthetics of beauty to a desire for security in the nation state, the pain and pleasure of race remakes both the victims of racial violence and the witnesses to such violence. Queering the feelings of pain and pleasure, the panel asks us to consider how the horizons and circulation of affect inform these racial encounters.