This issue of parallax wishes to contribute to a study of enthusiasm as a transsubjective force enabling the collective body to recognize itself through the very plasticity of its senses. If, as Rancière suggests, revolution lies in the possibility of changing not only laws and institutions, but the very sensory forms of human experience, we would like to propose a choreographic understanding of affects and vital energies which register the body’s motility in order to draw attention to what there is in common among the subjects of emancipation. Contributors are invited to investigate manifestations of enthusiasm in collective aesthetic practices, such as literary, cinematic, political, sexual, technological, psychic and ritual, but also to consider how enthusiasm might relate to, or differ from elation, exaltation, ecstasy, fanaticism, and fandom.
The very term ‘enthusiasm’ has a long and compelling cultural history. Socrates uses the metaphor of a magnet to explain how the poet’s enthousiasmós (inspiration) is inhaled from the muses and passed onto the audience. Thus the rhapsode Ion should ‘put the words in common’, since he knows nothing but the very materiality of their aural transmission reverberating from one tympanic membrane to another. In the seventeenth-century, instead, Enthusiasts were those fervent religious groups of people who believed they could hear the voice of god inside their heads, thus bypassing the bureaucracy of the church. Furthermore, in his study of Kantian aesthetics, Lyotard would highlight that enthusiasm, as a feeling of the sublime, is experienced as a motile operation, an inner vibration, which follows the failure of the imagination to supply a direct sensible presentation of what is incommensurable. Swinging between attraction and repulsion, enthusiasm is thus a tensor of wish, whose aesthetic validity facilitates the subject’s uncovering of its destination.
How does enthusiasm give place to a rethinking of the sensus communis as both the possibility of transsubjective transmission of affects (Kristeva, Lyotard, Rancière), and the material condition of seduction in the emergence of subjectivity (Bersani, Laplanche)? By interlacing the fields of affect, historiography, and imagination, we invite contributors to engage in research about the vital capacity of swarming between human and inhuman, to deal with what is common in the communication of feelings, to plot out questions of resonance in body-to-technic relations, and to examine the inscriptions, vibrations, and resistances of corporeality to matter which are registered through a general intellect.
Submission deadline: 31 October 2010
Potential Contributors are encouraged to contact the editor by the end of August at the address below.
University of Leeds
Centre for Cultural Studies
School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
Old Mining Building
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT
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