This special session has been approved for the 2012 PAMLA Conference at Seattle University in Seattle, Washington, on October 19-21. We are interested in papers that examine transnational literary texts and cultural discourses in light of Raymond Williams’s concept of “structures of feeling” and the recent proliferation of affect theories over the past decade.
In Marxism and Literature, Williams describes structures of feeling as “not feeling against thought, but thought as felt and feeling as thought: practical consciousness of a present kind, in a living and interrelating community.” We are interested in comparing and contrasting Williams’s emphasis on thought-feeling in consciousness and community with the more recent turn towards affect in terms of bodies and (non-)belonging. As the editors of The Affect Theory Reader (2010) claim, affect is “a gradient of bodily capacities” that “marks a body’s belonging to a world of encounters.” While the affective turn seems to narrow our focus from communities to singular bodies, the extension of affect onto a “world” of encounters suggests a wider, global field of feeling, emotion, and affective elements than Williams imagined.
We invite papers examining how migrant or diasporic, transnational or global literary and cultural narratives engage with structures of feeling and theories of affect. Because visual and filmic texts have received more attention in recent studies, we wish to focus more on literary, cultural, and theoretical texts instead. Topics we are interested in include (but are not limited to): sub-national, national, and transnational bodies/communities as structures of feeling; the politics of affect and affective politics within transnational or global formations; cosmopolitanism/cosmpolitics as a “feeling” (after Bruce Robbins) or an affect rather than a subjectivity; affect and feeling in the crossing of borders and bodies; neoliberalism and its disciplinary / regulatory technologies in relation to affect and feeling; world/global literature and the use of specific forms/genres as critical affect/structures of feeling.
Please send questions and proposals (approximately 500 words) to Weihsin Gui at weihsin.gui “at” ucr.edu. Proposals will also need to submitted on the PAMLA website at www.pamla.org. Deadline: Saturday, March 31 2012.
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