How to Do Things with Affects: Affective Triggers in Aesthetic Forms and Cultural Practices, edited by Ernst van Alphen and Tomáš Jirsa, is just out with Brill. An impressive collection that comes with just a little bit of smut, namely my chapter entitled “Monstrous Resonance: Affect and animated pornography” that looks at monster cartoon porn, some audience insights and, well, affect theory.
Category Archives: affect theory
Sooner than expected! Out in October, my Many Splendored Things: Thinking Sex and Play has already been reviewed, not once, but twice — apparently with more to follow. Voilà, Katherine Angel for Times Higher Education (behind paywall) and João Florêncio for Theory, Culture & Society. Always a thrill to be read.
Should you be in the UK March 7-8, do join us at The Pleasures of Violence conference at Oxford Brookes University: “This conference aims to consider questions of abuse, misuse of power and aggression in the (post-)digital age from a variety of perspectives and fields, exploring the relationship between violence (physical, psychological, symbolic, et al) and digitality writ large. It also takes seriously the pleasures on offer through such digital violence, whether that is the action cinema’s fight sequence or the trainwreck celebrity. Is “digital violence” a redundant category? How does violence play out in different national contexts and creative industries: cinema, gaming, photography, music, fashion?” My contribution addresses tentacle rape porn and some empirical inquiry into pornographic preferences.
Edited by Anu Koivunen, Katariina Kyrölä & Ingrid Ryberg, The Power of Vulnerability: Mobilizing Affect in Feminist, Queer and Anti-Racist Futures is just out with Manchester Univerity Press, on open access. The volume includes my piece, “Spectacularly wounded: White male vulnerability as heterosexual fantasy” looking into, yes, the Fifty Shades books. And here’s the book description:
The power of vulnerability interrogates the new language of vulnerability that has emerged in feminist, queer and anti-racist debates about the production, use and meanings of media. The book investigates the historical legacies and contemporary forms and effects of this language. In today’s media culture, traumatic first-person or group narratives have popular currency, mobilising affect from compassion to rage to gain cultural visibility and political advantage. In this context, vulnerability becomes a kind of capital, a resource or an asset that can and has been appropriated for various groups and purposes in public discourses, activism as well as cultural institutions. Thus, politics of representation translates into politics of affect, and the question about whose vulnerability counts as socially and culturally legible and acknowledged. The contributors of the book examine how vulnerability has become a battleground; how affect and vulnerability have turned into a politicised language for not only addressing but also obscuring asymmetries of power; and how media activism and state policies address so-called vulnerable groups. While the contributors investigate the political potential as well as the constraints of vulnerability for feminist, queer and antiracist criticism, they also focus on the forms of agency and participation vulnerability can offer.
Our article, “Littles: Affects and Aesthetics in Sexual Age-Play“, co-authored together with the fantastic Katrin Tiidenberg, is just out, on open access, with Sexuality & Culture. And here’s the abstract:
This article explores the experiences and practices of self-identifying female sexual age-players. Based on interviews and observation of the age players’ blogged content, the article suggests that, rather than being fixed in one single position, our study participants move between a range of roles varying across their different scenes. In examining accounts of sexual play, we argue that the notion of play characterizes not only their specific routines of sexual “scening” but also sexual routines, experimentations, and experiences more expansively. Further, we argue that a focus on play as exploration of corporeal possibilities allows for conceptualizing sexual preferences and practices, such as age-play, as irreducible to distinct categories of sexual identity. The notion of play makes it possible to consider sexuality in terms of transformations in affective intensities and attachments, without pigeonholing various preferences, or acts, within a taxonomy of sexual identities. In doing so, it offers an alternative to the still prevalent categorical conceptualizations of sexuality that stigmatize people’s lived experiences and diminish the explanatory power of scholarly and therapeutic narratives about human sexuality.
In case you happen to be around in Aarhus late this month, please join us for the Affects, Interfaces, Events conference August 29-30. According to organizers’ overall rationale, “The proliferation of digital and interactive technologies in most aspects of our daily lives produces an intensified distribution of affect. Existential conditions change through affective interface foldings of bodies, subjectivities and technologies. The conference Affects, Interfaces, Events investigates how affective interface events – on a micro- and macro-level – reinforce or challenge these changes. A major concern of the conference is to consider interface modulations on an affective, social, aesthetic, and political level.” In addition to keynotes from Erin Manning, Brian Massumi, Andrew Murphie and myself, the programme has an exciting selection of panel sessions. Looking forward.
Co-authored with the fabulous Jenny Sundén, our article, Shameless Hags and Tolerance Whores: Feminist Resistance and the Affective Circuits of Online Hate, is freshly out as part of a forthcoming Feminist Media Studies special issue on online misogyny. And, what’s more, it’s open access! Here’s the abstract:
This article explores shamelessness as a feminist tactic of resistance to online misogyny, hate and shaming within a Nordic context. In our Swedish examples, this involves affective reclaiming of the term “hagga” (hag), which has come to embody shameless femininity and feminist solidarity, as well as the Facebook event “Skamlös utsläckning” (shameless extinction), which extends the solidarity or the hag to a collective of non-men. Our Finnish examples revolve around appropriating derisive terms used of women defending multiculturalism and countering the current rise of nationalist anti-immigration policy and activism across Web platforms, such as “kukkahattutäti” (aunt with a flower hat) and “suvakkihuora” (“overtly tolerant whore”). Drawing on Facebook posts, blogs and discussion forums, the article conceptualizes the affective dynamics and intersectional nature of online hate against women and other others. More specifically, we examine the dynamics of shaming and the possibilities of shamelessness as a feminist tactic of resistance. Since online humor often targets women, racial others and queers, the models of resistance that this article uncovers add a new stitch to its memetic logics. We propose that a networked politics of reclaiming is taking shape, one using collective imagination and wit to refuel feminist communities.
For most of the past week spent at the MAGIS FilmForum Spring School (section: Porn Studies – Pornography. Margins and Extremes) I have, besides learning new things and meeting excellent people, spent marvelling at this cover design for my book, Many Splendored Things, forthcoming from Goldsmiths Press next Autumn. The final subtitle is Thinking Sex and Play, I am doing the very last fixes and this, indeed, is the cover. A friend said that it looks like subspace feels, which I figure is the highest of compliments to pay a designer asked to translate some of the intensity and fleshy pleasure of sexual play into visual format. As someone who all too keenly judges books by their covers, I find this very gratifying.
CFP is now out for the Affective Politics of Social Media Symposium held at University of Turku, Finland, October 12-13 2017. Welcome, you all!
Confirmed keynote speakers: Crystal Abidin (Jönköping University / Curtin University), Kath Albury (Swinburne University of Technology), Nancy Baym (Microsoft Research New England), Ken Hillis (UNC Chapel Hill), Ben Light (University of Salford) and Jenny Sundén (Södertörn University).
From clickbaits to fake news, heated Facebook exchanges, viral Twitter messages and Tinder swipes, the landscape of social media is rife with affective intensities of varying speeds and lengths. Affect, as the capacity to relate, impress and be impressed, creates dynamic connections between human and nonhuman bodies. Zooming in on these connections, their intensities, rhythms, and trajectories in the context of networked communications, Affective Politics of Social Media asks how affect circulates, generates value, fuels political action, feeds conflict and reconfigures the categories of gender, sexuality and race through and across social media platforms.
Multiple analytical avenues have already been laid out for doing this, from Jodi Dean’s examination of affect and drive to Tarleton Gillespie’s analysis of the politics of platforms, Adi Kuntsman’s examination of “webs of hate” and Zizi Papacharissi’s discussion of affective publics as contagious articulations of feeling that bring forth more or less temporary sense of community and connection. Building on a growing body of work on “networked affect”, this two-day symposium features keynotes exploring the affective labour of social media influencers, the automation and quantification of the intimate, the netiquette of hook-up apps and the dynamics of music stardom and fandom, and invites contributions connected to affect and social media in relation to
• collective action and political activism
• sexual cultures and practices
• harassment, hate and resistance
• affective rhythms, intensities and investments
• popular culture and everyday life
In order to facilitate participation, the symposium has no registration fee but pre-registrations are required. To propose a paper, please send a 300-word abstract and short bio (max. 100 words) to email@example.com by June 9, 2017. Registrations will be made available in August 2017.
Organized by Department of Media Studies, IIPC, the International Institute for Popular Culture & DIGIN, Research Network on Digital Interaction at University of Turku and the Department of Gender Studies at Åbo Akademi University
Conference website: https://affectivesome.wordpress.com/
Organizing group: Susanna Paasonen, Kaisu Hynnä, Katariina Kyrölä, Mari Lehto, Mari Pajala & Valo Vähäpassi