In essays that show how her groundbreaking work in queer theory has developed into a deep interest in affect, Sedgwick offers what she calls "tools and techniques for nondualistic thought," in the process touching and transforming such theoretical discourses as psychoanalysis, speech-act theory, Western Buddhism, and the Foucauldian "hermeneutics of suspicion. Austin, Judith Butler, the psychologist Silvan Tomkins and others—emotion in many forms. What links the work of teaching to the experience of illness? How can shame become an engine for queer politics, performance, and pleasure?
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In essays that show how her groundbreaking work in queer theory has developed into a deep interest in affect, Sedgwick offers what she calls "tools and techniques for nondualistic thought," in the process touching and transforming such theoretical discourses as psychoanalysis, speech-act theory, Western Buddhism, and the Foucauldian "hermeneutics of suspicion. Austin, Judith Butler, the psychologist Silvan Tomkins and others—emotion in many forms.
What links the work of teaching to the experience of illness? How can shame become an engine for queer politics, performance, and pleasure?
Is sexuality more like an affect or a drive? Is paranoia the only realistic epistemology for modern intellectuals? Any critic who so successfully challenges the fundamental terms of the discipline, and opens up new subjects for others to write and publish about, deserves fame and distinction. I think we need her writing more than ever. Sedgwick, a queer-identified straight academic, is a challenging, truly original thinker.
Her erudition, brilliance, passion, and unusual combination of interests thrill. Literary scholars and professors of education, put your seatbelts on, for Sedgwick certainly takes you on an interesting ride. She once again makes a significant contribution to not just one but many intersecting fields-literary criticism, education, queer theory, cultural studies, and autobiography. If scholars are not yet in love with Eve, they will be after reading this book.
Hall, Choice "This is sobering reading at the same time as it is motivational for anyone involved in scholarly pursuits.
Sedgwick sheds light on the wide range of sensations the vocation involves, including moments of frustration, disillusion, anger, and joy. Of the many insights and fronts for action suggested by this book, the one I will take most to heart is a continuing belief in possibility. This is especially necessary when in more cynical moments a favoured interpretation seems automatic or even mandatory. This is especially necessary when she points, through the lessons of her dying, to our mortalities.
It was then that I felt her touch most powerfully. Whether she set the future on this path or was superbly in tune with the contemporary mood is unclear.
If the performative speech act, with all its relation to norms and laws, is central to the reception of her work in queer theory, then the performativity of knowledge beyond speech—aesthetic, bodily, affective—is its real topic.
With a generosity that is at once self-abnegatingly ascetic, and gorgeously, exhibitionistically bravura, she opens door after door onto undiscovered fields of inquiry. There are too many high points in Touching Feeling for me to list them.
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
D from Yale University. At Cornell she was among the first women to be elected to live at the Telluride House. She held a visiting lectureship at University of California, Berkeley and taught at the School of Criticism and Theory when it was located at Dartmouth College. Sedgwick first presented her particular collection of critical tools and interests in the influential volumes Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire and Epistemology of the Closet
There are three classics in this collection: the absolutely hilarious close reading of Henry James and his perhaps not-so-latent fixation on butt-stuffs, the brilliant and timeless essay on the toxicity of paranoid reading and how it does little besides 1 prove things to paranoid people that they already claim to know and 2 carve out space for modes of thinking that, in turn, create more space instead of narrowing rhetorical options, and lastly, the cybernetic fold essay. In their different ways, they are emotional, healing, and in a way a very cathartic release into a paradigm of queer recovery. I was not as personally drawn to the periperformative essay or the Buddhism pedagogy essay because they seem to both reduce pretty easily into a chance to "carve out space for alternate modes of thinking," which the very presence of the essay itself is demonstrating. Similarly, the Buddhism pedagogical issues has shimmers of insight that extend a little past what I am familiar with but felt that its denouement of once again "carving out a space of unbeing a self" is something already evident in the Pali canon, in Thich Nhat Hanh, in a survey course on Buddhism, etc. The paranoid reading space reminded me a lot of an essay on crypto-currency and the inefficacy of leaks that also appeared in the 36th issue of The Baffler, and for whatever reason, the Buddhism essay reminded me much of the premise of Arrival, where pedagogical methods and various forms of linguistic space allow us to inhabit different ideological paradigms separately. Despite an introduction that desperately contrives to unite these essays into one overall thesis statement and is clunky in its attempt.
Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity
Vudolkis In prose sometimes somber, often high-spirited, and always accessible and moving, Touching Feeling interrogates—through virtuoso readings of works by Henry James, J. Sedgwick, a queer-identified straight academic, rve a challenging, truly original thinker. Space, Politics, Affect N. What can this spool of fibre signify about a book of densely argued, difficult and almost entirely theoretical essays? How can shame become an engine for queer politics, performance, and pleasure?