Affective Politics & the Imagination of Everyday Resistance

Recently, “affect” has been a key concept for research in politics, aesthetics, marketing, neuroscience, and sociology. This course seeks to draw together some of the more innovative work within this “affective turn,” focusing on the political composition of subjectivities, especially via cultural practices.  After a survey of some conceptual foundations of affectivity, we explore its relation to group-formation, labor, technology, value, passions (fear, panic, trauma, joy, love), actions, and creativity. The course will feature guest speakers engaged in affective politics and involve group discussions on the affective nature of practices participants are involved in.

Bluestockings • 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington, NYC •
$35 – 55 – 75 sliding scale
Wednesdays 4– 6 PM from July 15th – August 26th, 2009
Instructors: Jack Z. Bratich & Stevphen Shukaitis

Readings are divided into core and supplementary readings. The core readings (noted with a star *, approximately 50 pages) will be used to form the basis of discussion. Please make sure that you have read the core readings before the meeting for that week Supplementary readings are materials arguments will be drawn from and would be useful for pursuing particular topics further but are not necessary to read before discussion. Reading core materials is highly encouraged and will greatly aid in having engaging and interesting discussions.

Week 1: Intro: Affective Foundations & Subjectivity
* Emma Dowling, Rodrigo Nunes and Ben Trott (2007) “Immaterial and Affective Labor: Explored,” ephemera: theory & politics in organization Volume 7 Number 1: 1-7.
*Free Association (2006) “What is a life?” Available at
*Seigworth, Gregory and Melissa Gregg (forthcoming) ‘An Inventory of Shimmers’: Affect, for Now.
Massumi, Brian (2002) “Autonomy of Affect,” Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect Sensation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Clough, Patricia Ticineto with Jean Halley, Eds. (2007) “Introduction,” The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Brennan, Teresa (2004) “Introduction” Transmission of Affect. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Spinoza, Baruch (1677) “Of Human Bondage, or the Strength of the Affects.”

Week 2: Labor & Value
*Affective capitalism:
*Ahmed, Sara (2004) “Affective Economies” Social Text 22: 2
*Negri, Antonio (1999) “Value and Affect,” boundary 2 Volume 26 Number 2: 77-88.
Hardt, Michael (1999) “Affective Labor,” boundary 2 26:2: 89-100.
Mezzadra, Sandro. “Taking Care: Migration and the Political Economy of Affective Labor.”
Prada, Juan Martin. “Affective Link. Policies of affectivity, aesthetics of biopower.”
Prada, Juan Martin. “Economies of Affectivity.”

Week 3: Affect & Technology
*Pybus, Jennifer. “Affect and Subjectivity: A case study of Neopets.”
*Berardi, Franco “Bifo” (2009) “Info-labor and precarization,” Precarious Rhapsody: Semiocapitalism and the pathologies of post-alpha generation. London/New York: Minor Compositions: 30-55.
*Arvidsson, Adam (2006). “Quality Singles: internet dating and the work of fantasy,” New Media and Society 8:4.
Guattari, Félix. “Cinema of Desire,” Soft Subversions. New York: Semiotext(e)
Clough, Patricia Ticineto (2001) Autoaffection: Unconscious Thought in the Age of Teletechnology. Minneapolis, MI: University of Minnesota Press.

Week 4: Affect & Sad Passions
*Brown, Wendy (1999) “Resisting Left Melancholy” boundary 2 26:3.
*Marazzi, Christian. “Who Killed God Pan?” ephemera: theory & politics in organization Volume 4 Number 3: 181-186.
*Feel Tank Chicago:
*Berardi, Franco “Bifo” (2008) Félix Guattari: Thought, Friendship, and Visionary Cartography. Trans. Giuseppina Mecchia. New York: Palgrave.
Massumi, Brian (2005) “Fear (The Spectrum Said).” Positions 13:1.
Dalla Costa, Maria (2002) “Door to the Garden.”
Berardi, Franco “Bifo” (2009) “Dark Desires,” Precarious Rhapsody: Semiocapitalism and the pathologies of post-alpha generation. London/New York: Minor Compositions: 30-55.

Week 5: Affect & Joyful Passions
*Hardt, Michael (1993) “Spinozian Practice: Affirmation and Joy,” Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.
*Shukaitis, Stevphen  (2007) “Affective Composition and Aesthetics: On Dissolving the Audience and Facilitating the Mob,” Journal of Aesthetics & Protest.
*Curious George Brigade (2003) “Beyond Duty and Joy,” Anarchy in the Age of Dinosaurs. New York: CrimethInc Ex-Workers Collective: 33-40.
Weinstone, Ann (2004) Avatar Bodies: A Tantra for Posthumanism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Berardi, Franco “Bifo” (2009) “77: The Year of Premonition,” Precarious Rhapsody: Semiocapitalism and the pathologies of post-alpha generation. London/New York: Minor Compositions: 30-55.

Week 6:  Affect, Creativity & Action
*Brennan, Teresa (2004) “Transmission in Groups” Transmission of Affect. Ithaca: Cornell University.
*Precarias a la Deriva (2006) “A Very Careful Strike – Four Hypotheses,” the commoner Number 11: 33-45.
*Lohmann, Peter and Steyaert, Chris (2006) “In the mean time: Vitalism, Affects, and Metamorphosis in Organizational Change,” Deleuze and the Social. Eds. Martin Fuglsang and Bent Meier Sorenson. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Grindon, Gavin (2007) “The Breath of the Possible,” Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations // Collective Theorization. Ed. Stevphen Shukaitis and David Graeber with Erika Biddle. Oakland, CA: AK Press: 94-107.

Week 7: Affective Resistance in the Open
*Bratich, Jack. “Affective Convergence in Reality Television: A Case Study in Divergence Culture ”
*Genosko, Gary. “Transversality,” Félix Guattari: An Aberrant Introduction. London: Continuum Press.
Foucault, Michel (1997) “What is Revolution?” The Politics of Truth. New York Semiotext(e).
Bratich, Jack (2009) “Subjectivity Rosa: Undercurrent Affairs,” Fifth Estate Volume 44 Number 1.
Agamben, Giorgio (2004) The Open: Man and Animal. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Additional readings:
“Immaterial and Affective Labor: Explored,” ephemera: theory & politics in organization Volume 7 Number 1.
Abel, Marco (2009) Violent Affect: Literature, Cinema and Critique After Representation. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Ahmed, Sara (2004) The Cultural Politics of Emotion. New York: Routledge.
Berlant, L., Najafi, S., & Serlin, D. (2008). “The Broken Circuit: an Interview with Lauren Berlant,” Cabinet Magazine Issue 31: Shame, 85.
Bennett, Jill (2005) Empathic Vision: Affect, Trauma, and Contemporary Art. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Best, Susan (2007) “Rethinking Visual Pleasure, Aesthetics and Affect,” Theory & Psychology Vol. 17(4): 505–514.
Blackman, Lisa. (2008) “Affect, Relationality and the `Problem of Personality’,” Theory, Culture & Society. Vol. 25 (1): 23–47.
Bratich, Jack Z. (2008) Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture. Binghamton: SUNY Press.
Brook, Brook (2009) “The Alienated Heart: Hochschild’s ‘emotional labor’ thesis and the anticapitalist politics of alienation,” Capital & Class 98: 7-31.
Cote, Mark & Jennifer Pybus (2007) “Learning to Immaterial Labor 2.0: Myspace & Social Networks,” ephemera: theory & politics in organization Volume 7 Number 1.
Deleuze, Gilles. Lecture Transcripts on Spinoza’s Concept of Affect.
Dowling, Emma (2007) “Producing the Dining Experience: Measure, Subjectivity and the Affective Worker,” ephemera: theory & politics in organization Volume 7 Number 1.
Duncombe, Stephen (2007) Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy. New York: New Press.
Federici, Silvia (2004) Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia.
Federici, Silvia (2008) “Precarious Labor: A Feminist Viewpoint,” In The Middle of a Whirlwind: 2008 Convention Protests, Movement, and Movement. Los Angeles: Journal of Aesthetics & Protest Press. Available at
Gibbs, Anna (2002) “Disaffected,” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies. 16: 3.
Gorton, Kristyn (2007) “Theorizing emotion and affect: Feminist engagements,” Feminist Theory Vol. 8(3): 333–348.
Gorton, Kristyn (2007a) Psychoanalysis and the Portrayal of Desire in Twentieth-Century Fiction: A Feminist Critique. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen.
Gregg, Melissa (2006) Cultural Studies’ Affective Voices. New York: Palgrave.
Grossberg, Lawrence (1992) “Ideology and Affective Epidemics,” We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Popular Conservatism and Postmodern Culture. London: Routledge.
Guattari, Félix (1996) “Ritornellos and Existential Affects,” The Guattari Reader. London: Blackwell: 158-171.
Hansen, Mark (2004) “The Affect-Body,” New philosophy for New Media. Cambridge: MIT.
Hansen, Mark (2004) “The Time of Affect, or Bearing Witness to Life,” Critical Inquiry 30: 584-626.
Hochschild, Arlie (1983) The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Hold, Christian, Ed. (2009) Emotional Cartography: Technologies of the Self.
Iedema, Rick, Carl Rhodes and Hermine Scheeres. (2006) “Surveillance, Resistance, Observance: Exploring the Teleo-affective Volatility of Workplace Interaction,” Organization Studies.
Jarrett, Kylie (2003) “Labor of Love: An archaeology of affect as power in e-commerce,” Journal of Sociology 39:4, 2003.
Katsiaficas, George (2001) The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life. New Jersey: Humanities Press.
Koivunen, Anu & Susanna Paasonen, Eds. (2000) Conference proceedings for “Affective encounters: rethinking embodiment in feminist media studies.” University of Turku, Series A, N:o 49.
M/C Journal issue on affect (2005) Volume 8 Issue 6.
Negri, Antonio (1999) Insurgencies: Constituent Power and the Modern State. Trans. Maurizio Boscagli. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Negri, Antonio (2003) “Alma Venus: Love,” Time for Revolution. Trans. Matteo Mandarini. London: Continuum.
Panksepp, Jaak (1998) Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions. New York: Oxford University Press
Protevi, John (2009) Draft article for Theory & Event special issue on “Deleuze and War.”
Pruchnic, Jeff (2008) “The Invisible Gland: Affect and Political Economy,” Criticism Volume 50, Number 1: 160-175.
Redding, Paul (1999) The Logic of Affect. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
Stoler, Ann Laura. “Affective States” Companion to the Anthropology of Politics. Ed. David Nugent and Joan Vincent. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Team Colors Collective (2009) “To Show the Fire and the Tenderness.”
Terranova, Tiziana (2004) “Communication Biopower,” Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age. London: Pluto Press.
Thoburn, Nicholas (2007) “Patterns of Production: Cultural Studies after Hegemony,” Theory, Culture & Society. Vol. 24(3): 79–94.
Thrift, Nigel (2004) “Intensities of feeling: towards a spatial politics of affect,” Geografiska Annaler, Series B, 86, 57-78.
Thrift, Nigel (2007) Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect. London: Routledge
Titchener, E.B. (1895) “Affective Memory,” Philosophical Review. Volume 4 Number 1: 65-76.
Toscano, Alberto (2007) “Vital Strategies: Maurizio Lazzarato and the Metaphysics of Contemporary Capitalism,” Theory, Culture & Society.Vol. 24(6): 71–91.
Vaneigem, Raoul (1994 [1967]) Revolution of Everyday Life. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. London: Rebel Press.
Vaneigem, Raoul (1994) The Movement of the Free Spirit. Trans. Randall Cherry and Ian Patterson. New York: Zone Books.
Vaneigem, Raoul (n.d.) Collection of Desires. Richmond, VA: Paper Street.
Wissinger, Elizabeth (2007) “Modelling a Way of Life: Immaterial and Affective Labour in the Fashion Modelling Industry,” ephemera. volume 7(1): 250-269,