How to Feel About Affect (23-25 Oct. 2014)

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English Graduate Organization at the University of Florida
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How to Feel About Affect
English Graduate Organization at the University of Florida
23-25 October 2014
Keynote: Jonathan Flatley (Wayne State University)

This conference aims to clarify and enrich the turn to affect studies. Part of the difficulty of theorizing affect has been an apparent inaccessibility, which often lead to emphases on the subject's feelings or autonomic responses. Thus there are uncomfortable spaces between affective criticism on the one hand and concepts of emotion, ideology, material reality, and history on the other. Nevertheless, affect offers interesting new ways of thinking through these categories. Rather than something purely subjective or a kind of repurposing of negative emotions, we think affect demands attention as a kind of (literary) criticism. Put differently, can affect be transformative, as for example when an affective map makes "possible the conversion of a depressive melancholia into a way to be interested in the world" (Flatley)?

Our 14th annual conference seeks to explore whether affect is productively considered nonconscious and autonomic and whether it offers new artistic, cultural, or political prospects. Is affect subjective, or is it something we can historicize, periodize, and orient toward politics? How does affect relate to or differ from emotions, feelings, and types of embodiment in our historical context? How do we historicize the affective turn itself? Can affect provide a hermeneutic for literary criticism? What kind of prospects for cultural and interdisciplinary studies open up in the affective turn?

Possible topics include but are certainly not limited to:
• positive and negative feelings
• happiness and optimism
• depression and pessimism
• loss, trauma, and melancholia
• community and sociability
• affective politics
• art and media
• literature and poetics
• liking and taste
• queer affects
• geopolitical and transnational affects
• the autonomic
• sensoria
• digital affects
• neuroscience and the humanities
• bodies and posthumanism
• creative presentations (fiction, poetry, short film, etc.)

This conference is interdisciplinary; we welcome submissions from a variety of fields. Please send an abstract of up to 250 words for a 20-minute presentation. Please include a few keywords for your presentation, along with your contact information and affiliation. Send abstracts to by August 18, 2014. We will also consider panel proposals. Please submit the abstracts of the panelists along with a rationale and description of what the panel seeks to accomplish. Creative (fiction, poetry, short-films, art, etc.) presentations are welcome as well. Please indicate any A/V requirements (DVD player and data projection available). Authors of accepted papers will be notified by September 15, 2014.