DEADLINE EXTENDED: Emotions and the Arts

deadline for submissions: 
February 29, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Binghamton University

Scholars across disciplines have long contended with the generative potentials and the deficiencies of affect and emotions like sorrow, melancholy, compassion, grief, sympathy, and happiness. Judith Butler has shown how feelings of loss and acts of mourning are political acts of subjectivity, of rendering a life grievable or forgotten. Sara Ahmed speaks about the promise of happiness that obscures unhappy hierarchies in the world around us, and calls for a killjoy politics. Lauren Berlant tells us that optimism is not just an emotion, but a cruel relation we have with our socio-economic forces. These ideas, in addition to dismantling the hierarchical binary between emotions and reason, have also brought to attention the hierarchical construction of ‘cultivated’, ‘elevated’ emotions as opposed to ‘lower’, ‘weaker’ emotions (Ahmed). These feminist and anti-racist engagements with affect and emotions are particularly important to pay attention to in this global moment of rise in anti-intellectualism, neocolonial occupations and strengthening authoritarian regimes.

We invite all artists, activists, and the academic community to join this continuing conversation. We turn to literature to both celebrate it as an emotive, expressive, generative artform, and also to find meaningful ways to make visible the important work of emotions as socio-cultural and political practice.

We invite participants to address questions including but not limited to:
●How can we read intentional political acts and their relations to emotions?
●How and to what end does art evoke an emotional response from its audience?
●What are the limitations of turning to affect or emotions in moments of material dispossession?
●What are the limits to considering emotions as a universal heuristic?
●What are the affordances and limitations of emotions with regard to building solidarity against oppressive power structures?

We invite scholars (including undergraduates) from all disciplines, along with artists and activists to send their abstracts of no more than 250 words to by January 31, 2024.
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