I’m getting my ass kicked. The book about emotions I am reading is kicking my ass. And I also have a class about teaching literature that is kicking my ass. Sure, I could be doing better, but I’m having a hard time concentrating. Anyway, the book I am reading now needs to be broken down, so here goes:

Rei Terada- Feeling in Theory: Emotion after the “Death of the Subject”

Introduction:

Beginning with Jameson’s Postmodernism, Terada illustrates how Jameson, and most people in postmodern society, fails to see emotion; as Jameson states, postmodernism begins the “waning of affect.” In postmodernism, the subject loses its center: there is no subject to have a strong emotion. Terada quotes Manfred frank, who states, “A dead subject emits no more cries of pain.”
(pages 1-2).

However, Terada’s thesis contradicts these views of lost emotions with the death of the subject in postmodernism, stating “it is time to consider the possibility that poststructuralism is directly concerned with emotion. In order for this to be so, emotions would have to be nonsubjective. I will argue that these statements do describe the case. Poststructuralist thought about emotions is hidden in plain sight” (3), and goes on to argue that if there were subjects, emotions would not exist (4).

Terada outlines her terms. Emotion means a psychological, minimally interpretive experience whose physiological aspect is affect—affect: verb (used with object)
1. to act on; produce an effect or change in: Cold weather affected the crops.
2. to impress the mind or move the feelings of: The music affected him deeply.
3. (of pain, disease, etc.) to attack or lay hold of. (Dictionary.com, “affect”)

Feeling (a capacious term) connotes both psychological sensation (affect) and psychological states (emotions).

Passion reflects the difficulty of labeling emotions as passive or active.

Terada focuses on emotion, “constructed in a psychological and unremarkable way” (5). She does not argue against a classic way of seeing emotions, nor does she argue for a fully-present subjectivity, rather the classical way of handling emotion deconstructs the idea of subjectivity. Her “expressive hypothesis” states that emotion requiring a subject creates the illusion of subjectivity “rather than show evidence of it” (11).

That is all I can make of this now… I continue reading…

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