Search results for: the-biopolitics-of-feeling

The Biopolitics of Feeling

Author : Kyla Schuller
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In The Biopolitics of Feeling Kyla Schuller unearths the forgotten, multiethnic sciences of impressibility—the capacity to be transformed by one's environment and experiences—to uncover how biopower developed in the United States. Schuller challenges prevalent interpretations of biopower and literary cultures to reveal how biopower emerged within the discourses and practices of sentimentalism. Through analyses of evolutionary theories, gynecological sciences, abolitionist poetry and other literary texts, feminist tracts, child welfare reforms, and black uplift movements, Schuller excavates a vast apparatus that regulated the capacity of sensory and emotional feeling in an attempt to shape the evolution of the national population. Her historical and theoretical work exposes the overlooked role of sex difference in population management and the optimization of life, illuminating how models of binary sex function as one of the key mechanisms of racializing power. Schuller thereby overturns long-accepted frameworks of the nature of race and sex difference, offers key corrective insights to modern debates surrounding the equation of racism with determinism and the liberatory potential of ideas about the plasticity of the body, and reframes contemporary notions of sentiment, affect, sexuality, evolution, and heredity.

The Biopolitics of Care in Second World War Britain

Author : Kimberly Mair
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During the crisis of the Second World War in Britain, official Air Raid Precautions made the management of daily life a moral obligation of civil defence by introducing new prescriptions for the care of homes, animals, and persons displaced through evacuation. This book examines how the Mass-Observation movement recorded and shaped the logics of care that became central to those daily routines in homes and neighbourhoods. Kimberly Mair looks at how government publicity campaigns communicated new instructions for care formally, while the circulation of wartime rumours negotiated these instructions informally. These rumours, she argues, explicitly repudiated the improper socialization of evacuees and also produced a salient, but contested, image of the host as a good wartime citizen who was impervious to the cultural invasion of the ostensibly 'animalistic', dirty, and destructive house guest. Mair also considers the explicit contestations over the value of the lives of pets, conceived as animals who do not work with animal caregivers whose use of limited provisions or personal sacrifice could then be judged in the context of wartime hardship. Together, formal and informal instructions for caregiving reshaped everyday habits in the war years to an idealized template of the good citizen committed to the war and nation, with Mass-Observation enacting a watchful form of care by surveilling civilian feeling and habit in the process.

Cooling the Tropics

Author : Hi'ilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart
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Beginning in the mid-1800s, Americans hauled frozen pond water, then glacial ice, and then ice machines to Hawaiʻi—all in an effort to reshape the islands in the service of Western pleasure and profit. Marketed as “essential” for white occupants of the nineteenth-century Pacific, ice quickly permeated the foodscape through advancements in freezing and refrigeration technologies. In Cooling the Tropics Hiʻilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart charts the social history of ice in Hawaiʻi to show how the interlinked concepts of freshness and refreshment mark colonial relationships to the tropics. From chilled drinks and sweets to machinery, she shows how ice and refrigeration underpinned settler colonial ideas about race, environment, and the senses. By outlining how ice shaped Hawaiʻi’s food system in accordance with racial and environmental imaginaries, Hobart demonstrates that thermal technologies can—and must—be attended to in struggles for food sovereignty and political self-determination in Hawaiʻi and beyond. Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award Recipient

Feeling Medicine

Author : Kelly Underman
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The emotional and social components of teaching medical students to be good doctors The pelvic exam is considered a fundamental procedure for medical students to learn; it is also often the one of the first times where medical students are required to touch a real human being in a professional manner. In Feeling Medicine, Kelly Underman gives us a look inside these gynecological teaching programs, showing how they embody the tension between scientific thought and human emotion in medical education. Drawing on interviews with medical students, faculty, and the people who use their own bodies to teach this exam, Underman offers the first in-depth examination of this essential, but seldom discussed, aspect of medical education. Through studying, teaching, and learning about the pelvic exam, she contrasts the technical and emotional dimensions of learning to be a physician. Ultimately, Feeling Medicine explores what it means to be a good doctor in the twenty-first century, particularly in an era of corporatized healthcare.

Riot and Rebellion in Mexico

Author : Ana Sabau
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Many scholars assert that Mexico’s complex racial hierarchy, inherited from Spanish colonialism, became obsolete by the turn of the nineteenth century as class-based distinctions became more prominent and a largely mestizo population emerged. But the residues of the colonial caste system did not simply dissolve after Mexico gained independence. Rather, Ana Sabau argues, ever-present fears of racial uprising among elites and authorities led to persistent governmental techniques and ideologies designed to separate and control people based on their perceived racial status, as well as to the implementation of projects for development in fringe areas of the country. Riot and Rebellion in Mexico traces this race-based narrative through three historical flashpoints: the Bajío riots, the Haitian Revolution, and the Yucatan’s caste war. Sabau shows how rebellions were treated as racially motivated events rather than political acts and how the racialization of popular and indigenous sectors coincided with the construction of “whiteness” in Mexico. Drawing on diverse primary sources, Sabau demonstrates how the race war paradigm was mobilized in foreign and domestic affairs and reveals the foundations of a racial state and racially stratified society that persist today.


Author : Xine Yao
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In Disaffected Xine Yao explores the racial and sexual politics of unfeeling—affects that are not recognized as feeling—as a means of survival and refusal in nineteenth-century America. She positions unfeeling beyond sentimentalism's paradigm of universal feeling. Yao traces how works by Herman Melville, Martin R. Delany, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Sui Sin Far engaged major sociopolitical issues in ways that resisted the weaponization of white sentimentalism against the lives of people of color. Exploring variously pathologized, racialized, queer, and gendered affective modes like unsympathetic Blackness, queer female frigidity, and Oriental inscrutability, these authors departed from the values that undergird the politics of recognition and the liberal project of inclusion. By theorizing feeling otherwise as an antisocial affect, form of dissent, and mode of care, Yao suggests that unfeeling can serve as a contemporary political strategy for people of color to survive in the face of continuing racism and white fragility. Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award recipient

Arranging Grief

Author : Dana Luciano
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2008 Winner, MLA First Book Prize Charting the proliferation of forms of mourning and memorial across a century increasingly concerned with their historical and temporal significance, Arranging Grief offers an innovative new view of the aesthetic, social, and political implications of emotion. Dana Luciano argues that the cultural plotting of grief provides a distinctive insight into the nineteenth-century American temporal imaginary, since grief both underwrote the social arrangements that supported the nation’s standard chronologies and sponsored other ways of advancing history. Nineteenth-century appeals to grief, as Luciano demonstrates, diffused modes of “sacred time” across both religious and ostensibly secular frameworks, at once authorizing and unsettling established schemes of connection to the past and the future. Examining mourning manuals, sermons, memorial tracts, poetry, and fiction by Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Apess, James Fenimore Cooper, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Susan Warner, Harriet E. Wilson, Herman Melville, Frances E. W. Harper, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Keckley, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, Luciano illustrates the ways that grief coupled the affective body to time. Drawing on formalist, Foucauldian, and psychoanalytic criticism, Arranging Grief shows how literary engagements with grief put forth ways of challenging deep-seated cultural assumptions about history, progress, bodies, and behaviors.

American Literature in Transition 1820 1860 Volume 2

Author : Justine S. Murison
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The essays in American Literature in Transition, 1820-1860 offer a new approach to the antebellum era, one that frames the age not merely as the precursor to the Civil War but as indispensable for understanding present crises around such issues as race, imperialism, climate change, and the role of literature in American society. The essays make visible and usable the period's fecund imagined futures, futures that certainly included disunion but not only disunion. Tracing the historical contexts, literary forms and formats, global coordinates, and present reverberations of antebellum literature and culture, the essays in this volume build on existing scholarship while indicating exciting new avenues for research and teaching. Taken together, the essays in this volume make this era's literature relevant for a new generation of students and scholars.

What It Feels Like

Author : Stephanie R. Larson
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What It Feels Like interrogates an underexamined reason for our failure to abolish rape in the United States: the way we communicate about it. Using affective and feminist materialist approaches to rhetorical criticism, Stephanie Larson examines how discourses about rape and sexual assault rely on strategies of containment, denying the felt experiences of victims and ultimately stalling broader claims for justice. Investigating anti-pornography debates from the 1980s, Violence Against Women Act advocacy materials, sexual assault forensic kits, public performances, and the #MeToo movement, Larson reveals how our language privileges male perspectives and, more deeply, how it is shaped by systems of power—patriarchy, white supremacy, ableism, and heteronormativity. Interrogating how these systems work to propagate masculine commitments to “science” and “hard evidence,” Larson finds that US culture holds a general mistrust of testimony by women, stereotyping it as “emotional.” But she also gives us hope for change, arguing that testimonies grounded in the bodily, material expression of violation are necessary for giving voice to victims of sexual violence and presenting, accurately, the scale of these crimes. Larson makes a case for visceral rhetorics, theorizing them as powerful forms of communication and persuasion. Demonstrating the communicative power of bodily feeling, Larson challenges the long-held commitment to detached, distant, rationalized discourses of sexual harassment and rape. Timely and poignant, the book offers a much-needed corrective to our legal and political discourses.

The Garden Politic

Author : Mary Kuhn
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How worldwide plant circulation and new botanical ideas enabled Americans to radically re-envision politics and society The Garden Politic argues that botanical practices and discourses helped nineteenth-century Americans engage pressing questions of race, gender, settler colonialism, and liberal subjectivity. In the early republic, ideas of biotic distinctiveness helped fuel narratives of American exceptionalism. By the nineteenth century, however, these ideas and narratives were unsettled by the unprecedented scale at which the United States and European empires prospected for valuable plants and exchanged them across the globe. Drawing on ecocriticism, New Materialism, environmental history, and the history of science—and crossing disciplinary and national boundaries—The Garden Politic shows how new ideas about cultivation and plant life could be mobilized to divergent political and social ends. Reading the work of influential nineteenth-century authors from a botanical perspective, Mary Kuhn recovers how domestic political issues were entangled with the global circulation and science of plants. The diversity of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s own gardens contributed to the evolution of her racial politics and abolitionist strategies. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s struggles in his garden inspired him to write stories in which plants defy human efforts to impose order. Radical scientific ideas about plant intelligence and sociality prompted Emily Dickinson to imagine a human polity that embraces kinship with the natural world. Yet other writers, including Frederick Douglass, cautioned that the most prominent political context for plants remained plantation slavery. The Garden Politic reveals how the nineteenth century’s extractive political economy of plants contains both the roots of our contemporary environmental crisis and the seeds of alternative political visions.