Sedgwick 2003

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Sedgwick, Eve. Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Durham: Duke UP, 2003.

this is "a project to explore promising tools and techniques for nondualistic thought and pedagogy" (1)

"At best, I’d hope for this book to prompt recognition in some of the many people who suc- cessfully work in such ways; and where some approaches may be new or unarticulated, a sense of possibility. The ideal I’m envisioning here is a mind receptive to thoughts, able to nurture and connect them, and susceptible to happiness in their entertainment." (1)

"I have tried in this project to explore some ways around the topos of depth or hiddenness, typi- cally followed by a drama of exposure, that has been such a staple of critical work of the past four decades. Beneath and behind are hard enough to let go of; what has been even more difficult is to get a little distance from beyond, in particular the bossy gesture of ‘‘calling for’’ an imminently perfected critical or revolutionary practice that one can oneself only adumbrate." (8)

"Beside is an interesting preposition also because there’s nothing very dual- istic about it; a number of elements may lie alongside one another, though not an infinity of them. Beside permits a spacious agnosticism about sev- eral of the linear logics that enforce dualistic thinking: noncontradiction or the law of the excluded middle, cause versus effect, subject versus ob- ject. Its interest does not, however, depend on a fantasy of metonymically egalitarian or even pacific relations, as any child knows who’s shared a bed with siblings. Beside comprises a wide range of desiring, identifying, rep- resenting, repelling, paralleling, differentiating, rivaling, leaning, twisting, mimicking, withdrawing, attracting, aggressing, warping, and other rela- tions." (8)

Renu Bora on texture: "to perceive texture is always, immediately, and de facto to be immersed in a field of active narrative hypothesizing, testing, and re- understanding of how physical properties act and are acted upon over time. To perceive texture is never only to ask or know What is it like? nor even just How does it impinge on me? Textural perception always explores two other questions as well: How did it get that way? and What could I do with it?" (13)

" to perceive texture is to know or hypothesize whether a thing will be easy or hard, safe or dangerous to grasp, to stack, to fold, to shred, to climb on, to stretch, to slide, to soak. Even more immediately than other perceptual systems, it seems, the sense of touch makes nonsense out of any dualistic understanding of agency and passivity; to touch is always already to reach out, to fondle, to heft, to tap, or to enfold, and always also to under- stand other people or natural forces as having effectually done so before oneself, if only in the making of the textured object." (14)

texxture: "Texxture is the kind of texture that is dense with offered information about how, substantively, historically, materially, it came into being. A brick or a metal- work pot that still bears the scars and uneven sheen of its making would exemplify texxture in this sense. But there is also the texture—one x this time—that defiantly or even invisibly blocks or refuses such information" (14)

"texture seems like a promising level of attention for shifting the emphasis of some interdisciplinary conversations away from the recent fixation on epistemology (which suggests that performativity/ performance can show us whether or not there are essential truths and how we could, or why we can’t, know them) by asking new questions about phe- nomenology and affect (what motivates performativity and performance, for example, and what individual and collective effects are mobilized in their execution?)." (17)

notion of "drives" has obscured; turn instead to "affect"

"This freedom of affects also gives them a structural potential not en- joyed by the drive system: in contrast to the instrumentality of drives and their direct orientation toward an aim different from themselves, the affects can be autotelic" (19)

"If texture and affect, touching and feeling seem to belong together, then, it is not because they share a particular delicacy of scale, such as would nec- essarily call for ‘‘close reading’’ or ‘‘thick description.’’ What they have in common is that at whatever scale they are attended to, both are irreducibly phe- nomenological. To describe them primarily in terms of structure is always a qualitative misrepresentation. Attending to psychology and materiality at the level of affect and texture is also to enter a conceptual realm that is not shaped by lack nor by commonsensical dualities of subject versus object or of means versus ends." (21)

"In writing this book I’ve continually felt pressed against the limits of my stupidity, even as I’ve felt the promising closeness of transmissible gifts." (24)

Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading, or, You're So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay is About You

"Is a particular piece of knowledge true, and how can we know? to the further questions: What does knowledge do—the pursuit of it, the having and exposing of it, the receiving again of knowl- edge of what one already knows? How, in short, is knowledge performative, and how best does one move among its causes and effects?" (124)

"it is possible that the very productive critical habits embodied in what Paul Ricoeur memorably called the ‘‘hermeneutics of suspicion’’—wide- spread critical habits indeed, perhaps by now nearly synonymous with criticism itself—may have had an unintentionally stultifying side effect: they may have made it less rather than more possible to unpack the local, contingent relations between any given piece of knowledge and its narra- tive/epistemological entailments for the seeker, knower, or teller." (124)

hermeneutics of suspicion

"it seems to me a great loss when paranoid inquiry comes to seem en- tirely coextensive with critical theoretical inquiry rather than being viewed as one kind of cognitive/affective theoretical practice among other, alter- native kinds." (126)

history of paranoia as a method

"I am saying that the main reasons for questioning paranoid practices are other than the possibility that their suspicions can be delusional or simply wrong. Concomitantly, some of the main reasons for practicing paranoid strategies may be other than the possibility that they offer unique access to true knowledge. They represent a way, among other ways, of seeking, finding, and organizing knowledge. Paranoia knows some things well and others poorly." (130)