#2 'Affective and Affected Bodies' - 17/10/17



For our second session (Tuesday 17th October), we will be reading the first chapter of Sara Ahmed's The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2004), entitled 'The Contingency of Pain.' A PDF is accessible via Google Drive here.

[Seconding reading: Susan Sontag's 'Photojournalism - social aspects' from Regarding the Pain of Others (2003). A PDF is accessible via Google Drive here].

In 'The Contingency of Pain,' Ahmed explores how bodies register pain psycho-somatically as well as through discourse. She is especially interested in how we discourse pain (i.e. by attaching pain to particular objects or by narrating the arrival of pain) in order to form our bodies as 'perceiving surface[s]' (Ahmed, 26) and instantiate our being in-the-world.

In 'Photojournalism - social aspects' (2003), Sontag shares with Ahmed an interest in 'the sociality of pain' (Ahmed, 28); both are concerned with the act of witnessing. In striking semblance with the title of Sontag's monograph, Ahmed asks "What about the pain of others? [...] [H]ow am I affected by pain when I am faced by another’s pain? Because we don’t inhabit her body, does that mean that her pain has nothing to do with us?" (Ahmed, 29). We hope to explore some of these questions in relation to the two texts during our next session.

Join us at the LHRI, 5pm-6:30pm. All welcome!

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