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Workshop “Affect Race Negativity”

23.06.2022 - 24.06.2022

Affect Theory has been criticized for having a race problem (Yao 2021). In the same instance, it has been stated that this problem cannot be resolved by perpetuating a logic of inclusion, but that Black affect is constitutively irresolvable with the armory of theoretical assumptions many thinkers of affect seem to share (Palmer 2021). The study of race, and Blackness in particular, challenges the discipline to account for the making of affectable others (Da Silva 2007) and to reassess political certainties that tend to illegitimately equalize different structures of feeling (Ahmed 2007, 2020). In a reality perforated by racial difference, affect constitutes a substance through which that difference is reproduced and articulated in the most complex ways. White supremacy does not only appear as brute violence (Palmer 2017, Guenther 2019) but can also take on languages of compassion and empathy (Danewid 2017) to maintain and proliferate the racial order. Reaching well beyond a mere diagnosis of the affective life of racism, the analysis and critique of these affective techniques and practices touches upon the production of the human and its limits (Jackson 2020). Therefore, the workshop assembles suggestions for how the study of affect can function as an engagement with the negativity of racial subjection. Not only does this concern the consideration of structures of feeling in which any form of affective reconciliation is precluded. It also requires questioning a naturalized notion of relationality as concept for understanding politics, intimacy, and liberation. The two-day workshop includes paper presentations followed by discussions as well as two panels around these topics. Registered participants will receive a reader with key texts by the speakers to familiarize themselves with the theoretical context of the event.


Thursday, June 23
10:00   Welcome
10:30   Tyrone Palmer: Nothing to Affirm: On Blackness and Affect
11:45   Break
12:00   Xine Yao: Unfeeling and Intimacy: The Racial and Sexual Labour of Sex Work
13:15   Lunch
14:30   Ida Danewid: CLR James and the Anti-politics of Refusal
15:45   Henrike Kohpeiß: Bourgeois Coldness. Affect and Colonial Subjectivity
17:00   Break
17:30   Panel I: Theorizing the Negative: Affect, Violence, Critique
            Tyrone Palmer, Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, Lisa Guenther

Friday, June 24
10:00   Zakiyyah Iman Jackson: Blackness, Perception, and the Non-transferability of the Flesh
11:15   Lisa Guenther: White Feelings and the End of the World as We Know It
12:30   Lunch
13:45   Denise Ferreira da Silva: On Exhaustion: Reading the Psychical Economy
15:00   Break
15:30   Panel II: The Weaponization of Affect: Affectability, Unfeeling, Whiteness
            Denise Ferreira da Silva, Ida Danewid, Xine Yao
17:00   End

Organized by Jan Slaby and Henrike Kohpeiß, Free University Berlin