Papers invited for SPA 2011 panel on affect and modernity

Proposed Panel: Designing for Diagnosis and Affect: Modernity and the Future of Feeling

This panel will theorize the unique interplays of affect and temporality within the expert and knowledge epicenters of late modern life. The organizers, Noelle Molé, Phd (Princeton) and Mark Robinson (Princeton) invite papers that explore these and related themes for a panel at the Society for Psychological Anthropology’ conference in Santa Monica, CA during the dates of March 31-April 3, 2011.

Please submit abstracts to nmole@princeton.edu by Tuesday, November 30, 2010.

Possible topics include the following:

– Political mobilization of of affect for social movements, policy, elections, etc
-The affective lives of emergent diagnosis or treatments or promises thereof
– Psychiatric knowledge and affective disorders
– Collaborations between pharmaceutical corporations and non-corporate actors
– Fear and Longing in a transformed consumer marketplace

Of late, affect has enjoyed a scholarly renaissance. Psychological anthropology’s invitation to think of affect as so much more than a phenomenon of the individual – has proven quite useful. Yet, how might affect reveal something about modernity’s institutions and their participants? This panel focuses on how various kinds of institutions—workplaces, universities, labs, states, hospitals—craft, curtail and codify knowledge and which in turn become manifest as forms of affect.  Hope, apprehension, compassion, among other kinds, are appended to or emerge from institutional knowledge on security and risk, disease and its origins, aptitude and skill. Moreover, these projects are embedded within broader changes underway that characterize late modernity: neoliberalization, notions of medical and scientific innovation and technology, human rights, bioethics. For example, how might nostalgia for safeguarded workplaces contribute to apprehension, vigilance, and paranoia among workers made precarious through global and economic transformation?  How does the growing privatization of biomedical research at the university impact the moral meanings accorded to various kinds of knowledge? How are hope and fear configured in the new innovation-focused university? Interestingly, such cases hinge upon a temporal dynamic: for the former, the longing for the past charges certain workplace practices with danger and for the latter, affect becomes  the means and the product of promises for a scientifically and medically enhanced future – enabled through a more efficient and enterprising university.

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