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ALL THE FEELS:
WHITENESS AND AFFECT IN
DIGITAL PUBLIC DISCOURSES
Adeline Koh
@adelinekoh
ACADEMIC “CIVILITY”?
• Divya Nair
• Saida Grundy
• Melissa Click
• Mirelle Young
CIVILITY
• “toxicity”, “civility/incivility”, “unity”
• affective structure of “civility” in twitter feminism and higher
e...
EMOTIONS AND POWER
• Affect and naturalizing power relations
• Not interested in “truth”, but how emotions create surfaces...
AFFECT STUDIES
• Larry Grossberg: affect as “a structured plane of effects that forms
part of the force relations working ...
AFFECT AND RACE
• “toxic”
• “endless stream of hate”
• “bashing”
• “chastisement”
• “tone policing”
• Women of Color—“toxi...
SARA AHMED
THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF EMOTION
• Affect does not “reside” in a single, given subject/object
• Affect produced...
WHITE NATIONALISM
HATE AS LOVE
The depths of Love are rooted and very
deep in a real White Nationalist’s soul
and spirit, ...
VICTIMS TO
AGGRESSORS
CIRCULATION OF AFFECT:
“Higher love = feminism”
TOXIC WOMEN OF COLOR
RACE AND ETHNICITY
Goldberg: “There’s a shorthand way of talking about online feminist
arguments that...
Surfaces
“Bodies surface by ‘feeling’ the presence of others
as the cause of injury or as a form of intrusion” - Ahmed
fac...
WHITENESS
• Not merely in terms of skin color, but in relation to subjecthood,
agency and institutional power
• Harris: “W...
WHITENESS
BEYOND SKIN COLOR
University of Missouri
DARKENING WHITENESS
MELISSA CLICK
• Whiteness can be darkened when white subjects step outside the
bounds of acceptable, n...
• Click: becomes “sticky” object of white civility
• Conservative argument: “privileged” professor who “abuses” her
studen...
CONCLUSION
AFFECT AND WHITE NARCISSISM
• Click & Women of Color Feminists
• affective subjects of hate drawing imagined co...
All The Feels: Whiteness and Affect In Digital Public Discourses
All The Feels: Whiteness and Affect In Digital Public Discourses
All The Feels: Whiteness and Affect In Digital Public Discourses
All The Feels: Whiteness and Affect In Digital Public Discourses
All The Feels: Whiteness and Affect In Digital Public Discourses
All The Feels: Whiteness and Affect In Digital Public Discourses
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All The Feels: Whiteness and Affect In Digital Public Discourses

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All The Feels: Whiteness and Affect In Digital Public Discourses

  1. 1. ALL THE FEELS: WHITENESS AND AFFECT IN DIGITAL PUBLIC DISCOURSES Adeline Koh @adelinekoh
  2. 2. ACADEMIC “CIVILITY”? • Divya Nair • Saida Grundy • Melissa Click • Mirelle Young
  3. 3. CIVILITY • “toxicity”, “civility/incivility”, “unity” • affective structure of “civility” in twitter feminism and higher education • affective economies (Sara Ahmed) • objects of hate—built upon whiteness of imagined communities • hashtag feminism and Melissa Click case
  4. 4. EMOTIONS AND POWER • Affect and naturalizing power relations • Not interested in “truth”, but how emotions create surfaces of inside/outside communities
  5. 5. AFFECT STUDIES • Larry Grossberg: affect as “a structured plane of effects that forms part of the force relations working to govern people’s conduct.” • Studies on affect and its influence scholarly activist communities- rare • Clare Hemmings: “aspects of narrative meaning otherwise obscured” • Jennifer Harding and E. Deirdre Pribam: “emotion relations, like power relations are productive: they not only subordinate, they create.”
  6. 6. AFFECT AND RACE • “toxic” • “endless stream of hate” • “bashing” • “chastisement” • “tone policing” • Women of Color—“toxic” figures polluting platforms
  7. 7. SARA AHMED THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF EMOTION • Affect does not “reside” in a single, given subject/object • Affect produced as a result of circulation • Marx • M - C - M (Money > Commodity > Money) • D - S - D (Discourse > Signs > Discourse)
  8. 8. WHITE NATIONALISM HATE AS LOVE The depths of Love are rooted and very deep in a real White Nationalist’s soul and spirit, no forms of ‘hate’ could even begin to compare. At least not a hate motivated by ungrounded reasoning. […] No, it is not hate. It is Love.” —Aryan Nations Website
  9. 9. VICTIMS TO AGGRESSORS CIRCULATION OF AFFECT: “Higher love = feminism”
  10. 10. TOXIC WOMEN OF COLOR RACE AND ETHNICITY Goldberg: “There’s a shorthand way of talking about online feminist arguments that pits middle-class white women against all the groups they oppress.” Murphy: “It’s about discouraging critical thinking, humanity, and going straight for the jugular, while onlookers cheer on the virtual blood bath.” Wilde-Blavatsky: “stop bashing white women in the name of Beyonce,” explicitly indicting Mikki Kendall for ‘white woman bashing’; forced into following “a certain kind of left liberal ‘post- colonial’ strain of thought” or be “accused of white imperialism”
  11. 11. Surfaces “Bodies surface by ‘feeling’ the presence of others as the cause of injury or as a form of intrusion” - Ahmed faces—invisible bonds of the whiteness of feminist commun
  12. 12. WHITENESS • Not merely in terms of skin color, but in relation to subjecthood, agency and institutional power • Harris: “Whiteness is not simply and solely a legal property interest. It is simultaneously an aspect of self-identity and of personhood, and its relation to the law of property is complex. Whiteness has functioned as self-identity in the domain of the intrinsic; and as property in the extrinsic public and legal realms.” • Charles W. Mills, The Racial Contract
  13. 13. WHITENESS BEYOND SKIN COLOR
  14. 14. University of Missouri
  15. 15. DARKENING WHITENESS MELISSA CLICK • Whiteness can be darkened when white subjects step outside the bounds of acceptable, normative whiteness • “threatened”, “harassed”, “inappropriate” • “These actions against Professor Click are not about a few minutes of her behavior caught on video. These actions are calculated to distract and redirect the conversation away from student concerns over campus racism, and to silence other faculty, staff and students from lending their voices in support. […] And to create a chilling effect against those who might publicly protest in the future
  16. 16. • Click: becomes “sticky” object of white civility • Conservative argument: “privileged” professor who “abuses” her students • Erasure of whiteness of the crowd upset by the students
  17. 17. CONCLUSION AFFECT AND WHITE NARCISSISM • Click & Women of Color Feminists • affective subjects of hate drawing imagined community of white civility together • Reversing power dynamics through representation • power threat due to social media upsets • “in hating another, the subject is also loving itself; hate structures the emotional life of narcissism as a fantastic investment in the continuation of the image of the self in the faces that make up the ‘we. • Trump campaign

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