Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (Series Q)

A pioneer in queer theory and literary studies, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick brings together for the first time in Touching Feeling her most powerful explorations of emotion and expression. In essays that show how her groundbreaking work in queer theory has developed into a deep interest in affect, Sedgwick offers what she calls "tools and techniques for nondualistic thought," in the process touching and transforming such theoretical discourses as psychoanalysis, speech-act theory, Western Buddhism, and the Foucauldian "hermeneutics of suspicion."

In prose sometimes somber, often high-spirited, and always accessible and moving, Touching Feeling interrogates—through virtuoso readings of works by Henry James, J. L. Austin, Judith Butler, the psychologist Silvan Tomkins and others—emotion in many forms. What links the work of teaching to the experience of illness? How can shame become an engine for queer politics, performance, and pleasure? Is sexuality more like an affect or a drive? Is paranoia the only realistic epistemology for modern intellectuals? Ultimately, Sedgwick's unfashionable commitment to the truth of happiness propels a book as open-hearted as it is intellectually daring.

Reviews from Goodreads.com

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By Ralowe (The United States) · ★★★★★ · December 16, 2011
my what a fun read! this is one of the most enjoyable things i’ve read in like forever. i’ve been curious about the hippest thing in theory right now, which is all this affect stuff, and a friend told me that eve sedgwick is the one that’s done it the best. not only is this the clearest i’ve hear... ...more
By Ben (The United States) · ★★★★★ · June 25, 2012
Her best, in my humblest opinion. Reparative reading = my life. ...more
By Michael (Eau Claire, WI) · ★★★★★ · June 02, 2010
In Touching Feeling (2003), Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick moves away from a hermeneutics of suspicion or exposure toward an understanding of affect and pedagogy, drawing on the notion of beside instead of beneath or beyond (8). Some key ideas:

Drawing on Renu Bora, Sedgwick understands "texxture" (with tw... ...more
By simon (Chicago, IL) · ★★★☆☆ · February 01, 2008
well, this was my first sedgwick book. maybe not the best choice to get to what she's famous for (one of the first person to write Queer Theory), but definitely interesting as hell. affect studies - the study of pleasures, sensations, feelings, emotions, tactile experiences. it's offered as an al... ...more
By Roger (Pullman, WA) · ★★★★★ · May 20, 2014
I love her portrayal of performative history in this book. ...more
By Rachel (Australia) · ★★★★☆ · November 29, 2009
I love that a search for this book on Goodreads brings up children's titles such as Pat the Bunny, Pat the Farm Animal, and Family Pets.
But - review. I have finally found it. The essay on buddhist epistemology and affect that is going to finally grant me a vocabulary for thinking discursively ab... ...more
By John · ★★★★★ · November 05, 2009
I didn't understand all of this, but it's a genius-level collection of her essays. Interesting ideas about affect, about using it to break away from standard polarities/on-and-off ideas of identity. Also very personal while still academically intense. The first chapter talks way too much about He... ...more
By Richard (Washington, DC) · ★☆☆☆☆ · December 28, 2010
Why is academic pose so clotted and constipated? Why must intellectuals obfuscate with jargon? I think too many years in ivory toward has atrophied their ability to speak/write clearly.

This from one of the originator of queer theory. Ho hum. ...more
By Sara (Tempe, AZ) · ★★★★☆ · December 23, 2008
I've been trying to really "currently-read" this book for a long time. Dense, thoughtful, sometimes beautiful theory prose that aims to proide "tools for non-dualist thinking." Now wrap your head around that one. ...more
By Jennifer (Sydney, 02, Australia) · ★★★★★ · October 21, 2009
Space and affect - her line of questioning in this book is tacitly informing the line of questioning in my thesis. She died in April 2009 - I can only hope boxes of essays are posthumously published. ...more