Coming to Our Senses

Affect and an Order of Things for Global Culture

Dierdra Reber

Columbia University Press

Coming to Our Senses

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Pub Date: February 2016

ISBN: 9780231170529

368 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00

Pub Date: February 2016

ISBN: 9780231540902

368 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $59.99

Coming to Our Senses

Affect and an Order of Things for Global Culture

Dierdra Reber

Columbia University Press

Coming to Our Senses positions affect, or feeling, as our new cultural compass, ordering the parameters and possibilities of what can be known. From Facebook "likes" to Coca-Cola "loves," from "emotional intelligence" in business to "emotional contagion" in social media, affect has displaced reason as the primary catalyst of global culture.

Through examples of feeling in the books, film, music, advertising, cultural criticism, and political discourse of the United States and Latin America, Reber shows how affect encourages the public to "reason" on the strength of sentiment alone. Well-being, represented by happiness and health, and ill-being, embodied by unhappiness and disease, form the two poles of our social judgment, whether in affirmation or critique. We must then reenvision contemporary politics as operating at the level of the feeling body, so we can better understand the physiological and epistemological conditions affirming our cultural status quo and contestatory strategies for emancipation.
Dierdra Reber's argument is fierce. With near breathless but nonetheless sure-footed speed, she cuts a course through an impressive range of hemispheric popular culture to show how capitalism has, from the beginning, generated its own self-serving counterdiscourse. Nancy Armstrong, Duke University
Coming to Our Senses is a sophisticated work of scholarship concerned with advocating for the enormous potential of the category of 'affect' in understanding contemporary global culture. It is a definite must-have book for scholars in an array of disciplines. Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado, Washington University in Saint Louis
This daring, thought-provoking, challenging book will no doubt be controversial, as innovative projects inevitably are, but it will be widely discussed and debated across fields and disciplines and it will be broadly influential. Priscilla Wald, Duke University
Coming to our Senses is an impressive book about nothing more and nothing less than a seismic change in the episteme in Western civilization. It will have a huge impact throughout the humanities, forcing us to rethink long-held assumptions about the way culture works and making us revise the paradigms within which we live. Edmundo Paz-Soldán, Cornell University
Coming to Our Senses is an exhilarating work, one whose erudition, verve, and span of cultural references and evidence make for fantastic reading. Reber is a rare example of a scholar who has the depth of knowledge and the creativity of perspective to apprehend cultural processes on a scale that handles interregional comparison with care and insight. In this and many other senses, Coming to Our Senses is a model of cutting-edge humanistic scholarship. Joshua Lund, University of Notre Dame
Preface: Tracking the Feeling Soma
Acknowledgments
Prelude: Affective Contours of Knowledge
Introduction: Headless Capitalism
Part 1: The Feeling Soma
1. The Feeling Soma: Humanity as a Singular "We"
2. We Are the World: Sentient People and Planet in Sustainability Discourse
Part 2: Homeostatic Dynamics
3. "Becoming well beings": Homeostatic Dynamics and the Metaphor of Health
4. Legs, Love, and Life: The Affective Political Actor as a Well Being
Conclusion: Affective Biopower
Notes
Works Cited
Index

Read an excerpt from the book's prelude:

About the Author

Dierdra Reber is assistant professor of Spanish at Emory University. Her essays on the cultural politics of Latin American film and fiction and the epistemology of global culture have appeared in Revista Iberoamericana, Modern Language Notes, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, differences, and nonsite.