The Politics of Sentiment: On Comparative Worth

New School for Social Research: Anthropology

Liberal Arts
Graduate Course
Degree Students (with Restrictions)
Affective States
Winter 2023
Taught By: Ann Stoler
Section: A

CRN: 9821

Credits: 3

This course starts from two premises: (l) that sentiments articulate the personal and the political in historically specific ways; and (2) that sentiments are historically located social phenomena with specific genealogies. In this course, we draw on work in anthropology, history, philosophy, political science, and literary criticism to explore the changing ways in which thought and feeling, rationality and passion, reason and sentiment have been set off from one another and understood to provide vastly different assessments of the world. One central focus is on sentiment as an index of relations of power and as a tracer of them. We’ll look at humiliation, irritation, jealousy, compassion, and boredom through a variety of lens: with respect to social inequality, governance, humanitarianism, subversion –these we’ll treat in history and in formation. We’ll look at what are considered discrete, singular sentiments, but also those that don’t go by their name, those embedded in other practices, that combine with other performatives to produce their force. An “excuse” is not a sentiment but it is charged with them. Some feelings and affects may be subjacent or manifest, with different “weighting.” What does it take to understand them, what are the conceptual methodologies we can bring to bear on working through the politics of sentiment? How does sentiment transform the terrain and epistemology of politics? Course requirements include commentaries on the readings, two short essay reflections, a presentation of your first essay. Participation is essential. There is no exam nor final paper. Some of the books, essays, and book chapters, we’ll be thinking with (and sometimes against) are: Hirschman, Albert. 1978. The Passions and the Interests; Steedman, Carolyn, 1986. Landscape for a Good Woman; Miller, William, l997. The Anatomy of Disgust;Sontag, Susan. 2003. Regarding the Pain of Others; Boltanski, Luc, Distant Suffering; Ilouz, Eva, 2007. Cold Intimacies; Ngai, Sianne. Ugly Feelings.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Anthropology (GANT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: January 9, 2023 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: January 18, 2023 (Wednesday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 5:56pm EDT 6/2/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Times: 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Building: 6 East 16th Street
Room: 910
Date Range: 1/9/2023 - 1/20/2023