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Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  540 ratings  ·  29 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 17th 2003 by Duke University Press Books (first published December 27th 2002)
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 ·  540 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Most emotional book I've read in 2k15
Jul 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: essays
good CTA reading, surprisingly—first on a failed trip to devon, then on The Commute. i'd read paranoid reading and reparative reading before (on my postvirgilian epic professor's recommendation, weirdly—he also recommended the book as a whole—) but man is it still so good. pretty much in a more rigorous and also more generous way what lisa ruddick's point essay "when nothing is cool" is about, which no one seemed to recognize at the time (that need to come across as never being surprised, that s ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory
Her best, in my humblest opinion. Reparative reading = my life.
some mushroom dude
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
bee's knees -- thanks to brett driben official sponsor of touching feeling
Feb 01, 2008 rated it liked it
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 alternative to the never-ending difficulties of identity politics, and i think it's an excellent way to go. what is the experience of sexism or Orientalism or able-ism and can we work together based on tho ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reviewing queer theory by summarizing the merits of each argument is inordinately challenging for me; I think the issue when attempting to do so is how academic close reads like Sedgwick's are such that the impeccable logic - while fluid and comprehensible - tends to click into focus in a way that allows the reader to understand the "music" of the argument, or the contours and major themes thereof, but becomes hard to recapture or share in a way that does them any remote sense of justice.

There a
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thought about a lot reading this text. In quarantine I had selected a syllabus- texts and authors I felt I *should* read but hadn't ranging from Fanon to Sedgwick to Hartman to Aurde Lorde to Dworkin to Leslie Feinberg to Derek Jarman, just lots of things. A full experience. I took notes and thought and read and even tried to start writing. Not much has come out of it other than the thinking inevitably- on nonduality, on origin, on thinking as a practice. That's the subject of Sedgwick's essay ...more
Ayanna Dozier
Feb 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity assembles a collection of essays, many of them previously published, by Eve Sedgwick. The essays are loosely connected to one another through the thread of negative affect. That is, the essays navigate questions of shame, paranoia, death, and depression. Sedgwick argues that these affective channels of energy offers a continual negotiation with identity, and thus create conditions of possibility and fluidity for individuals as oppose to ones tha ...more
Dan Sherrell
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sedgwick smuggles so much feeling into her criticism, it’s no wonder she’s become a kind of patron saint of affect theory. Reading her consistently produces the truly thrilling sensation of communing with a mind the depth of whose intelligence places it barely within the limits of personal intelligibility (at least for me). Whether writing about AIDS or Tibetan, she always seems able to rise above the plain of ordinary debate, and inflect/reflect the whole field with a fierce and playful kindnes ...more
Tomás Narvaja
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
If my rating were based solely on the chapter on "Shame in the cybernetic fold: reading Silvan Tomkins / written with Adam Frank" and "Paranoid reading and reparative reading, or, You're so paranoid, you probably think this essay is about you" I would give this book 5 stars as I personally found these two chapters, with the nuance of Ruth Leys' critique, to be profoundly thought-provoking and powerful in both my scholarly work and my personal life.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aca
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: phd, non-fiction
Always a pleasure to read Sedgwick, such a fluid and engaging writer, even when discussing something abstract or otherwise difficult to describe.
Chong Ming
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read, re-read this, to make sure I really understood what she was saying. Brilliant.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
<3 ...more
Aaron Nash
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading is my favorite essay and an incisive critique of contemporary feminisms increasingly paranoid style.
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 two x's) as "the kind of texture that is dense with offered information about how, substantially, historically, materially, it came into being" (14).

She understands affect as different from drive because a
Brenden O'Donnell
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sedgwick somehow dismantles the master's house using the master's tools. She writes the theory she's attacking better than anyone could, from many different angles, offering, in the space that's left, reparative reading and teaching practices. I'm not sure what to do with them, to be honest—at the end of each chapter I was left asking "so what?" What's at stake here? But in a sense, that response is the purpose of the book. What has been at stake in theory? She certainly is not arguing the answe ...more
Jo Verbena
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
My rating is not a reflection on the quality of writing but on what I got from it - the blurb described the prose as 'always accessible' but I didn't find this at all, skipped chapter after chapter struggling to understand and absorb any of the theories and ideas, despite enjoying the introduction and being interested in the topics that the book touches upon. The language is too convoluted for me and perhaps you need to be at a certain level of philosophical reading to take anything from this wo ...more
Apr 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 about yoga and other non-discursive practices of "healthy knowing". Perhaps the end to my friends' anxiety about me being a yoga convert also.
The rest I am yet to read, so this review is only about final
Jack Caulfield
Oct 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Honest, bold, joyful, original, and above all, kind: Sedgwick frequently dissents from critical commonplaces, but always engages with them in a way that is productive rather than destructive. In her own words, 'reparative reading'. Essays on everything from Buddhism to paranoia to 9/11 to Foucault to AIDS to the author's cat.
Nov 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 Henry James's poop, though.
May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was tempted to give this a lower rating because of the tendency toward academic jargon and deconstruction, but slogging through those (for me) less pleasant passages was worth it in the end. The cumulate experience of this text really was one of "reparative reading" in the best sense.
Sara Sams
Nov 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Richard Cytowic
Nov 19, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
Jennifer Hamilton
Oct 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Roger Whitson
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love her portrayal of performative history in this book.
Johnny Jones
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sedgwick is awesome. The introduction, yes! Touch; feel. Texture; affect. I always return to this text when I'm thinking antiessentialist departure and new ways of learning and teaching.
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Ch. 1: "Shame, Theatricality, and Queer Performativity"
Ch. 4: "Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading"
Ch. 5: "Pedagogy of Buddhism"
rated it liked it
Aug 23, 2010
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Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick was an American academician specializing in literary criticism and feminist analysis; she is known as one of the architects of queer theory. Her works reflect an interest in queer performativity, experimental critical writing, non-Lacanian psychoanalysis, Buddhism and pedagogy, the affective theories of Silvan Tomkins and Melanie Klein, and material culture, especially textil ...more

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