Bad feelings

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Publication details

Stephens, E 2015, 'Bad feelings', Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 30, no. 85, pp. 273-282.

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While the importance of negativity and negative affects to queer history and theory has been the subject of much recent critical discussion, bad feelings are equally prevalent in contemporary feminist theory. The aim of this article is not to provide a summary overview of a recent negative turn in feminist theory, however, nor to identify the early twenty-first century socio-political causes of this welling up of bad feeling. Rather, its purpose is to consider the way the increasing centrality of studies of affect to feminist histories and politics allows us to reconceptualise these as ‘affective genealogies'. The article examines this by focusing on three representative texts, which it takes as representative of three key moments in the recent affective genealogy of feminism: Rosi Braidotti's Metamorphoses: Towards a Materialist Theory of Becoming (2002); Sara Ahmed'sThe Promise of Happiness (2010); and Lauren Berlant's Cruel Optimism (2011).

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