Race and Affectability
Tuesday, October 20th @ 3pm Seminar with Christine Goding-Doty (Africana Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges)
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“There is a kind of white that is not created by bleach but that itself is bleach. This was that kind of white. This white was aggressively white. It did its work on everything around it, and nothing escaped.” -- David Batchelor
“It did its work on everything around it, and nothing escaped.” How do we begin to talk about race as a doing? How do we account for whiteness in an active tense? In this discussion, we will read Denise Ferreira da Silva’s notion of affectability together with David Batchelor’s description of whiteness in order to examine how whiteness is not just articulated through positionality, but capacities to act and act on. Da Silva’s work elaborates an affectable Other as opposed to a “transparent ‘I.’” Focused on this being of transparency, I am interested in analyzing the lopsided affective relationship accorded to whiteness—to affect but not be affectable—as something which reveals the centrality of affect to the concept of race.
Christine Goding-Doty is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Previously, she was an A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow with the Center for the Humanities and the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There she was a member of the 2018-2020 cohort of Mellon Fellows convened around the theme "Truth, Fact, and Ways of Knowing." The dominant questions of Dr. Goding-Doty's research consider what new problems and avenues of thought the digital age and social media open up for the study of race, whiteness, and coloniality.
Readings: Denise Ferreira da Silva, Toward a Global Idea of Race, pp. xi-xli; 17-90
David Batchelor, Chromophobia, pp. 9-50