Roundtable | Conflict, Violence and Memory USB 2.022
Jul 05, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230705T1100 20230705T1230 Europe/London 3.23. Feeling Implicated: Affect, Responsibility, Solidarity

Recent work by scholars coming from a number of different theoretical, methodological, and disciplinary backgrounds has sought to describe the forms of individual and collective responsibility that enable histories of violence and structures of inequality – classed, gendered, racialised, environmental. The current attention to complicity and implication and the focus on figures such as the beneficiary, the bystander, and the implicated subject help illuminate how subjects participate in and benefit from systemic forms of injustice without initiating or directing them.Working with the framework developed in Michael Rothberg's The Implicated Subject (2019), as well as other scholarship on beneficiaries, complicity, and collective responsibility, this roundtable will focus on the varied ways that affect, emotion, and feeling mediate between structural-historical conditioning and individual levels of responsibility. Our starting point is the hypothesis that affective states such as anger, shame, guilt, grief, and disappointment play significant roles in facilitating complicity and implication and thus help anchor diverse forms of domination. At the same time, we suggest, attempts to contest injustice through acts of small- and large-scale resistance and the forging of political solidarities also derive from an affective substratum, one that includes many of the same emotions that accompany implication. Our roundtable will thus aim to illuminate three levels at which affect plays a role in forging and contesting implication: 1) affect can function as a vector of implication, the very stuff of which implication is made-such as patriotism, long-distance nationalism (Anderson 1998), and "cruel optimism" (Berlant 2011); 2) affect can mark the conscious or unconscious re ...

USB 2.022 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Recent work by scholars coming from a number of different theoretical, methodological, and disciplinary backgrounds has sought to describe the forms of individual and collective responsibility that enable histories of violence and structures of inequality – classed, gendered, racialised, environmental. The current attention to complicity and implication and the focus on figures such as the beneficiary, the bystander, and the implicated subject help illuminate how subjects participate in and benefit from systemic forms of injustice without initiating or directing them.
Working with the framework developed in Michael Rothberg's The Implicated Subject (2019), as well as other scholarship on beneficiaries, complicity, and collective responsibility, this roundtable will focus on the varied ways that affect, emotion, and feeling mediate between structural-historical conditioning and individual levels of responsibility. Our starting point is the hypothesis that affective states such as anger, shame, guilt, grief, and disappointment play significant roles in facilitating complicity and implication and thus help anchor diverse forms of domination. At the same time, we suggest, attempts to contest injustice through acts of small- and large-scale resistance and the forging of political solidarities also derive from an affective substratum, one that includes many of the same emotions that accompany implication. Our roundtable will thus aim to illuminate three levels at which affect plays a role in forging and contesting implication: 1) affect can function as a vector of implication, the very stuff of which implication is made-such as patriotism, long-distance nationalism (Anderson 1998), and "cruel optimism" (Berlant 2011); 2) affect can mark the conscious or unconscious resistance to acknowledging implication, a resistance that can take the form of resentment, rage, guilt or shame; and 3) affect can motivate the turn against implication and can serve as the impetus for resisting structures of oppression.
To shed light on the three levels at which affect intersects with implication, contributions to this roundtable focus both on theoretical elaborations of these complex relations and on case studies that can illuminate the multivalent workings of affect. Many of the case studies involve close analysis of cultural texts such as works of literature and film. Michael Rothberg sets up our debate by introducing the framework of implication and reflecting on the roles that affect plays in consolidating and challenging structural injustices. Sakiru Adebayo reflects auto-ethnographically on the complex emotional experiences of racialised subjects migrating to settler-colonial states. Reading together Frantz Fanon' and Assia Djebar's work, Maša Mrovlje turns to the role of emotion in resistance movements and seeks to redeem the productive potential of disappointment as an emancipatory emotion. In contrast, Mihaela Mihai builds on eco-feminist work to offer a critical analysis of ecological grief and guilt as both diagnostic emotions and engines of contestatory citizenship in times of environmental crisis and systemic climate injustice. Arielle Stambler serves as moderator, bringing the presenters' insights into a fruitful dialogue and crystalizing the roundtable's conclusions.

Professor
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UCLA
Lecturer in Political Theory
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University of Leeds
PhD Candidate
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University of California, Los Angeles
PhD Candidate
,
University of California, Los Angeles
PhD Candidate
,
Uni Marburg, Centre for Conflict Studies
Assistant Professor in Polish Studies
,
Trinity College Dublin
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