"Touching Feeling: Affects, Pedagogy, Performativity" by Eve K. Sedgwick

Leticia Robles-Moreno (Ph.D. '17)

Touching Feeling offers an assemblage of open doors in critical theory, pedagogy, and politics to thinking-otherwise. Through a series of essays that condenses the interweaving of academia, art, activism, and intimate spaces, Eve Sedgwick explores affects as a site of aesthetic and political transformation. In the quest for “nondualistic thought and pedagogy,” these essays engage with theoretical discourses, Western Buddhism, political activism, and the everyday practices of teaching and learning. From here, Eve Sedgwick invites us to feel the textures of our own bodies in relation with the world, and to feel the textures that surround us, in order to embrace the political potentiality of alternative knowledges.

“The space of the demonstration was riddled, not only with acoustical sinkholes, but with vast unbridgeable gaps of meaning. It was in these gaps or from out of them, that the force of any public protest might materialize, but into which, as well, it constantly risked dissolving.” - Eve K. Sedgwick

To be aware of the “gaps of meaning” in political protests – and everywhere – reminds me that there is still work to do in decolonizing academia. Eve Sedgwick goes beyond the Eurocentric canon of knowledge production and explores the in-betweenness of embodied affects. For me, this can be related to the founding gesture of Performance Studies: embracing both the risk and potentiality of alternative spaces for feeling, thinking, learning, and doing. In sum, to disrupt the “either/or” and inhabit the “and/both.”