- Editor’s Note
Accounts of the emotional life of academics are an important part of contemporary metaprofessional discourse. From the anonymous accounts of the highs and lows of academic life found regularly in the Chronicle of Higher Education to book-length narratives like Jane Tompkins’ A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned (1996) and Michael Dubson’s Ghosts in the Classroom: Stories of Adjunct Faculty—and the Price We All Pay (2001), academics have been increasingly emboldened to share more and more details of daily life in the academy. From these writings, one gains insight into the emotional vicissitudes of academic life and a sense of empathy for and solidarity with colleagues whose academic lot may be worse than our own.
However, as the essays in this issue amply demonstrate, metaprofessional accounts of our affective life are just one part of a very theoretically rich and narratively heterogenous interdisciplinary discourse on emotion. One of the more prominent developments is the work of contemporary narrative theorists to establish an affective narratology—an effort which intermingles the work of cognitive science, structural poetics, and neuropsychology. Another is the continuing task of exploring the emotional psychopolitics of literature and film from Shakespeare to Doctorow. The latter, when further complicated by considerations of race, class, gender, and sexuality, emerges as new arena for the continuously developing field of cultural studies. And just as the psychopolitics of emotion take us forward in the examination of contemporary narratives, they also take us backward to reexamine the foundations of the philosophical study of emotion and its treatment in psycholanalysis.
The fourteen essays in our focus provide a panoramic snapshot of the various dimensions of contemporary interdisciplinary work on emotion. The issue begins with four highly theoretical essays that draw insight on emotion from anthropology, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. The essays then take a narrative turn beginning with one entry on affective narratology and one on situated poetics. The next five articles go on to examine a number of literary and film narratives that provide particularly rich insights into emotion. Finally, the issue closes with three fine metaprofessional essays on emotion. Together, these essays provide insight into work on emotion by some of our finest contemporary critical theorists. [End Page 5]
Currently, two issues are in preparation. The first issue is entitled Hunger (Vol. 19, No. 1 (2011)). This issue will include contributions that theoretically engage the referential and figural use of hunger, and will ask what is hunger? Is it a sign of our humanity or animality? Who is the paradigmatic subject of hunger? Is its meaning transhistorical and transcultural? Or is it imbued in ideology and thus irremediably discursive and historically contingent? Whose hunger is acknowledged and whose is ignored? Is hunger an ontological or ontic concern? Is it a metaphysical desire (the hunger for recognition) or a biological need (the hunger for food)? Is hunger a global problem to be eradicated, or a perpetual reminder of our embodiment and exposure to others? Can an inquiry into hunger ever be disentangled from biopolitics? Can we speak of both an aesthetics of hunger and a hunger for aesthetics? Is intellectual hunger a desire for disciplinarity, a taste for theory? Submission deadline: closed.
The second issue under preparation is entitled Violence (Vol. 19, No. 2 (2011)). Welcome are contributions that engage diverse and potentially paradoxical relations of violence, politics and ethics. What form does violence take in philosophy and the arts (including but not limited to literature, film, music, and painting)? Does globalization enable a different understanding of violence, that is, an alternative way of imagining the subject and object of violence? Can we conceive of a violence /of/philosophy, /of/language and meaning? How might violence be negotiated vis-à-vis discourses of resistance, commodification or subjectification? With regard to ineffable effects of dominance and aggression, along with various re-presentations and repetitions of arbitrary violence, can and how might violence be productively, even progressively, reinscribed and rethought? Does violence have a history? Submission deadline: 1 September 2011.
I would like to thank the contributors to this issue for sharing their work on emotions with us. Thanks also go out to Katie Moody...