Abstract

abstract:

This article engages the late feminist philosopher Teresa Brennan in conversation with William James on “energetics” and “living attention.” Brennan should be prominent in what has been called the “affective turn”; yet, due to her untimely death, she remains peripheral. Against this trend, Shannon Sullivan (2015) recently appealed to Brennan’s Transmission of Affect (2004) to supplement James on emotion, recalibrating his sense of energetic relationality at times obscured by Victorian individualistic tropes. I extend Sullivan’s claim to consider how Brennan builds upon a Jamesian discourse of “energy” to describe the concrete possibilities of—and structural obstacles to— solidarity, with concern for the circulation of affects that energize some and drain others. While Brennan rarely references James, her papers in Brown’s Feminist Theory Archive show that she read him actively in her last years, planning to write her next book on “consciousness.” It is less surprising, then, that Brennan’s theories would resonate with Jamesian ideas, and I develop this resonance in Brennan’s published work.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9383
Print ISSN
0891-625X
Pages
pp. 590-609
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-20
Open Access
No
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