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Ann Cvetkovich

The Sovereignty of the Senses (20.05.2014)

This presentation will draw from a larger project that aims to articulate notions of sovereignty, democracy, and freedom in affective and sensory terms. It conceives of sovereignty as an embodied practice rather than an abstract concept and as something that must be learned and experienced collectively over time rather than as a fixed and final condition of a sovereign or discrete individual or nation. Focusing in particular on how my work on affect has been informed by art practice, the talk will develop the concept of the “sovereignty of the senses” through a discussion of queer and feminist installation projects by Zoe Leonard, Rachael Shannon, and Karin Michalski that use built environments to transform affective, sensory, and social experience.

The paper will address the lecture series theme of crisis by considering the significance of affect as research method. In so far as the sovereignty of the senses is about forms of inquiry and expertise that are affectively and somatically based, how can it facilitate different ways of responding to "crisis"? Like my previous work on depression, this project also displaces the category of the crisis in its insistence on the everyday, the ordinary, the ongoing, and other related moods and temporalities.

Ann Cvetkovich

Ann Cvetkovich is Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of English and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Main Research:

Her current writing projects focus on the current state of LGBTQ archives and the creative use of them by artists to create counterarchives and interventions in public history.

Publications (selection):

  • Mixed Feelings: Feminism, Mass Culture, and Victorian Sensationalism (Rutgers, 1992)
  • An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (Duke, 2003)
  • Depression: A Public Feeling (Duke, 2012).