Una Chung Feb 25th at 1:30 p.m.

The CUNY Graduate Center

Postcolonial Studies Group Colloquium Series 2010-2011

The Postcolonial Studies Group presents:

Una Chung

Sarah Lawrence College

Subsumption of Violence or

Grounds for a New Ethics of Digital Culture?
Remembering Frantz Fanon in

an Era of Capture and Governmentality

Feb 25th at 1:30 p.m.

CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5414

All are welcome.

Today the increasingly common description of our contemporary world depicts a global situation dominated by information systems, the demands and strains of “cognitive capitalism,” and strategies of governance centered on risk, security, and preemptive global conflicts. It seems that apparatuses of capture have taken prominence in the very definition of affect itself, such that affect is increasingly perceived to be just that—an object of capture—by institutions of mental health, police, security, and communications technology from infrastructure to mobile devices. Given the emergence of such a politics of affect, how are we theoretically to reconsider the relationship of affect to ethics and politics? In Gilles Deleuze’s reading of Baruch Spinoza, the concept of affect provides new ground for an ethics beyond morality; however, contemporary studies of affect veer between the amoral objectivity of cognitive science on the one hand and the arbitrary imposition of diverse moral codes deriving from other traditions (criminal justice, human rights, Western psychology, etc.) on the other. I would like to suggest a different possible course, in this paper, by specifically turning to Frantz Fanon’s anti-colonial politics in hopes of discovering the necessary relation of contemporary politics to studies of affect. Fanon described the colonial situation as an intense site of affective malpractice, requiring an appeal to the founding limit of politics—absolute violence. The appearance of the absolute counters the trend of much of contemporary cultural studies of affect, which have tended to domesticate affect into a liberal individual context. Between domestication and capture, the line of absolute violence cuts deeply through the heart of the modern subject. Working through Deleuze and Fanon, I propose a reworking of aesthetics, ethics, and politics for digital culture today.

Una Chung (Ph.D, CUNY Graduate Center) is Assistant Professor in Global Studies at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She writes on contemporary film, new media art and design, and literary culture, within a theoretical framework emphasizing critical theory, postcolonial studies, globalization, materialist philosophies, and aesthetics. She is currently working on a book project investigating critical approaches to the analysis of affect, and specifically how such discourses shape our thinking about ethics today.

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The Postcolonial Studies Group is a chartered organization of the Doctoral Students’ Council. Please visit our website at www.opencuny.org/psg

Questions? Email Fiona Lee at fiona.lee@gmail.com.