My major research project, “Feeling Political: Affect, Emotion, and Ethics in Western Political Theory,” builds on my dissertation to investigate the significance of emotion and affect in the political philosophy canon and connects the concept of ‘the political’ with ideas of embodiment and a theory of ethics. I develop a method of interpretation informed by affect theory to read Thomas Hobbes, Karl Marx, Simone de Beauvoir, and twentieth century materialist feminism, examining the under-analyzed import of embodied emotion in their works. The project demonstrates that their accounts of subjectivity and power depend upon notions of how politics and emotion intersect. Attention to this relation generates a political ethics of embodiment that places intersubjectivity at the center of its account. This work intervenes in current debates within political theory regarding the significance of the body and the relationship between politics and ethics. Adopting a perspective that foregrounds embodiment, I demonstrate how the political and ethical domains are mutually constitutive, contrary to many contemporary scholars’ claims that ethical approaches depoliticize theoretical accounts. The project also rethinks the way the political theory tradition is interpreted by making an interdisciplinary move. It enriches the interpretive resources of political philosophy by connecting traditional political theory texts and concerns with recent humanities and social sciences scholarship on affect and emotion.
I have several other ongoing projects. One brings recents debates in critical black studies on the legacy of slavery to questions about biopolitics and the law in contemporary political theory. I work with two colleagues on an examination of the relation between democratic theory and critical theories of work and labor. Additionally, I have a project examining the politics of temporality in relation to sexuality, critical theory, and religion. I also remain perpetually interested in neoliberalism and its shaping of contemporary politics and subjectivity. Future research will include a project using affect theory to examine the assumptions and theories of classical political economic theory.
- “Emotional Orientations: Simone de Beauvoir and Sara Ahmed on Subjectivity and the Emotional Phenomenology of Gender,” philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 6 (2), 215-240
- “Behavioral Economics as Neoliberalism: Producing and Governing ‘Homo Economicus,’ Contemporary Political Theory 14 (2), 137-158
- “Do Government Incentives Make Us Bad Citizens?,” Boston Review, July 19, 2016
- “Training for Neoliberalism,” Boston Review, July 15, 2015
“If you don’t enjoy concepts and writing and don’t feel that when you write you are adding something to the world, if only enjoyment itself, and that by adding that ounce of positive experience to the world you are affirming it, celebrating its potential, tending its growth, in however small a way, however really abstractly – well, just hang it up” – Brian Massumi, Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, 12-13