Expression, Animation, and Intelligibility: Concepts for a Decolonial Feminist Affect Theory

Journal of Speculative Philosophy 34 (3):309-322 (2020)
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In this article, I link Lisa Feldman Barrett's theory of constructed emotion1 to decolonial perspectives that also challenge this universality of affect in cross-cultural facial expressions. After first outlining some of the present-day political stakes of these questions, I turn to Sylvia Wynter on the "ethnoclass of Man" in Western modernity, where she asks: how were concepts of not only being, truth, power, and freedom but also affect—the intelligibility of one's feelings toward others—framed by histories of colonial violence and refusals of imaginative identification?2 Wynter argues that the overrepresentation of the Western ethnoclass results in the naturalization of a limited and contingent mode of being as...

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