Research activities


Project: Affects and Modernity

The first project of the work of the Group concentrates on the notion of affects such as: empathy, anxiety, stupefaction, anger, fear, repulsion, love, sympathy, etc. In the framework of this project the members will pursue their individual researches closely related to the theme. We are interested in reconstruction and developing of numerous varied discourses on affects. This notion originating in one of the oldest philosophical oppositions between the emotional and the intellectual - the opposition legitimised anew by 20th century psychoanalysis and questioned by the Lacanian thought as a false opposition - has proved widely applicable in the field of studies on literature, art, politics and history, and it seems that in the era of new media and rapid cultural change it needs particularly meticulous reflection. So common in contemporary discussions issues of the crisis of understanding and representation (especially though not exclusively, representation of experience), gain new, crucial dimension when framed in the discourse of the affect theory with such operative categories as ambivalence, lability, apathy, paramimia, pathology, etc. Similarly, the language of contemporary aesthetics including the affect theory provides here a field of essential thoughts and inspirations.

The project will comprise the research of the following: the category of trauma as a tool for an interpretation of the relationship between literature and history, perversion as a universal structure of poetic language contested in many various ways in Modernity, testimonies of the limit events, possibility of empathy in contemporary visual culture, the category of delight, boredom and repulsion as tools for critical discourse.

Particular attention shall be paid to the close analysis of how different media encode particular affects. We are posing the question of how the body functions as a medium and how the strategies of cultural corporeal discipline refer to what could be called the economy of the affect.

Other projects planned by the research group:

- the cultural wars in Poland after 1989 and the social functions of art and literature
- the crisis of representation i.e. the return of the real
- the world as an archive: critical models of historicity

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