Eliza Steinbock
Parsing Affective Economies of Race, Sexuality, and Gender: The Case of ‘Nasty Love’
– Structures of Feeling: Affectivity and the Study of Culture
book chapter 2014


In this chapter, I wish to show how transgender studies and affect studies might mutually approach the subject as a matter of process. I outline an affirmative constructivist ontology of ‘becoming more’ to oppose the current trend in queer theory towards deconstruction and negation. Scholars in transgender and affect studies often share the methodology of departing from the middle, starting with describing the affective relation that generates a subject. For example, in “Happy Objects” (2010) Sara Ahmed writes that affect “is what sticks, or what sustains or preserves the connection between ideas, values, and objects” (29). Ahmed suggests elsewhere (2004) that “emotions play a crucial role in the ‘surfacing’ of individual and collective bodies” namely through the circulation patterns they carve out between bodies and signs (117). Wherever affect streams, it produces an exchange economy. Focusing on the creation of boundaries, Ahmed (2004) also grants a creative and redistributive quality to affective economies – “emotions do things” (119). I argue that in a case of trans pornography the charged affective economy of relations between ‘nasty’ race, sexuality, and gender work to refunction damaging stereotypes; and to proliferate new aggregates of ideas, values, and objects stuck together by ‘nasty love.’


#race #sexuality #gender

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