Inner Worlds

The Politics of Affect

Course

1215a
Design and Visualization

Offered

Fall
2014

The vast majority of people who occupy buildings experience them without much conscious thought, yet these precognitive, affective modes of experience go largely unexamined within our discipline today. This blind spot is abetted by two primary critiques—first, that affect is vague, unspeakable, and therefore nondiscursive and, second, that affect, amplified by the residue of architectural phenomenology, is inherently essentializing and conservative. However, both of these arguments are undermined by an “Affective Turn” in other fields. Over the past two decades, developments in philosophy, sociology, and neuroscience have redefined affect as a state or capacity beyond the individual and capable of influencing not only our moods, but also our ideas and our collective culture. This seminar examines contemporary ideas of what Nigel Thrift calls the “spatialities of feeling,” the nonrepresentational yet potentially political impact of the built environment. The majority of the course focuses on readings and discussion before shifting to studies of existing spaces conducted through hybridization and subtle transformation. Limited enrollment.