“[P]olitics is always emotional”, as Lauren Berlant emphasizes. According to the American literary scholar and queer theorist, it is “a scene where structural antagonisms — genuinely conflicting interests — are described in rhetoric that intensifies fantasy”, or that attaches people to dreams of a better life. The relevance of affect and emotions in the realm of realpolitik, but also in societal power relations in general, has increasingly become the focus of scientific and artistic disciplines. Approaches influenced by the field of affective neurosciences, for example, understand emotions no longer as the opposite of cognition; instead they seem to go ineluctably and necessarily hand in hand.


Particularly in recent political events emotions seem to be on the rise as a currency — in restitutive and reactionary efforts towards exclusion and isolation, for example. The cx centre for interdisciplinary studies takes this as a cue to once again address the theme of affect and emotions as a meaningful category for analyzing the social — almost two decades after the first proclamation of the “Affective Turn”. The sixth lecture series of the cx focuses on the contemporary relations of power and emotions, as in the emotionally saturated technologies of power that promise happiness, or in evocative scenarios of fear and rage, but also in the more positively evaluated power of empathy and movements of solidarity. The series investigates the influence of mediated emotions and affective attunements, potential new balances of power through the mechanization of affect, as well as current artistic and design-based reflections and deconstructions of emotional regimes. Following prominent voices of affect theory, like Brian Massumi, this lecture series differentiates between affect as a change of a body’s agency created by the encounter with other bodies, and emotion as a social phenomenon and psychological capture of affect. However, as these terms are multi faceted and are interpreted and applied differently depending on discipline and theorist, each panel will define and discuss their dissimilarities and transitions anew.



Interdisciplinary Lecture Series

The panels "Affective Atmospheres", "Politics of Fear" and "Rage and Power(lessness)" take place in cooperation with the Münchner Kammerspielen (Christoph Gurk).


Venue A.EG.15 (historical auditorium), Akademiestraße 2

and Kammerspiele,

Kammer 3, Hildegardstraße 1, "Affective Atmospheres"

Kammer 1, Maximilianstraße 26-28, "Rage and Power(lessness)"

Time Tuesdays at 19:00, with the exception of the first two panels on 02.11. and 09.11. (Thursday) and the last panel on 02.02.2018 (Friday)



Thursday, 2 November 2017, 7:00 pm
In the Beginning there was Emotion
Antonio Damasio, David Dornsife Chair in neuroscience and professor of psychology, philosophy and neurology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Thursday, 9 November 2017, 7:00 pm
Emotional Terrains of the Social
Deborah Gould, professor of sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz

Tuesday, 21 November 2017, 7:00 pm
Media-mobilised Affect
Marie-Luise Angerer, professor of media studies, Universität Potsdam
Cécile B. Evans, artist, London/Berlin

Tuesday, 28 November 2017, 7:00 pm
Structure of Emotion
Keren Cytter, artist, New York

Tuesday, 5 December 2017, 7:00 pm
Affective Atmospheres*
Münchner Kammerspielen (Kammer 3)
Ben Anderson, professor of geography, Durham University
Jace Clayton, musician and theorist, New York

Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 7:00 pm
Politics of Fear*
Serhat Karakayalı, researcher in migration studies,

Humboldt Universität Berlin
Yael Ronen, theatre director and author, Tel Aviv/Berlin

Tuesday, 9 January 2018, 7:00 pm
Empathy and Justice

Carolyn Pedwell, associate professor in cultural studies,

University of Kent
Susanna Hertrich, artist and design researcher,

Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst FHNW, Berlin/Basel

Friday, 2 February 2018, 7:00 pm (time tbc)
Rage and Power(lessness)*
Münchner Kammerspielen (Kammer 1)
Eva Illouz, professor of sociology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Milo Rau, director and author, Köln

* in cooperation with the Münchner Kammerspiele


Download this file (politics of emotion_power of affect.pdf)Flyer