Deleuze, Affect Theory, and the Future of Realism

Hyeryung Hwang’s “Deleuze, Affect Theory, and the Future of Realism” appears in Telos 181 (Winter 2017). Read the full article at the Telos Online website, or purchase a print copy of the issue in our online store. Individual subscriptions to Telos are now available in both print and online formats.

In this essay, I critically address the current prominence of affect theory and its close affiliation with the aesthetic absolute of high modernism. In doing so, I demonstrate how affect theory, which has been significantly influenced by Gilles Deleuze, relays a restrictive recognition of the functions of consciousness, representation, and agency as rigid codification, despotic power, and authoritative unity. Certain issues arise when affect theory registers itself as a promising and effective political theory, and I address these issues by investigating Deleuze’s discussion of affect in his various texts on aesthetics and politics.

Continue reading →

On Minima Moralia and Adorno’s Critical Modernism

Roger Foster’s “Lingering with the Particular: Minima Moralia‘s Critical Modernism” appears in Telos 155 (Summer 2011). Read the full version online at the TELOS Online website, or purchase a print copy of the issue here.

This essay argues that the ethical claim of Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia depends on its being read as an original version of the modernist idea of ethical critique as the aesthetic presentation of individual experience. While contemporary efforts to understand Minima Moralia as a form of substantive critique have merit, they have not fully appreciated the character of this work as a type of ethical performance. The second section of the essay lays out the background of this model of ethical critique in Adorno’s understanding of the system of universal fungibility. Adorno’s ethical performance, I argue, is a way of rescuing the ethical import of particularity. The execution of this idea in Minima Moralia through the rhetorical strategy of exaggeration is then examined in the third section. I then turn, finally, to a discussion of the key conceptual contrast between “lingering” and possessiveness. These terms allow Adorno to theorize injustice as a distortion of particularity, and also provide the model for a form of thinking and comportment that resists that distortion.

Continue reading →