Occupation Affect

Carla Freccero
Literature, Feminist Studies, and History of Consciousness
UC Santa Cruz

Deborah Gould
UC Santa Cruz

Held in Fall 2012, “Occupation Affect” took the emotional pulse of the current moment. In two days of public talks and roundtable discussions, the conference gathered a group of scholars to investigate the feelings that permeate both that era of economic collapse and the modes of adaptation and rebellion that arose in its midst. The conference organizers explored the affective dimensions of the Great Recession and jobless “recovery,” of bail-outs and sell-outs, of tea parties and coffee klatches, of magnificent inequality and vanishing public services, of the growing concentration of wealth and the emergence of autonomous, decentralized social movements, of hopes dashed and hopes raised, of diminishing faith in government and expanding political imaginaries, of economic freefall and resurgent activist energy. In a moment of economic restructuring toward an uncertain future and growing rebellion against the neoliberal global order, we explored ordinary and extraordinary affects: their circulation and effects, how to feel them and what to do with them, what they signal and what they obscure, how they use us and how we might use them. All of this to better understand the ways the state and corporations harness affective energies, how senses of impossibility sometimes fade and new horizons suddenly emerge, and what new social relations, new ways of thinking, feeling, and doing, are being generated in the 2012 conjuncture.