Feminism and Affect at the Scene of Argument: Beyond the Trope of the Angry Feminist

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9781439902479: Feminism and Affect at the Scene of Argument: Beyond the Trope of the Angry Feminist

"Tomlinson provides an interesting window into how discursive power is built, dismantled, and rebuilt. This book is brave: it takes on three different disciplinary areas and ones not likely to be thought of together---socio-legal studies, musicology, and science studies. Tomilinson deftly demonstrates how powerful and insightful feminist arguments can be deflected, dismantled, or misrepresented by rhetoric that is not simply misogynist but rather generated within the rhetorical fields of the disciplinary in response or reaction to feminism itself. Rarely have I seen someone so thoroughly analyze how rhetoric operates successfully as politically-inflected argument."---Stephanie A. Smith, Professor of English, University of Florida

"Tomlinson perceptively reveals intersections between arenas of social life and scholarship that we have been taught to contain within disciplining boxes. Her insights enable us to turn efforts to silence critical voices into sites for discerning links between affect and power---and disrupting them."---Charles . Briggs, co-author of Stories in the Time of Cholera

"Barbara Tomlinson handily moves the feminist project into the realm of argument, where she shakes up the very foundation of traditional argument, By interrogating the trope of the angry feminist,' Tomlinson demonstrates the ways gendered, raced, and classed iterations of power saturate argument, its scenes, valences, and, most of all, normalized praxes. Her wide-ranging excursion---from law and consumer culture to musicolog and biology---reveals how tethered we all are to dominant (authoritative) discourses, despite our resistance and repudiation. Her analysis is brilliant; her examples are extraordinarily powerful."---Cheryl Glenn, Liberal Arts Research Professor of English and Women's Studies, Penn State University

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Book Description:

Are feminists really angry, unreasoning, man-haters who argue only from an emotional perspective as some claim? Does the incessant repetition of this trope make anti-feminism and misogyny a routine element in everyday speech? And does this repetition work towards delegitimizing feminist arguments and/or undermining feminist politics? How do skilled feminist writers deploy affect to advance feminist ideas? In Feminismand Affect at the Scene of Argument, Barbara Tomlinson addresses these questions, providing a lucid examination of the role of affect in feminist and antifeminist academic arguments.

Using case studies from controversies in socio-legal studies, musicology, and science studies, among other disciplines, Tomlinson examines the rhetorics of anger, contempt, betrayal, intensification, and ridicule. She employs a set of critical tools—feminist “socio-forensic” discursive analysis—that will prove indispensible for understanding and countering tropes like that of the angry feminist. Moreover, these tools will advance feminism, which, she argues, is generated in and by arguments with allies and antagonists.

In an era of debates that generate more heat than light, Feminism and Affectat the Scene of Argument offers a timely provocation for transforming the terms of reading and writing in scholarship and civic life.

About the Author:

Barbara Tomlinson is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Authors on Writing: Metaphors and Intellectual Labor. In 2009, she received the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award, University of California, Santa Barbara.

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