Accepted Paper:

Once more with feeling; emotion, agential realism and affective choreography in transformative STS research  


Ardath Whynacht (Mount Allison University)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing from diffractive research/creation practice, this poem/paper explores emotion as a territory in which agential cuts (Barad, 2007) take place in collaborative and community-based STS research that seeks to transform the entanglements of vulnerable people with 'expert' knowledge systems.

Paper long abstract:

As feminist STS scholars, how can we account for violence; for harm; for marks on bodies (Barad, 2007) in ways that acknowledge the materiality of emotional experience? If feminist practice leads us to collaborative relationship-building with communities, how can we performatively engage with each other to intervene at the point at which agential cuts are made? Drawing from diffractive research/creation practice, the author situates this paper in a broader project of feminist intervention with marked bodies (Barad, 2007) in contact with expert knowledge systems. This piece is a reflection on a much longer-term project of collaborative art-making and intervention into forensic neuroscientific knowledge with women who self-harm, and explores how feminist technoscience theory and the new materialism can provide a framework in which transformative entanglements can take shape. Shifting the choreography between marked bodies and expert knowledge requires consideration of the ways in which agential cuts are made in lived experience. Diffractively reading feminist work on emotional labour (Hochschild, 2012; Ahmed, 2004), feminist STS (Tallbear, 2015; Haraway, 1997) and disability studies (Mauldin, 2014; Nicki, 2001) simultaneously, we are able to articulate the complexity of the entanglements between our vulnerabilities and the technoscientific systems that shape them. This paper provides a case study in embodied activism that is rooted in agential realism (Barad, 2007) and suggests ways in consideration of emotion in feminist technoscience can catalyze relationship building with vulnerable publics in prisons, hospitals, community care institutions, experimental research projects and secure youth facilities.

Panel T100
Feminist Technoscience Studies in Unexpected Places: (Intra)Activism and Social Justice