Department of Anthropology

Kathleen C. Stewart

ProfessorPh.D., University of Michigan

Kathleen C. Stewart


  • Phone: (512) 471-8521
  • Office: CLA 4.408
  • Office Hours: Fall 2015: Tuesdays 1:45 p.m.-2:45 p.m. and Thursdays 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Campus Mail Code: C3200


Affect, experimental ethnographic writing, non-representational theory, post-phenomenology, new materialisms, worldings, place; United States, New England.


Katie Stewart writes and teaches on affect, the ordinary, the senses, and modes of ethnographic engagement based on curiosity and attachment. Her first book, A Space on the Side of the Road: Cultural Poetics in an `Other' America (Princeton University Press, 1996) portrays a dense and textured layering of sense and form laid down in social use. Ordinary Affects (Duke University Press, 2007) maps the force, or affects, of encounters, desires, bodily states, dream worlds, and modes of attention and distraction in the composition and suffering of present moments lived as immanent events. Her current project, Worlding, tries to approach ways of collective living through or sensing out. An attunement that is also a worlding.

These works are experiments that write from the intensities in things, asking what potential modes of knowing, relating or attending to things are already being enacted and imagined in ordinary ways of living.

Additional affiliations: Women and Gender Studies

2002 Fellow, University of Texas Humanities Institute
2001 National Endowment for the Humanities Resident Fellow, School of American Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2000 Graduate Teaching Award, University of Texas
1997 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, Honorary Mention, Society for Humanistic Anthropology, for A Space on the Side of the Road.
1996 Chicago Folklore Prize, Honorary Mention, for A Space on the Side of the Road.

Recent Publications:
2007 Ordinary Affects. Duke University Press.

2006 Ordinary Resonance in Uncharted Territories: an experiment in finding missing cultural pieces. Edited by Orvar Lofgren.

2005 "Where the Past Meets the Future and Time Stands Still" in Histories of the Future, Susan Harding and Daniel Rosenberg, eds. Duke University Press.

2005 Cultural Poesis: The Generativity of Emergent Things. In Handbook of Qualitative Research, 3rd edition, eds. Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln. Sage.

2004 Signs. In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Rudy Abramson and Judy Haskell, eds., University of Tennessee Press.

2004 Still Life. Reprinted in Women on the verge of Home, ed. Bilinda Straight. SUNY Press.

2003 The Perfectly Ordinary Life. In Public Sentiments: Memory, Trauma, History, Action. Scholar and Feminist On Line, guest editors Ann Cvetkovich and Ann Pelegrini, 2:1 Summer.

2003 with Susan Harding. Anxieties of Influence. In Transparency and Conspiracy: Ethnographies of Suspicion in the New World Order, Todd Saunders and Harry West, eds. Duke University Press.

2003 Arresting Images. In Aesthetic Subjects: Pleasures, Ideologies, and Ethics, Pamela Matthews and David McWhirter, eds. University of Minnesota Press.

2002 Scenes of Life. In Public Culture 14:2.


ANT 324L • Ethnographic Writing

30559 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm SAC 5.118

This is a writing workshop. Students will keep free-writing journals and write four essays, each of which

will be built through 4 drafts. We will read one another’s writings and give useful comments. In class we

will proceed through a series of exercises and workshops in doing ethnography, writing and reading. We

will experiment with how to writing about objects, places, scenes and situations, characters, forms of

attention, and sensibilities.

ANT 394M • Anthropology Of Place

30705 • Fall 2015
Meets W 900am-1200pm SAC 5.124

ANT 394M • Affect

30845 • Spring 2015
Meets W 100pm-400pm SAC 5.124

This is a reading seminar and writing experiment on affect as a partially undisclosed force, the capacity to affect and to be affected and a point of emergence where the actual meets the potential. This means seeing forms, powers, socialites, aesthetics, and sensory registers not as the obvious effects of abstracted, pre-known structures and determinants but as lived intensities, impacts, circulation, assemblages, and planes of expressivity. A world is not a bounded unity but a multiplicity of trajectories of potentiality. Binary oppositions and contradictions become resonating relations (of inside/outside, action/reaction, quiescence and arousal…) compositions take place as rhythms, atmospheres, refrains and bodies. 


Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. 

Melissa Greg and Greg Seigworth. The Affect Studies Reader.

Kathleen Stewart. Ordinary Affects.

Lauren Berlant. Cruel Optimism.

John Protevi. Political Affect.

Derek McCormack. Refrains for Moving Bodies.

Yael Navarro-Yashin. The Make-Believe Space: Affective Geography in a Post-War Polity.

Rajchman. The Deleuze Connections.

William Connolly. A World of Becoming.


ANT 394M • Anthropology Of Place

31715 • Fall 2014
Meets T 100pm-400pm SAC 5.118

This is an advanced seminar on place. We’ll read a lot of theory. It will be a writing workshop in which students read their work each week and the discussion revolves around the writing. It’s helpful to have already done ethnographic fieldwork. Students should have a strong background in cultural theory. Readings will include

Deleuze, The Three Ecologies; Morton, Hyperobjects; Stewart, A Space on the Side of the Road; Feld and Basso, Senses of Place; Anderson and Harrison, Taking-Place: Non-representational theories and Geography; Auge, Non-Places and chapters from a number of ethnographies of place. 

ANT 394M • Worlding

31957 • Spring 2014
Meets TH 100pm-400pm SAC 5.124

ANT 391 • Infrastructure Theory

31582 • Fall 2013
Meets T 900am-1200pm SAC 4.120

ANT 391 • Writing Workshop

31490 • Spring 2013
Meets M 900am-1200pm SAC 5.118

This course is designed to help students writing PhDs, MAs, or articles learn to develop concepts and research projects through writing. We’ll read some writings as models and some works about writing but not too much. The course will be structured as a workshop – we will read one another’s work and give comments. Each person will turn in a short piece of writing every other week. Readings include a packet of selections (including works by invited speakers) and

Mark Doty  The Art of Description

Kirin Narayan  Alive in the Writing

ANT 394M • Affect

31560 • Spring 2011
Meets W 130pm-430pm SAC 4.118

This is a Deleuze-influenced reading and writing event. Deleuze re-worked social theory away from structures and determinations and linear developments toward an ontology of difference and flow. Away from binary oppositions or contradictions toward resonating levels of things like inside/outside, action/reaction, quiescence and arousal. Central to this move was his attention to affect as a vital point of emergence where the actual meets the potential. Affect is the thing that always exceeds or escapes its capture by anchored perspectives or categories including nameable "emotions." It's about the trajectory and unplanned productivity of complex interacting social forces. While it will be the underlying puzzlingof the seminar to try to imagine what this kind of attention does to anthropological theory and cultural studies, we will also spend time reading on affect through other traditions including Freud, feminist theory,phenomenology, globalization theory, and ethnography.

ANT 325L • Ethnographic Writing

30165 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 0.128

This is a writing workshop. We will read one another’s writings, proceeding through a series of exercises to add density and texture to ethnographic description by including attention to scene, character, event, situation, dialogue, etc. Why does writing matter in ethnography? How do forms of writing change cultural theory? What questions do forms of writing raise about subjects and objects, forms of attention, the possibility of thinking through description?

ANT 394M • New Ethnographic Writing

30390 • Fall 2010
Meets W 130pm-430pm EPS 1.130KA

This is a writing workshop. We will read one another’s weekly writings in addition to other readings. Why does writing matter? What’s ethnography? How do forms of writing change cultural theory? What questions do forms of writing raise about subjects and objects?

ANT 324L • Ethnographic Writing

81590 • Summer 2010
Meets MTWTH 100pm-300pm EPS 1.128


1999 - Bad Endings: American Apocalypsis (with Susan Harding) - 

2002 - Scenes Of Life/Kentucky Mountains - 

2010 - Worlding Refrains -

2011 - Atmospheric Attunements -

2012 - Precarity's Forms -

2013 - Tactile Compositions -

2014 - Road Registers -

Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages

External Links