Kathleen C. Stewart
Professor — Ph.D., University of Michigan
Cultural generativity, affect, ordinary life, public culture, political imaginaries, ethnographic writing, narrative, ethnopoetics, post-structuralism, U.S. popular culture, Appalachia, Las Vegas.
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.
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.
Forthcoming. Co-authored with Joseph Russo. “Affective Ecologies” The Feelings of Structure. Karen Engle and Yok Sum Wong, eds.
Forthcoming. Co-authored with Joseph Russo. “Arriving at Singularity.” Writers on Writing, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
Forthcoming, 2016. “The Point of Precision”. Sharon Marcus, Heather Love, and Stephen Best, eds. The Arts of Description, special issue. Representations.
2015. “Afterword.” Archipelagos: A Voyage in Writing. Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean, eds. Duke University Press.
2015. Co authored with Lesley Stern. “Companion Pieces Written Through a Drift.” In Sensitive Objects eds. Jonas Frykman and Maja Povrzanovic. Lund, Sweden: Nordic Academic Press.
2015. “Preface” Affective Landscapes ed. Neil Campbell. London: Ashgate.
2015. “Place and Sensory Composition”. In The Intelligence of Place: From Topology to Poetics. Jeff Malpas, ed., Routledge.
2014. Co-authored with Elizabeth Lewis. “Affect and Emotion”. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. eds Dominic Boyer
2014. Co-authored with Jennifer Carlson. “Mood Work.” New Formations issue 82-83, pp. 40-70.
2014. “New England Red”. Non-Representational Methodologies. Phillip Vannini, ed. Routledge.
2014. “Tactile Compositions.” Objects and Materials. Penelope Harvey and Eleanor Casella, eds. Routledge, 775-810.
2013. “Matter Poems” Excursions: Telling Stories and Journeys. Hayden Lorimer and Hester Parr, eds. Special issue of Cultural Geographies, 119-224.
2013. “Regionality”. Geographical Review. 103 (2): 275-284
2013. “An Autoethnography of What Happens”. Handbook of Autoethnography. Eds. Stacey Holman Jones, Tony Adams and Carolyn Ellis. Left Coast Press, 880-920.
2013. “A Life, A List, A Line”. in The Social Life of Achievement. Ed. Nick Long, Cambridge University Press, 222-256.
2012. “Pockets” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Vol. 9, No. 4, 365-368.
2012. “Precarity’s Forms. Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 27 No. 3, 518-525.
2010. “Refrains.” In The Affect Theory Reader, eds. Mellissa Greg and Gregory Seigworth, Duke University Press, 339-353.
2010. “Writing Critique.” Author reply to special issue on Ordinary Affects. Social and Cultural Geography. Ed. Maria Fannin. Vol 11, No 8.
2010. “Atmospheric Attunements”. Society and Space. Special Issue of Environment and Planning D. Ed. Mark Jackson. Vol. 29, No. 3, 445-453.
2008. co-authored with Scott Webel. “anthropologie now”. Anthropology Now, 1 (1), 51-54.
2008. “Weak Theory in an Unfinished World”. Journal of Folklore Research, volume 45, issue 1, 71-82.
2006. “Still Life” in Off the Edge: Experiments in Cultural Analysis. Eds. Orvar Lofgren and Richard Wilk. University of Copenhagen, pp. 91-96. (reprinted from Ethnologia Europaea 35:1-2. 2005).
2005. “Trauma Time: A Still Life” in Histories of the Future, Susan Harding and Daniel Rosenberg, eds. Duke University Press, pp. 321-340.
2005. “Cultural Poesis: The Generativity of Emergent Things.” Handbook of Qualitative Research, 3rd edition, eds. Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln. Sage, pp. 1027-1042.
2005. “Still Life” in Women on the Verge of Home, ed. Bilinda Straight. SUNY Press, pp. 27-44.(reprinted)
2005. Still Life. Ethnologia Europea. Journal of European Ethnology, volume 35, issue 1-2. Eds. Orvar Lofgren and Richard Wilk. Museum Tusculanum Press, pp. 91-96.
2004. “Signs” Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Rudy Abramson and Judy Haskell, eds., University of Tennessee Press, pp. 1637-40.
2003. The Perfectly Ordinary Life. Public Sentiments: Memory, Trauma, History, Action. Scholar and Feminist On Line, guest editors Ann Cvetkovich and Ann Pellegrini, 2:1 Summer. (nonpaginated. 10 single-spaced pages).
2003. with Susan Harding. “Anxieties of Influence: Conspiracy Theory and Therapeutic Culture in Millennial America” in Transparency and Conspiracy: Ethnographies of Suspicion in the New World Order, Todd Saunders and Harry West, eds. Duke University Press, pp. 258-286.
2003. Arresting Images" in Aesthetic Subjects: Pleasures, Ideologies, and Ethics, Pamela Matthews and David McWhirter, eds. University of Minnesota Press, pp. 431-448.
2002. Machine Dreams" in Modernism, Inc.: Essays on American Modernity, Jani Scanduri and Michael Thurston, eds. New York University Press, pp. 21-28.
2002. “Scenes of Life” Public Culture 14:2, pp. 349-359.
2000. “Death Sightings” Cross Cultural Poetics, volume 3, issue 3, pp. 7-11.
2000 “Still Life.” in Intimacy, Lauren Berlant, ed., University of Chicago Press, pp. 405-420.
2000. "Real American Dreams (Can Be Nightmares)." in Cultural Studies and Political Theory, Jodi Dean, ed. Cornell University Press, pp. 243-257.
1999. "Conspiracy Theory's Worlds." in Paranoia Within Reason: A Casebook on Conspiracy as Explanation, ed. George Marcus, University of Chicago Press, pp. 13-20.
1999. "Bad Endings: American Apocalypsis." (co-authored with Susan Harding). Annual Review of Anthropology, volume 28, pp. 285-310.
1999.“Trauma, U.S.A.” in A - Z. Vol 1, No. 1, pp. 71-82.
1996. "An Occupied Place." in Senses of Place, Steven Feld and Keith Basso, eds. School of American Research, pp. 137-166.
1995. “Bitter Faiths." in Technoscientific Imaginaries: Conversations, Profiles, and Memoirs, George Marcus, ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 381-97.
1993. "Nostalgia: a Polemic." in George Marcus, ed., Re-reading Cultural Anthropology, Duke University Press, pp. 252-266. (reprinted)
1993. "Engendering Narratives of Lament in Country Music." in All That Glitters: Country Music in America, George Lewis, ed. Bowling Green State U. Press, pp. 224-228.
1991. "On the Politics of Cultural Theory: A Case for `Contaminated' Critique." Social Research. 58(2), pp. 395 412.
1990. "Back talking the Wilderness: `Appalachian' En genderings." in Uncertain Terms: Negotiating Gender in American Culture, Faye Ginsburg and Anna Tsing, eds.,. Boston: Beacon Press, pp. 43 56.
1988. "Nostalgia: a Polemic." Cultural Anthropology, 3(3), pp. 227 241.
1981. "Symbolic Dynamics of Male Dominance and Male Ranking: Historical and Contemporary Cases from American Culture." Michigan Discussions in Anthropology, 6(2), pp. 36-79.
1980. "The Marriage of Capitalist and Patriarchal Ideologies: Meanings of Male Bonding and Male Ranking in U.S. Culture." in Women and Revolution, Lydia Sargent, ed. Boston: South End Press, pp. 269-312.
New England Red
New England Red
Redness is a refrain scored onto the material-affective landscape of New England. A contact aesthetics of a love affair with color and light that begins not in the socially constructed meaning of the apple or the maple tree’s red leaves in autumn, but in the banal and sentimental labors of becoming sentient to a world. Redness is lodged in the actual circulations and lived affects of the first colonial attachments to primary colors, the dairy industry and the maple sugar cottage house, picturesque calendars, a body of poetry, the popularity of Yankee magazine’s compositions of steady old no-nonsense ways.
New England redness has a prismatic ecology. It fans out in singularities capturing the quality of redness in the spark from red leaf to red barn to red apple against white snow, white steeple, white houses green grass, green mountains dark, dark ocean, lakes, ponds, the white red blue of flags everywhere, buntings, the primariness of color here. I ask how redness here became ambient, atmospheric, a worlding. How it nudged hard matter into a mapping of visual saturation and exposure to the elements. How redness became an open ambit.
Forms of Attachment Discussion
Discussion: Forms of Attachment, ICI Berlin - 2012
Full Lecture Here
Affective attachments can be regarded as fostering a kind of complementarity, yet without negating the tense nature of mixed and sometimes contradicting feelings. We would like to investigate this aspect in more detail by posing the following questions: How do affective attachments function as structures of relationality that organize lived experiences of the present? What role do sensory registers play in the accretion of habits, histories, and rhythms of living into forms of sociality? What forms of life are made possible and available, disavowed and denied by ambivalent investments in objects of promise and nostalgia that appear increasingly frayed, including neoliberal good-life fantasies and images of sovereign and imperial nation-states? How are these investments sustained and how do they circulate in what Kathleen Stewart describes as the “charged atmosphere” of ordinary living?
"Method Acting" | Afterlives
Leading anthropologist Kathleen C Stewart gives a talk on the charged atmospheres of everyday life, attuning to the ecology of practices and methods of acting. "Sometimes an attunement to whatever’s happening becomes so acute it drops into the pathic entrainment of method acting. Sharp little points of precision refract an ecology of practices. Little bits of social compost become a thing - a joke, a hat worn a certain way. Living and non-living things venture into an incipiency: “The mobile and immobile flickering / In the area between is and was” (Wallace Stevens). You try to keep your wits about you. You learn to catch a passing quip or to turn your head away. There are receptivity mistakes. Maybe the poise of a balancing act. At best, the fluidity of a perfect timing." - Kathleen C. Stewart
In conjunction with the French Institute Alliance Française’s Crossing the Line festival, and in collaboration with Columbia University School of the Arts as part of Curating the Ephemeral, MoMA's Department of Media and Performance Art hosts three talks for Afterlives: The Persistence of Performance. Convened by Adrian Heathfield and André Lepecki, Afterlives addresses the ways in which so-called ephemeral art persists over time. Performance is increasingly documented, archived, institutionally incorporated, and globally disseminated. While its ephemeral nature is often celebrated, its inherent transience binds it to its many returns—its mediations and afterlives. Today, criticism is focused more on the recurrence and persistence of performance than on its disappearance. Performance’s material remains linger as vague memories, oral legend, transmitted techniques, or infrastructures of feeling.
(Turkish Translation of Ordinary Affects)
A Space on the Side of the Road: Cultural Poetics in an 'Other' America
A Space on the Side of the Road: Cultural Poetics in an 'Other' America
Princeton University Press