Xine YaoJul 19, 2022
The Cultural Politics of Unfeeling in Nineteenth-Century America
Duke University Press 2021
What is unfeeling? According to today’s guest, Xine Yao, unfeeling includes “a broad range of affective modes, including withholding, disregard, growing a thick skin, refusing to care, opacity, numbness, dissociation, inscrutability, frigidity, insensibility, obduracy, flatness, insensitivity, disinterest, coldness, heartlessness, fatigue, desensitization, and emotional unavailability.”
In short, Xine argues in a new book from Duke University Press, titled Disaffected: The Cultural Politics of Unfeeling in Nineteenth-Century America, “people who are disaffected break from affectability and present themselves as unaffected” (11). Xine is a Lecturer of English before 1900 at University College London. Xine is a BBC Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker and the co-host of the PhDivas Podcast which focuses on social justice and academia across the STEM/Humanities divide. Disaffected is an urgent book that examines how sentimentality was (and is) a part of the political architecture of white supremacy and governmentality—and the forms of unfeeling that writers of color used (and continue to use) to roil that architecture.
John Yargo holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His specializations are early modern literature, the environmental humanities, and critical race studies. His dissertation explores early modern representations of environmental catastrophe, including The Tempest, Oroonoko, and the poetry of Milton. He has published in Studies in Philology, The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and Shakespeare Studies.