Professor Malin’s article, “The Path to the Machine: Affect Studies, Technology, and the Question of Ineffability,” was published in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies in February, 2016.
Here is the article’s abstract:
From the 1990s to the early twenty-first century, a range of writers in sociology, history, and cultural studies would increasingly see emotion as an important area of study. This “affective turn” has offered an important corrective to standard scientific conceptions of emotion, highlighting the mysteries of embodiment that are ignored by a narrowly empirical approach. While celebrating this development, this paper offers a series of cautions drawn from a comparative history of scholarly attention to emotion. Similarly to the early twenty-first century understanding of affect, the social sciences of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century employed a neo-romantic conception of emotion. By the 1920s, this idea would be subsumed into a new scientific paradigm that saw the new recording technologies as perfect vehicles for taming the mysteries of emotion. I discuss strategies for avoiding this scientizing of emotion in our own period, which is similarly taken with a series of “new technologies.”