CFP: Exploring Affect: Politics & The Ordinary in Druskininkai

CFP Exploring affect: Politics & The Ordinary

Nordic Summer University | European Humanities University

July 18th – 25th 2015 | Druskininkai, Lithuania

Invited keynote speakers are Ben Highmore, professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex, and Roberta Mock, professor of Performance Studies and Director of the Doctoral Training Centre in the Arts & Humanities at Plymouth University.

Exploring affect is an interdisciplinary network and we welcome papers drawing on the social sciences and the humanities broadly construed. Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

The Ordinary

Generally debased in an academic context, the ordinary has often been reduced to that which scholarly and aesthetic endeavors have to leave behind for critical thinking or artistic creation to get off the ground (Felski 2000; 2008). In critical race and feminist theory and similar pursuits, the ordinary has on the other hand been an important category to address, early examples being Philomena Essed’s work on ”everyday racism” (1991) and Dorothy Smith’s notion that the ”everyday world” is “problematic” (1987). In making the ordinary a theme for this session, we want to explore the affective dimensions of everyday life from a plurality of perspectives.

Possible topics include:

* The affects, emotions and moods of everyday life.
* Affect and cultural history.
* Affect and “sensescapes”.
* Affect and the microstructures of power.
* ”Ordinary language philosophy” and affect.
* Affect and everyday life in visual culture and literature.
* The politics of the ordinary.


Since Plato, the image of the philosopher king who rules guided by reason has haunted Western history of ideas. Through philosophers such as John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas, the concepts of (public) reason and rationality still remain central to contemporary political theory. However, in the last decades there has also been a growing body of scholarship on political theory and affect (e.g. Connolly 2002, Bennett 2010, Panagia 2010, Thiele 2006, Nedelsky 2011). Others rather address “political emotions” (Nussbaum 2013) or the “politics of emotions” (Ahmed 2004). For this summer session we invite papers discussing affect and politics, potentially in connection to the theme of the ordinary.

Possible topics include:

* Affect and reason in political philosophy, in a historical or contemporary perspective.
* Affect and the problem of judgment.
* The relationship between theory or critical thinking and everyday life.
* Affects in political ideologies, movements and parties.
* Politics, affect and the construction of identity.
* Affect and borders.
* Affect and the division between the public and the private.
* The affective dimensions of feminist/queer/anti-racist politics.
* The politics of affect or emotions.


Anyone interested in presenting a paper or organizing a workshop at the summer session in Druskininkai is invited to submit an abstract of approximately 300 words and a short bio to no later than May 1st, 2015. (Please note that the deadline is April 15th if you want to apply for a grant or a student scholarship, see below). As the work of the circle is built around the contributions of the participants we generally require all participants to present, but we also have some spots for discussants. If you wish to participate without presenting a paper, please write 50-100 words about yourself and submit it no later than May 1st, 2015. You will receive notice about your acceptance shortly after the deadline together with further information on how to register. A preliminary program will be sent to the participants by May 15th.

Practical information

The summer session takes place in the city of Druskininkai in southern Lithuania at the Europa Royale Druskininkai Hotel. It is organized together with the seven other circles in the Nordic Summer University and in collaboration with the European Humanities University, the exiled Belorussian University relocated to Vilnius. The total number of participants is expected to be between 100 and 120. The circle Exploring affect will have its own program, but as a participant you will have the opportunity to visit and partake in the work of the other circles. There will also be a cultural program and a chance to go on excursions in the surroundings of Druskininkai. Children can be brought along, as there is a children’s circle during the academic work sessions. PhD candidates receive 5 ECTS for the presentation of a paper and full participation during the week.

The cost of participating in the summer session ranges from 232 € to 407 €, depending on what accommodation you choose. Full board is included in all prices. Further information about accommodation and prices, as well as the location, excursions and cultural program, is found on the summer session website:

Scholarships and grants

A number of student scholarships and grants for others in need of financial support will be provided. They consist in a reduction of the participation fee and include all meals and accommodation in a shared room. Some limited voluntary work will be required from the scholarship and grant recipients during the week. Please note that the deadline for applying for a scholarship or grant is April 15th. The application process and criteria are explained in greater detail on the website:

About the Nordic Summer University

Founded in 1950, the Nordic Summer University is an independent, non-profit academic institution that fosters intellectual and cultural exchange between the Nordic and the Baltic countries. Focusing on interdisciplinary inquiry, the NSU is open for senior scholars as well as doctoral and graduate students and professionals with relevant backgrounds. Until 2013 the NSU was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, but as of 2014 it has been moved to NordForsk.

About the circle

Exploring affect was started in 2013 and gathers twice every year for three years. The themes that have been addressed earlier are Shame, Affect and Knowledge, Affect and/as Critique, Structures of Affect, and Love. The circle has strong interdisciplinary ambitions and participants should be prepared to engage with work from other fields, disciplines and traditions than their own. We wish to provide a platform for the different perspectives to inform each other, thereby deepening the scope of each individual research endeavor, as well as of the shared body of knowledge. We are happy to include new participants in the work of the circle and welcome contributions in different stages of completion.


Coordinators of Exploring affect are Jutta Vikman, Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen and Johanna Sjöstedt, Department of literature, history of ideas and religious studies, Göteborg University. Contact the coordinators at

Read more about the Nordic Summer University on the website: or join our group Exploring affect (NSU) on Facebook.

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