Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Our social world is increasingly chaotic. Perhaps there has always been chaos; but our increasingly globalized landscape and information economy seems to place chaos on the frontlines—as videos of military strikes in Iraq, or mundane narratives about making it through another day are available for consumption at any time. Our social world produces. The question: What to do with it all? This dissertation explores the concept of affect, using a collage methodology. To conduct an exploration of affect, which “transpires within and across the subtlest of shuttling intensities” (Seigworth and Gregg 2), this dissertation both explores and performs collage; taking collage as both an artifact for investigation using affect theory, as well as a methodological approach participating in the creation of affect theory. As a result of this commitment, the reader is invited to enter this document in any order they wish—reading directly through, or skipping around chapters as it suits them. As a method, collage operates through placing at least two different things next to each other, and then looking for similarities and differences. Each chapter explores differences by juxtaposing artifacts selected because of a similarity that they shared. Spatial (Harvey Butchart and the Havasupai Native Americans), methodological (the It Gets Better project and Ray Johnson), temporal (September 11, 2001 and September 11, 1973), or praxis-based (Chelsea Manning and Aaron Swartz) similarities guided the juxtaposition of artifacts within each chapter. In addition, each chapter explores a distinct version of affect theory to add to the collage created within and throughout this dissertation. Each chapter is a canyon, collected within the grand canyon of the dissertation as a whole. Ultimately, this dissertation is guided by both academic and artistic impulses. I seek to explore and produce affect theory through deploying the methodology of collage. Drawn to moments that often escape rational interrogation, this dissertation invokes echoes as evidence in order to mobilize a system of resonance through juxtaposition that realizes the power of collage: Establishing interpretive frames that refuse to be finished or fixed. Through the performance of collage methodology, this dissertation seeks to implicitly argue for rhizomatic knowledge systems as a method of resistance to structures of oppression via an aesthetic mobilization of collage.
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