Are feminists really angry, unreasoning, man-haters who argue only from an emotional perspective as some claim? Does the incessant repetition of this trope make anti-feminism and misogyny a routine element in everyday speech? And does this repetition work towards delegitimizing feminist arguments and/or undermining feminist politics? How do skilled feminist writers deploy affect to advance feminist ideas? In Feminismand Affect at the Scene of Argument, Barbara Tomlinson addresses these questions, providing a lucid examination of the role of affect in feminist and antifeminist academic arguments.
Using case studies from controversies in socio-legal studies, musicology, and science studies, among other disciplines, Tomlinson examines the rhetorics of anger, contempt, betrayal, intensification, and ridicule. She employs a set of critical tools—feminist “socio-forensic” discursive analysis—that will prove indispensible for understanding and countering tropes like that of the angry feminist. Moreover, these tools will advance feminism, which, she argues, is generated in and by arguments with allies and antagonists.
In an era of debates that generate more heat than light, Feminism and Affectat the Scene of Argument offers a timely provocation for transforming the terms of reading and writing in scholarship and civic life.