On Good Listening, Postcritique, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Affective Testimony

  • Tobias Skiveren
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Affect Theory and Literary Criticism book series (PSATLC)


This chapter argues that a methodological shift from critical inquiry driven by a hermeneutics of suspicion toward more affective modes of reading can make literature a useful technology for cultivating a sensibility to the affective experiences of other corporealities. In contrast to skeptical approaches to “fellow-feeling” and “compassionate emotions” exhibited by prominent feminist figures like Sara Ahmed and Lauren Berlant, this chapter adopts the ideas of affect theory and new materialism to the study of literature by means of what Rita Felski has termed a “postcritical attitude.” Turning to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me (2015), the chapter shows how such an adaptation makes literature available as a useful technology for—in Latour’s phrasing—“learning to be affected” by the lives of others.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Skiveren
    • 1
  1. 1.Scandinavian StudiesAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark

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