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Politics of Feeling

Project leader:
Gerardo Montes de Oca Valadez

Funded by:
Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) | DOC

Gerardo Montes de Oca Valadez, Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies
Duration: 1.12.2017 – 29.2.2020

Politics of Feeling is a transdisciplinary research project that explores the qualities and struggles of indigenous movements in Mexico today from a decolonial stand. It focuses on the aesthetic and affective dimensions of experience as forms of politics and as sites of resistance and liberation. The aesthetic realm of experience is understood and articulated beyond Western, colonial, modern, instrumental rationality as a decolonizing conceptual and analytical space.

By elaborating a decolonial genealogy, Politics of Feeling wants to demonstrate, describe, and explain the critical role that both aesthetics and politics of affectivity have played historically both in power operations of domination, on the one hand, and resistance and liberation, on the other. The aim is to analyze the pre-reflexive, embodied, and affective dimensions of experience that sustain the modern system of power and knowledge in Western modern thought. For it, the project approaches the articulation of power operations and affects from the perspective of the living aesthetic experience of the excluded in Latin America. Therefore, the fieldwork is concentrated in the performative, affective, embodied, narrative, oral, visual, graphic, poetic, and collective dimensions of the indigenous struggles. From this point on, the reaearch project sets to discuss the configurations of these elements in the context of Latin American history and indigenous struggles. Specifically, it focuses on the joint project of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) and the Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI) who have begun a new phase in their struggle announced in 2016. The work of EZLN and CNI resists colonial, capitalist, and patriarchal ways of life and domination. However, their projects move forward to build liberation and autonomy grounded on their own genealogies, living experience, and epistemologies. In this context, Politics of Feeling move towards the analysis of the decolonial aesthetic thought and actions of the EZLN and CNI movements.

This transdisciplinary research situates itself in the intersection of decolonial theory, feminisms, art theory, affect theory, psychology and politics. The inquiry starts in Vienna, continues with a fieldwork period in different parts of Mexico, and finalizes in Vienna.