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Beyond Imperial AestheticsTheories of Art and Politics in East Asia$
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Mayumo Inoue and Steve Choe

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455874

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455874.001.0001

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The Affective Multitude

The Affective Multitude

Toward a Transcultural Meaning of Enlightenment

(p.263) 12 The Affective Multitude
Beyond Imperial Aesthetics

Jon Solomon

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter calls for an emergence of an "affective multitude," an assemblage that is not organized according to the imagined binary between the universal (the West) and the particular (Asia). Instead, such an affective multitude produces its own resonance through an endless distribution of singularity to all sentient beings that traverse the presumed division between humans and nonhumans, and life and matter. Aligning Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna's notion of "dependent origination" to Althusser's concept of "over determination," Foucault's reconceptualization of Kant's notion of "enlightenment," and a more recent strand of object-oriented theorizations about causation as a constitutively aesthetic event, this chapter rethinks "enlightenment" as an irruption of singular beings that are solitary but never alone, always undergoing and practicing change through their mutual exposition and articulation. In doing so, this chapter reveals ways of thinking and feeling beyond imperial aesthetics, simultaneously contesting the biopolitics of East Asia and opening up more capacious links among material beings.

Keywords:   Area Studies, Affect, Multitude, Object-Oriented Ontology, Steven Shaviro, Nagarjuna, Enlightenment, Biopolitics

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