Mobilising affect in feminist, queer and anti-racist media cultures

The power of vulnerability interrogates the new language of vulnerability that has emerged in feminist, queer and anti-racist debates about the production, use and meanings of media. The book investigates the historical legacies and contemporary forms and effects of this language. In today’s media culture, traumatic first-person or group narratives have popular currency, mobilising affect from compassion to rage to gain cultural visibility and political advantage. In this context, vulnerability becomes a kind of capital, a resource or an asset that can and has been appropriated for various groups and purposes in public discourses, activism as well as cultural institutions. Thus, politics of representation translates into politics of affect, and the question about whose vulnerability counts as socially and culturally legible and acknowledged. The contributors of the book examine how vulnerability has become a battleground; how affect and vulnerability have turned into a politicised language for not only addressing but also obscuring asymmetries of power; and how media activism and state policies address so-called vulnerable groups. While the contributors investigate the political potential as well as the constraints of vulnerability for feminist, queer and antiracist criticism, they also focus on the forms of agency and participation vulnerability can offer.

Translatina world-making in The Salt Mines and Wildness
Laura Horak

 95 6 VISIBILITY AND VULNERABILITY Translatina world-​making in The Salt Mines and Wildness Laur a Hor ak M idway through the documentary film Wildness (US, Wu Tsang, 2012), we see a montage of glowing night-​time Los Angeles streets and a laughing and posing translatina woman. Over a pulsing beat, the husky, feminine voice of the Silver Platter, a half-​century-​old Latinx gay bar, testifies (in Spanish): My ladies are strong … But we all have our limits. Not only do they live in fear of being deported, they also have to deal with abuse from their families

in The power of vulnerability
Anu Koivunen, Katariina Kyrölä, and Ingrid Ryberg

 1 1 VULNERABILITY AS A POLITICAL LANGUAGE A nu Koi v une n, K atar iina K yröl ä a nd I ngr id  Ry berg I n present-​ day public discussions, questions of power, agency, and the media are debated more intensely than ever as issues of injury or empowerment. Vulnerability has emerged as a key concept circulating in these discussions and their academic analyses. The #MeToo campaign, as well as its extensions like #TimesUp and versions in various languages across the globe, has been taken up as a key example of these tendencies, showing how the public

in The power of vulnerability
Katariina Kyrölä

 29 2 NEGOTIATING VULNERABILITY IN THE TRIGGER WARNING DEBATES K atar iina  K y r ö l ä S ince around 2012, the use of trigger warnings or content warnings has spread all over the Internet and, to some extent, academic classrooms. Warnings about content that may be upsetting, offensive or that could trigger post-​traumatic stress responses abound online, particularly in contexts where the addressed include people or groups deemed marginalised, disadvantaged or traumatised. Trigger or content warnings have most commonly been linked to online images and texts

in The power of vulnerability
Johanna Gondouin, Suruchi Thapar-Björkert, and Ingrid Ryberg

 116 7 WHITE VULNERABILITY AND THE POLITICS OF REPRODUCTION IN TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL Jo ha n na G ond ouin, Suruc hi Thapar- ​Björ k ert a nd I ngr id  Ry berg T  op of The Lake: China Girl (Australia, Jane Campion, 2017) is the sequel to Jane Campion and Gerard Lee’s crime series Top of the Lake from 2013, directed by Campion and Ariel Kleiman. After four years of absence, Inspector Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) returns to the Sydney Police Force and comes to lead the murder case of an unidentified young Asian woman, found in a suitcase at Bondi Beach

in The power of vulnerability
The Law and Politics of Responding to Attacks against Aid Workers
Julia Brooks and Rob Grace

towards operating in insecure environments ( Humanitarian Practice Network, 2010 ; Egeland et al. , 2011 ; Healy and Tiller, 2014 ; Neuman, 2016 ; Jackson and Zyck, 2017 ). Whether humanitarian insecurity has actually increased in recent years is the subject of often heated debate among practitioners, analysts and policymakers ( Dandoy, 2014 ; Weissman, 2016 ). After all, humanitarian actors have always faced security risks in their endeavours to deliver assistance to, and promote protection for, vulnerable people amid ongoing armed conflicts, natural disasters

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Aid Industry and the ‘Me Too’ Movement
Charlotte Lydia Riley

associated with sex work are all vulnerable to abuse. All women, in short, are at risk in the aid and development sector whether they are working for INGOs or recipients of aid, in all areas of the aid industry, both in Britain and overseas; but some women are more vulnerable than others. The aid industry’s uncomfortable relationship with its own imperial past also enables this abusive environment. This relationship has been explored as part of the new humanitarian

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design
Mark Duffield

political change, vulnerability becomes a direct or unmediated experience characteristic of the life-world of the person concerned. Just as important as material aid, if not more so, is fast access to sympathetic value-added information. With design having supplanted politics within the post-humanitarian canon, the discursive field is bounded by the interplay between the empathy of the onlooker or practitioner and the direct experience of the affected. 10 The aim is no longer to control or contain disasters – it’s more about improving how they

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
An Excerpt from Bill V. Mullen’s New Biography, James Baldwin: Living in Fire, and an Interview with the Author
Bill V. Mullen

This excerpt from James Baldwin: Living in Fire details a key juncture in Baldwin’s life, 1957–59, when he was transformed by a visit to the South to write about the civil rights movement while grappling with the meaning of the Algerian Revolution. The excerpt shows Baldwin understanding black and Arab liberation struggles as simultaneous and parallel moments in the rise of Third World, anti-colonial and anti-racist U.S. politics. It also shows Baldwin’s emotional and psychological vulnerability to repressive state violence experienced by black and Arab citizens in the U.S., France, and Algiers.

James Baldwin Review
The Experience of Dislocated Listening
Rashida K. Braggs

“It is only in his music [. . .] that the Negro in America has been able to tell his story. It is a story which otherwise has yet to be told and which no American is prepared to hear,” so wrote James Baldwin in “Many Thousands Gone.” Throughout his career, James Baldwin returned to this incomprehension of African-American experience. He continually privileged music in his literature, crafting his own literary blues to address it. Baldwin’s blues resonated even more powerfully and painfully for its emotional and geographical dislocation. In this article, Rashida K. Braggs argues that it was the combination of music, word, and migration that prompted Baldwin’s own deeper understanding. Exploring her term dislocated listening, Braggs investigates how listening to music while willfully dislocated from one’s cultural home prompts a deeper understanding of African-American experience. The distance disconcerts, leaving one more vulnerable, while music impels the reader, audience, and even Baldwin to identify with some harsh realities of African-American experience. Baldwin evokes the experience of dislocated listening in his life and in “Sonny’s Blues.” Braggs also creates an experience of dislocated listening through her video performance of Baldwin’s words, thus attempting to draw the reader as well into a more attuned understanding of African-American experience.

James Baldwin Review