Willful Subjects

Sara Ahmed author


Publisher:Duke University Press

Published:25th Aug '14

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Willful Subjects cover

In Willful Subjects Sara Ahmed explores willfulness as a charge often made by some against others. One history of will is a history of attempts to eliminate willfulness from the will. Delving into philosophical and literary texts, Ahmed examines the relation between will and willfulness, ill will and good will, and the particular will and general will. Her reflections shed light on how will is embedded in a political and cultural landscape, how it is embodied, and how will and willfulness are socially mediated. Attentive to the wayward, the wandering, and the deviant, Ahmed considers how willfulness is taken up by those who have received its charge. Grounded in feminist, queer, and antiracist politics, her sui generis analysis of the willful subject, the figure who wills wrongly or wills too much, suggests that willfulness might be required to recover from the attempt at its elimination.

"Willful Subjects is a rich, complex, wondrous archive of willfulness. The array of texts, voices, problems and approaches is both painstaking and playful, validating and challenging."  -- Heather Rakes * xcphilosophy blog *
“In Willful Subjects, cultural theorist Sara Ahmed provides a history of willfulness. Her study reveals some significant and fascinating aspects of this history, and points to areas of future scholarly enquiry. . . . The book offers a comprehensive and intellectually rigorous treatise on a topic that is more complex than it may initially appear. This text also provides further evidence of Ahmed’s scholarly nous. “ -- Jay Daniel Thompson * M/C Reviews *
“Ahmed has produced an erudite archive of willfulness, tracing the ideas of the will and willfulness through Western thought since Augustine.  Admonitory fairy tales and George Eliot’s novels serve as articulations of philosophy.  Ahmed engages in a queer reading of willfulness, a reading that does not presume that willfulness is negative. . . . Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.” -- J. L. Croissant * Choice *
“Ahmed effectively imitates the twisting together of thought, affect, memory, and insight, drawing connections between things that may appear disparate, and noticing disjunctions in what was previously knit together. … [B]y drawing widely and richly on works of philosophy, literature, film, and everydayness, Ahmed shows how in social life, one affect or action may be judged to be quite another. This allows us to attend not only to behaviors and orientations, but to how those are read by others, to why and in what ways certain actions and affects are felt and interpreted as problematic, as willful.” -- Anna Mudde * Hypatia *
“Ahmed’s insights, as always, are both intellectually fertile and provocative; Willful Subjects will not disappoint.” -- Margrit Shildrick * Signs *
Willful Subjects is essential reading for those working in feminism, disability studies, queer theory, critical race studies, and/or phenomenology who reject the notion that a new world or a better one is simply tied to asserting the will to make it so. This is a book for those willing to slow down to queer the will and contemplate what we have been up to, willingly or not.” -- Tanya Titchkosky * Contemporary Women's Writing *
“Without being too idealistic, this book should be in the collection of every activist and organiser working to create a different world. The last chapter in particular offers much that can reinforce and reinvigorate the willful when feeling isolated and downbeat. Followers of Sara Ahmed’s work will not be disappointed with her latest offering.” -- Lizzy Willmington * Feminist Legal Studies *
"This rousing text remains a valuable assessment of historical and contemporary ideas of will and willfulness and a far-reaching exploration of potential new perspectives on our identification and evaluation of the willful subject." -- Hannah Simpson * College Literature *

ISBN: 9780822357674

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: 540g

320 pages