Notes: Interesting article about ‘feeling’ in analytical writing…

Here is an interesting article about feelings and the way we are supposed to view how people read; and write. “….physical, imaginative reading is still associated with women, still considered embarrassing, and still employed as a form of resistance to mainstream narratives. ”  (Wilson, 2016)

But …. “There is a new belief that objectivity in literary criticism is not only undesirable but impossible. Increasingly, graduate students are trained not to avoid saying ‘I feel…’, and to consider how their own bodily experiences, inflected by gender, race, sexuality and class, shape their interactions with literature” (Wilson, 2016)

Read the rest here: How a medieval mystic was the first creator of fanfiction: Full Body Reading

An anthropology book, Taboo; Sex, identity and erotic subjectivity in anthropological field work ,  which I read a few years ago explores objectivity vs. subjectivity, and is critical of any wholesale rejection of feeling in ethnographic work. Jill Dubish quotes James Clifford in a chapter, “”Every version of an “other”, wherever it is found is also a construction of ‘self'” (1986;23) (1995; 47).Transfer this thought to the humanities and we might consider taking note of the less ‘academically’ minded self when thinking about any text we are be looking at. Mind and body are not separate things. This is fast becoming accepted and I will spend some time finding further articles to back this up if necessary – perhaps for reference in A5. Taboo was written in the 90s so these thoughts are not new or radical, but I have been told to write less emotionally here. Whilst I’m sure there are plenty in the field of anthropology as well as art criticism who are aghast at the inclusion of subjective writing, and there are bound to be any number of challenges to overcome, I’m not at all convinced that rejecting ‘feeling’ is valuable. All of this is certainly something I hope to continue reading about and exploring as I move forward.

Dubish, J (1995) Clifford, J (1986) Ed. Kulick, D. and Willson, M. (1995). Taboo. 1st ed. London: Routledge, p.47.

Aeon. (2016). How a medieval mystic was the first creator of fanfiction – Anna Wilson | Aeon Essays. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Nov. 2016].


4 thoughts on “Notes: Interesting article about ‘feeling’ in analytical writing…

  1. “The hermeneutics of suspicion”. That’s an excellent phrase. I employ that on newspaper articles and also on a photograph when I’ve taken a dislike to it for some reason and want to explore how that could be. It s a useful approach at times but much less so when I feel emotionally engaged with an image. I’m starting to wonder whether there are male/female ‘preferences’, whether I’m responding to the artist’s intention/conceptual approach and how much this is to do with the dialogue between us – the mutual interaction between myself as viewer and the artist. that’s just for starters.


    1. It’s a good thinking point isn’t it? I had a meeting cancelled this morning and should have spent the time reading more but have been piddling about with images instead. But then, that’s quite important too. It’s good you make yourself consider why you don’t like something. Well done… I am far less open minded I think. Not sure I could be a teacher of art – “that’s crap,” I’d want to say too much. Someone sent me this thing last year about the education of art and it was fascinating… let me see if I can find it, about how teachers need to be open minded. I definitely think who you are and how you’ve been conditioned to see affects your way of seeing images, or anything for that matter. And I am very pleased to see an academic valuing the entire body-system. I watched a doc. about Nietzsche last night and according it, he believed that art was the sole thing that alleviated the horror of being alive. If that’s true it doesn’t matter if it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – it’s done its job somewhere alone the line simply by existing.


  2. Objectivity vs. subjectivity is a very interesting (and vast) issue. I think that there is always some subjective aspects in every academic text, no matter how analytically and objectively written this is. This is noticeable especially in conclusions, which are (or supposed to be) drawn from logical arguments. However, there is always ‘in my opinion’ which is expressed more or less directly, it depends on a style of an author. I think every person (even academics) has his/her own opinions and believes, the thing is to admit it openly and accept that feeling shape our thinking. I’m not sure is a gender issue or cultural issue or both. In my opinion, feelings affect out intellectual ideas, non-intellectual beliefs, direct our preferences and interests, and it’s natural and nothing to be ashamed of.
    I’m looking forward to reading some more about your research and exploration. Good luck!


    1. Thanks for your comment. I think it’s fascinating. I also think overly clinical language can be used like armour by some people as they protect themselves from feeling anything at all, infect Ive seen that in action. I did read an article about academic writing which said it always carries the writer’s world view, but I think that’s what is interesting. Facts can be presented in such a way to favour a biased view too. I think we should be wary of the idea of objectivity, But you never know, perhaps I shall change my mind one day!


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