On Anger: Race, Cognition, Narrative

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University of Texas Press, Nov 15, 2013 - Literary Criticism - 215 pages
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Anger is an emotion that affects everyone regardless of culture, class, race, or gender—but at the same time, being angry always results from the circumstances in which people find themselves. In On Anger, Sue J. Kim opens a stimulating dialogue between cognitive studies and cultural studies to argue that anger is always socially and historically constructed and complexly ideological, and that the predominant individualistic conceptions of anger are insufficient to explain its collective, structural, and historical nature.

On Angerexamines the dynamics of racial anger in global late capitalism, bringing into conversation work on political anger in ethnic, postcolonial, and cultural studies with recent studies on emotion in cognitive studies. Kim uses a variety of literary and media texts to show how narratives serve as a means of reflecting on experiences of anger and also how we think about anger—its triggers, its deeper causes, its wrongness or rightness. The narratives she studies include the filmCrash, Maxine Hong Kingston’sThe Woman Warrior, Tsitsi Dangarembga’sNervous ConditionsandThe Book of Not, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’sDevil on the CrossandWizard of the Crow, and the HBO seriesThe Wire. Kim concludes by distinguishing frustration and outrage from anger through a consideration of Stéphane Hessel’s call to arms,Indignez-vous!One of the few works that focuses on both anger and race,On Anger demonstrates that race—including whiteness—is central to our conceptions and experiences of anger.


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1 Anger as Cognition
2 Anger as Culture
Technologies of Anger in Crash
4 Temporality and the Politics of Reading Kingstons The Woman Warrior
5 Anger and Space in Dangarembgas Nervous Conditions and The Book of Not
Ngugis Devil on the Cross and Wizard of the Crow
The Wire and Agency Attribution
Conclusion Anger and Outrage
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About the author (2013)

Sue J. Kim is Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and author of Critiquing Postmodernism in Contemporary Discourses of Race.

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