Teaching Loving: On Embracing Affect in the First-Year Writing Classroom

Gish, Allison, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Griffin, Cristina, English, University of Virginia

Rita Felski posits that a multivalency defines the term “attachment,” as it indicates both “to be affected or moved” and also “to be linked or tied.” This paper considers the movement in the humanities towards postcritical methods—like Felski’s—that embrace attachment and affect as working in tandem with pedagogical discussions about love. These methodological and pedagogical conversations most often run parallel to each other, like train tracks. Yet, when made to intersect in the first-year writing classroom, theories of affect and love-based pedagogies provide an exciting and lucrative example of methodological and pedagogical symbiosis. In this sense, the emergent work of Felski and others on attachment, love, and affect provides a compelling pedagogical opportunity, fusing a theoretical curiosity about the ways in which scholars think about and relate to their work with the pedagogy with which we teach students to think about and relate to their work. This essay pulls together strands from postcritical theory and contemporary pedagogical thought, weaving them together onto the loom of a teaching method. When intertwined, these disparate threads, like a braid, become stronger: an integrated scholarship, pedagogy, and classroom. This paper hypothesizes that by engaging attachment, affect, and love through assignments, methods, atmosphere, and processes in the practice-based first-year writing classroom, students might actively codify attachments to ongoing reading and writing practices that endure.

MA (Master of Arts)
Love, Attachment, Pedagogy, Teaching, Writing Pedagogy, Postcritique, Affect
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