Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 55 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Michael K. Hill

Committee Members

Michael K. Hill, Kir Kuiken


Affect, Multitudes, Object, Ontology, Oriented, Politics, Object (Philosophy), Affect (Psychology), Civilization, Political realism

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


This thesis will examine the potential viability of a “politics of affect”. The analysis will begin by evaluating Spinoza’s theory of affect and its connection to object-oriented-ontology and quasi-objects. This will include a discussion of Spinoza’s specific brand of “affect” and its ability to influence politics. This paper will also address the theory of Bruno Latour, which utilizes Spinoza’s theory of bodies and affect while examining the political implications of Spinozist ideas. The goal of this analysis is to use a discussion of affect, quasi-objects, and object-oriented-ontology to delineate what exactly a politics of affect might be and how this system might operate. I will use Latour’s quasi-objects and object-oriented-ontology in connection with Spinoza’s affect and Francis Hutcheson’s passions in order to theorize this new political system. The viability of a politics of affect will also be demonstrated by a critique of the formal realist novel and an analysis of Warren Montag’s work Bodies, Masses, Power. I posit that the creation of genre, and in particular of the formal realist novel, solidifies the subject-object hierarchy as well as the “bracketing off” of affect. Lastly, the paper will examine multiple examples of politics of affect as seen in The Monk and Obi. Through a critique of the formal realist novel, and a brief examination of the history of the novel, this thesis will critique false notions of time as linear and generic convention as homogenous. The goal of this analysis is to consider that objects have a profound capability to influence our world, and to question modernity’s insistence in a preordained and a priori hierarchy among and separation between subject and object.