The Transformative Powers of Hate, Rage, and Other Ugly Feelings (ACLA 2020)
“Love Trumps Hate,” now a popular liberal commandment, ascribes the most transformative political capacity imaginable to love, and implies that no world any liberal would want to live in can be generated from hate. Similarly, rage—specially when is considered a reaction to an act of injustice— is discounted by the liberal discourse as a violent, invalid political response. In other words, hate and rage, according to liberal politics, are irrational and dehumanizing feelings that need to be countered with the richest, utmost human, and morally virtuous feeling of all: love. To assert that “Love Trumps Hate” or to condemn rage is, therefore, to consider politically ineffective and morally suspect any “ugly feeling”—to use Sianne Ngai’s term—one may have. But with movements such as The Outraged (the Indignados) in Spain that took the squares in May 2011, the recent Gilets jaunes in France that violently burst in 2018, and the Ni una menos movement that sparkled in Argentina and quickly spread globally, indignation, anger, and threat have been mobilized as political tools for each of their struggles, correspondingly. In this way, these movements reclaim the legitimacy of ugly feelings to fight injustice and move away from hopelessness. However, in between those two poles—the moral condemnation of hate and the political mobilization of rage —contemporary cultural production (i.e. cinema, art, literature) has explored ambiguous and complex forms of representing rage that, we believe, challenge the binary this feeling has been confined to. For our discussion, we are accepting proposals that engage rage outside the binary (i.e. rage is either positive or negative) in what might appear as counterintuitive depictions of rage so as to collectively produce a diverse and contradictory constellation of representations of rage.