Anorexic Affect: Disordered Eating and the Conative Body

  • Author / Creator
    Ledwell-Hunt, Janis M
  • Anorexic Affect: Disordered Eating and the Conative Body performs a material feminist re-mapping of the sense events occasioned by self-starvation. Suspending the usual critical interpretations of eating disorders (gender, transcendence, and representation), as well as the clinical rallying points of studies of anorexia and bulimia nervosa (etiology and therapy), this project adopts a symptomatological approach. Deleuze’s construction of a literary clinic in Essays Critical and Clinical and Coldness and Cruelty is the point of departure for Anorexic Affect, as are many of Deleuze and Guattari’s literary conceptual personae: Bartleby, Gregor Samsa, Molloy, Murphy, and Watt. With each of these self-starvers Melville, Kafka, and Beckett express new symptoms and speeds of trans-ordered eating. Specifically, the ability to hold matter in reserve is anathema to anorexic and bulimic bodies (what they cannot do), but rather than reading this as a symptom of disembodiment and detachment from sensory milieus, Anorexic Affect proposes alternatives. By bringing the literary clinic to bear on contemporary critiques and memoirs of women’s self-starvation, this project charts the overlapping affective capacities producing disorderly eating while also sustaining its sites of production. Constructing anorexic economies, ecologies, and ethologies as new symptomatological sites of critical/clinical encounter, Anorexic Affect exposes the sedimentary narratives of eating disorders while—more importantly—developing and exhausting other possible permutations of self-starvation.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • English
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Elena del Rio (English and Film Studies)
    • Claire Colebrook (English)
    • Dianne Chisholm (English and Film Studies)
    • Chloe Taylor (Philosophy and Women's Studies)
    • Karyn Ball (English and Film Studies)