The word emotion belongs to a constellation of overlapping terms under the general category of feeling, including affect, mood, sensation, and the passions as well as emotion. Emotion is psychological and social, emphasizing the subjectivity associated with inner life (examples include love and hate, shame and guilt, and hope and despair), while affect is a precognitive capacity emerging in large part from sensory experience and the effect that bodies have in relation to one another (a philosophical term, affect was articulated by philosophers Baruch Spinoza and Gilles Deleuze and has recently been elaborated by Brian Massumi). Seldom invoked today, passion was used before the mid-eighteenth century to describe the strong emotions—wonder and anger among them. While emotion is the term commonly accepted today by the general public, affect is most in favor in scholarly circles where many understand it to carry the potential for social change.

This essay may be found on page 73 of the printed volume.

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