Nonconsensual Nationalisms and Affective Privilege

Authors: Lorraine Dowler*, Penn State University
Topics: Political Geography, Gender, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Emotion, Nationalism, Gender
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper interrogates how White masculine precarity taps into and mobilizes nonconsensual nationalisms that serve to justify racism as realism and misogyny as a social norm. The state’s emphasis on borders, cultural privilege, law and order, and national honor privileges masculine forms of emotion, such as anger and grief. This affective privileging of white masculinity, in turn, promotes nonconsensual forms of nationalism that are enacted against those most vulnerable to state power. In this paper, I incorporate Patricia Hill Collins three components of a Black ethics of care: the value placed on the individual; the appropriateness of emotion; and the capacity for empathy (Collins 1991) to examine how the state employs masculine tropes of affect and emotion. Empirically I will examine how state power is fortified out of moments of presumed powerlessness such as male firefighters crying after 9/11, and the joint chiefs of staff remorsefully apologizing to Congress for high levels of military sexual assault. I argue that these various forms of nonconsensual nationalisms assuage state accountability for care and responsibility for the most vulnerable of its citizens. Collins, P. H. 1991. Towards an Afrocentric feminist epistemology. In: P. H. Collins (ed.). Black feminist thought (pp 269-290). London:

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