Building on a growing recognition of the overlaps between the affective, material, sensory, and social worlds, this panel illuminates specific instances of the politics of “feeling” about, in, and through landscapes and commodities across (a wide region of) the continent and across several millennia in order to understand the politics of being and belonging in southern Africa. In each case, authors demonstrate that political matters like morality, memory, and belonging were linked to commodities and landscapes through the experience of feeling.

We are seeking a fourth panelist, and this abstract will change to reflect your contributions:

Paper 1 argues that growing, harvesting, and interacting with commodities like vanilla and cloves is not merely an economic activity for smallholder farmers in Madagascar, but a personal and social act of remembering and engaging with the collective political traumas of the past.

Paper 2 probes the relationship between taste and morality by embedding the social and physical acts of cooking and eating in local ideas about empathy, sentiment, and good living.

Paper 3 explores how new technologies exploiting the bush and mineral deposits in the first millennium led to a material revolution that opened new sensory experiences for consumers and technicians; such “feelings” were drawn into existing political ideologies and used to invent new ones.

Please send a paper title and abstract to panelist Sarah Osterhoudt at [email protected] by 11 March.