Anger is an emotion that affects everyone regardless of culture, class, race, or gender—but at the same time, being angry always results from the circumstances in which people find themselves. In On Anger, Sue J. Kim opens a stimulating dialogue between cognitive studies and cultural studies to argue that anger is always socially and historically constructed and complexly ideological, and that the predominant individualistic conceptions of anger are insufficient to explain its collective, structural, and historical nature.
On Anger examines the dynamics of racial anger in global late capitalism, bringing into conversation work on political anger in ethnic, postcolonial, and cultural studies with recent studies on emotion in cognitive studies. Kim uses a variety of literary and media texts to show how narratives serve as a means of reflecting on experiences of anger and also how we think about anger—its triggers, its deeper causes, its wrongness or rightness. The narratives she studies include the film Crash, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions and The Book of Not, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Devil on the Cross and Wizard of the Crow, and the HBO series The Wire. Kim concludes by distinguishing frustration and outrage from anger through a consideration of Stéphane Hessel’s call to arms, Indignez-vous! One of the few works that focuses on both anger and race, On Anger demonstrates that race—including whiteness—is central to our conceptions and experiences of anger.
Chapter 1. Anger as Cognition
Chapter 2. Anger as Culture
Chapter 3. Liberal Anger: Technologies of Anger in Crash
Chapter 4. Temporality and the Politics of Reading Kingston's The Woman Warrior
Chapter 5. Anger and Space in Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions and The Book of Not
Chapter 6. Estranging Rage: Ngugi's Devil on the Cross and Wizard of the Crow
Chapter 7. "This Game Is Rigged": The Wire and Agency Attribution
Conclusion. Anger and Outrage
Sue J. Kim is Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She is the author of Critiquing Postmodernism in Contemporary Discourses of Race and has published essays on race and narrative in Modern Fiction Studies, Journal of Asian American Studies, College Literature, and Narrative.
“Kim makes clear why we should care about the models of anger that various narratives illustrate—because only by understanding how the world really works will we be able to see the expression of anger as imbricated in multiple and complex systems that require our collective, rather than individual, responses. . . . She offers up to narrative theorists the richness of narratives that have been minoritized and marginalized (used as token examples rather than central explanatory texts), and she offers, to scholars working in critical race theory and postcolonial theory, the richness of narrative theory in thinking through issues of race and imperialism in various narratives.”
—Jennifer Ho, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of Consumption and Identity in Asian American Coming-of-Age Novels
"A necessary resource, On Anger speak to multiple disciplines. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above."
—J.D. Harding, St. Leo University, in Choice
"[Kim’s] very timely book gives us a much needed window through which the collective anger of people in Ferguson and too many other American cities becomes comprehensible."