Coming to Our Senses: Affect and an Order of Things for Global Culture by Dierdra Reber

Document Type

Book Review

Subject Area(s)

Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Dierdra Reber's Coming to Our Senses analyzes Latin American and United States cultural texts from the final years of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. Reber's work proposes that affect the contemporary cultural currency, and that its invisible patterns govern capitalism. Her analysis covers an eclectic mix of works including popular films like James Cameron's Avatar (2009) and Walter Salles's Motorcycle Journals (2004) and the way Evo Morales gave Barack Obama a copy of Eduardo Galeano's The Open Veins of Latin America (1971) when the two leaders met in 2009.

Coming to Our Senses begins with a preface, a prelude, and an introduction. The preface brings us into her work with personal anecdote and the prelude vaguely outlines the introduction that follows. The introduction is more standard. This structure is made more opaque by her selection of unusual cultural texts, which are not as well-known as she might think. It would have been useful if the introduction had explained why they were selected and if the chapters had been summarized in greater depth.