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Queer Theory

An examination of the queer theory literary criticism
by

Leah Byars

on 21 September 2012

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Transcript of Queer Theory

They're Totally Gay Queer Theory Leah, Mariah, Jessica : differing in some odd way from what is usual or normal (from Merriam-Webster) Queer Queer is usually used when referring to individuals of a homosexual nature. What is Queer Theory? Queer theory examines and usually rejects the 'normal' concepts of gender and sexuality.
Moves beyond simply focusing on 'gay' or 'lesbian' studies and focus on a broad range of sexualities that differ from the norm 1980s-Present
Builds upon the feminist outlook that gender is not part of the essential self; in other words, that typical gender roles are not the same for everyone and are not needed for a person to function
Also rooted in deconstruction, particularly the overturning of binaries (contrast, ex. male/female) Origin Eve Kofosky Sedgwick Who Contributed to Queer Theory? Other Concepts radical subversion- drastically alters the 'normal' tendencies of sexuality (heterosexuality) Radical deconstructionism- examines different types of sexual orientations Michele Foucault Judith Butler Michele Foucault 1956-
Professor at The University of California Berkeley
Her approach to gender and sexuality is to separate all connections between sex, gender, and desire so that they are not caused by other stable factors Judith Butler
1950-2009
Focused very heavily on the use of queer language and sentence structure Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick When looking through a "queer" literary criticism eye, you want to focus on how gender and sexuality is expressed in a work. To do this, ask: That's great and all, but how do I use it? What elements of the text can be seen as 'masculine' (powerful) and what can be seen as 'feminine' (weak)? What special qualities does the author give to the characters that challenge these norms? What elements of the text fit both male and female binaries and can be considered 'bisexual'? How do the characters fit (or don't fit)these roles? What happens to these qualities/characters throughout the course of the work? 1926-1984
Philosopher
Developed the idea that sexuality and gender is fluid and changing rather than 'essential'
Modern society does not repress sexuality; it sets out to discover all the truth about it Michele Foucault's main work. It's three volumes long and tries to disprove the thought that sexuality is repressed in Western society. Instead, he says Western culture has been fixated on it. History of Sexuality (1976) Judith Butler's main work, it says the feminism did very little to open up the possibility for people to choose their own (sexual, gender) identity. It still divides people into two groups: men and women. Gender Trouble (1990) What characters/elements don't fall into any sexual category at all? What language is used when the characters in the work talk/describe one another? How does that reflect on their gender and sexuality? "Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever shrewd men and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably dishonest. She wasn't able to endure being at a disadvantage, and given this unwillingness I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard jaunty body." (59) Now try an analysis of a section from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Brizee, Allen, and J. Case Tompkins. "Gender Studies and Queer Theory (1970s-present)." Purdue OWL: Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism. N.p., 21 Apr. 2010. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/12/>. Bibliography Gauntlett, David. "Judith Butler." Www.theory.org.uk Resources: Judith Butler. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <http://www.theory.org.uk/ctr-butl.htm>. Eve's best-known work, it theorizes that Western culture can only be understood by analyzing the socially conceived notions of homo and heterosexuality Epistemology of the Closet (1990) Shelden, Raman, Peter Widdowsn, and Peter Brooker. "Queer Theory and Criticism." Scribd. N.p., 2005. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <http://www.scribd.com/doc/65967287/53/Queer-theory-and-criticism>. "Queer Theory- Michele Foucault." Science Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://science.jrank.org/pages/10941/Queer-Theory-Michel-Foucault.html>. How does this (relationship, behavior, language, etc.) differ from the heterosexual norm? Is there any evidence of homophobia in the text? Edwards, Jason. "Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick." Scribd. N.p., 2009. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://www.scribd.com/doc/93432824/Eve-Kosofsky-Sedgwick>. Grimes, William. "Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, a Pioneer of Gay Studies and a Literary Theorist, Dies at 58." The New York Times. N.p., 15 Apr. 2009. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/15/arts/15sedgwick.html>. "The History of Sexuality." The History of Sexuality. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://www.ipce.info/ipceweb/Library/history_of_sexuality.htm>.
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