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Queer Theory

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Lauren Austill

on 12 April 2013

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Transcript of Queer Theory

Queer Theory: Gay and Lesbian Criticism History Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1950-2009): Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosexual Desire (1985), Epistemology of the Closet (1990), Tendencies (1993), A Dialogue of Love (2000), Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (2003)

Judith Butler (1956-): Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex" (1993), Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative (1997), Giving an Account of Oneself (2005)

Others: Jonathan Goldberg, Michael Warner, Sandy Stone, and Joseph Litvak. Critical Theorists Typical Questions for Analysis Professor at the University of Sydney
Research areas: Queer theory, Feminist theory, cultural studies and everyday life Annamarie Jagose Dr. Jagose's article:
Queer Theory "Queer locates and exploits incoherencies in those terms which stabilize heterosexuality." Positives: Further Discussion Questions QUEER THEORY Explores issues of sexuality, power, and marginalized populations in literature and culture.

Influenced by Feminist discourse on patriarchy and the normative gender roles therein, post-structural interest in fragmented, de-centered knowledge building (Nietzsche, Derrida, Foucault), language (the breakdown of sign-signifier), and psychoanalysis (Lacan). Issue with binaries established between masculine and feminine, as well as heterosexual and homosexual.


Challenges the assumption that identity is fixed and can be defined by a finite set of characteristics. How are binaries male/female and masculine/feminine being defined?
Who attributes masculine and feminine qualities to whom?
How is gender being ascribed?
Are the critical assumptions of essentialism or social constructivism established?
By what characters?
How are characters' sexual identities shaped and formed?
Is gender performative?
What prejudices exist about any character's supposed sexuality?
What social forces or constructs determine sexual identity? What is queer about the text?
Is any character in crisis concerning his or her sexual identity? Defining 'queer' as "ceaselessly interrogating both the preconditions of identity and its effects." "As queer is unaligned with any specific category, it has the potential to be annexed profitably to any number of discussions." Thesis: In terms of applying the theory broadly to literature, do you think this a good or bad thing? Widely inclusive, This theory can fill in gaps in other theories that rely too strongly on presumptions about gender and sexuality. Negatives "Whether queer's transcendent disregard for the dominant systems of gender fails to consider the material systems of the West." Is this theory practical? Realistic? Positives "A category in constant formation" Queer theory is highly adaptable in that it looks outward to various possible developments without being limited to a few specific categories. "false sense of universality" Is this theory as inclusive as it claims?
Could it be so broad that it has "outlived its political usefulness" ? (And what does that mean for a literary theory?) What other theories align well with Queer Theory as Jagose defines it? Can you think of some literary examples to which we can apply this theory? Pop culture examples? Are there some that do not? QUEER THEORY Overview "Queer" was first coined by gender theorist, Teresa de Lauretis in Queer Theory: Lesbian and Gay Sexualities (1991).

Wollstonecraft’s Vindication (1792)

Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own (1929)

Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949)

Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics (1969)

Alliance with Deconstruction on essentialism vs. social constructivism

Mid-80’s- Gay and Lesbian studies

Early 90’s- Queer Theory Performativity Explained Sources "Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism: Gender Studies and Queer Theory (1970s-present)." PurdueOWL. Purdue University, 21 Apr. 2010. Web. 12 Apr. 2013.

Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. 5th ed. Indianapolis: Pearson/Longman, 2011. Print.

Jagose, Annamarie. "Queer Theory." Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. Ed. Bressler, Charles E. 5th ed. Indianapolis: Pearson/Longman, 2011. Print.


Rothschild, Nathalie. "Sweden’s New Gender-Neutral Pronoun: Hen." Slate, 11 Apr. 2012. Web. 12 Apr. 2013.
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