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Queer Theory

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Stephanie Eggermont

on 5 December 2014

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Transcript of Queer Theory

'Queer' = reclaimed

culturally marginal sexual self-identifications

Coined in the early 1990s by critics such as Sedgwick, de Lauretis and Butler:

"
Queer can refer to the open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances, lapses when the constituents of anyone’s gender or sexuality are not made or can’t be made to signify monolithically" (
Sedgwick, "Queer and Now", 1994)

'Queer' and Gay and Lesbian

Queer Theory/ Queer Studies

A commitment to non-normativity and anti-identitarianism

Contestations of 'Queer'
1. Queer Theory: introduction
Queer Temporality & Queer Kinship
José Esteban Munoz,
Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity
(2009)
Kathryn Bond Stockton
, The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Centur
y (2009)Elizabeth Freeman,
Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories
(2010)
David L. Eng,
The feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy
(2010)
1. Queer Theory: recommended reading
Queering Methodology:

"
The desire to be taken seriously is precisely what compels people to follow the tried and true paths of knowledge production around which I would like to map a few detours"

Subjugated knowledges: disciplinary transformation, alternative forms of knowing

vs. all-encompassing and global theories

Low Theory
"
low

theory might constitute the name for a counterhegemonic form of theorizing, the theorization of alternatives within an undisciplined zone of knowledge production
"
Corpus
2.3. The Queer Art of Failure: Methodology
15 december 1961

Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature (University of Southern California)

Jack/Judith

popular speaker

www.jackhalberstam.com

@Jhalberstam

Bully Bloggers: "the queer bully pulpit you never dreamed of"
2.1. Jack Halberstam: Bio
Queer Theory
Jack Halberstam & Jasbir Puar
Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and The Technology of Monsters
(1995)

Posthuman Bodies
. Co-Edited with Ira Livingston (1995)

Female Masculinity
(1998)

T
he Drag King Book (1999)

In A Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives
(2005)

The Queer Art of Failure
(2011)

Gaga Feminism: Pregnant Men, Heteroflexible Women and The End of Normal
(2012)

2.2. Jack Halberstam: Bibliography
2.3. The Queer Art of Failure: Background

Gay Marriage

Politics of gay activism should not be reduced to this one goal
More radical vision is needed
Pixarvolt
vs. Animal Documentaries
Olympic Games and pictures by Tracy Moffat
2.3. The Queer Art of Failure: Close-Reading
Affect & Disability Studies
Ann Cvetkovich,
An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality and Lesbian Public Cultures
(2003)
Robert McRuer –
Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability
(2007)
Sara Ahmed,
The Promise of Happiness
(2010) and
Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others
(2014)
Lauren Berlant,
Cruel Optimism
(2011)
Race, Ethnicity, Neo-Liberalism
José Esteban Munoz
, Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (1999)
Gayatri Gopinath
, Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (2005)
Lisa Duggan
, The Twilight of Equality: Neo-liberalism, Cultural Politics and the Attack on Democracy
(2000)
Psychoanalysis
Lee Edelman,
No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive
(2004)
Progress and Success

"
I argue that success in a heteronormative, capitalist society equates too easily to specific forms of reproductive maturity combined with wealth accumulation
" (Introduction)
See also: Gay Shame vs. Gay Pride

Motivation to write the book:
2.3. The Queer Art of Failure: Close-Reading
Chapter 2: "Dude Where's My Phallus"
Mapping stupidity:
Dude, Where Is My Car?
Forgetting = challenge to progress narratives, to the cause-and-effect logic of narratives
Forgetting = opportunistic tactic of whiteness
movie shows understanding of this
forgetting = freedom from judgment; leads to new forms of knowing and relation
Stupidity = freedom from social bias
eg. challenge to the homosociality-homosexuality divide (Sedgwick)
2.3. The Queer Art of Failure: Close-Reading
2.3. The Queer Art of Failure: Close-Reading
3.1. Jasbir Puar: Bio
Normative conceptions of time

generational time: historical change is explained as generational shifts, progression and succession

the old engenders the new

seems natural and inevitable

main form = family

heterofuturity, hetero-reproductive future
Queer culture's challenge

de-linking process of generation from historical process

the new beings afresh

different forms: new models of family, friendship, forgetting family

anti-developmental model

Finding Nemo

queer knowledge
independent of payment or alliance: anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchal
coalition, anti-familial kinship
forgetting/new ways of remembering as radical action and revolution
Associate Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies at Rutgers University

PhD in Ethnic Studies (Berkeley, 1999)

Guardian & Huffington Post
Queer Tourism
Pinkwashing: "Israel's Gay Propaganda War"
Queer Islamophobia

Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times
(2005)

Affective Politics: States of Debility and Capacity
(2014)
3.3. Terrorist Assemblages: Key Concepts
3.2. Terrorist Assemblages: Methodology
unexpected, unplanned irruptions, lines of flight denaturalizing expectation, juxtaposition of the seemingly unrelated

"
The trivial must be attended to precisely because marking it as such may mask or obfuscate its deeper cultural relevance

Queering Methodology
Homonationalism
Homonormativity: "
A new neoliberal sexual politics that hinges upon the possibility of a demobilized gay constituency and a privatized, depoliticized gay culture anchored in domesticity and consumption”. “It does not contest dominant heteronormative forms but upholds and sustains them
." (Duggan)

Homonormative nationalism
"
(some) nations are productive of nonnormative sexualities, not merely repressive of them


Multiculturalism



War on terror (post 9/11)
3.4. "The Sexuality of Terrorism": Close Reading
Introduction
Discourses of sexuality play an important role in counterterrorism/war on terror discourses (terrorist as a queer non-national, racialized other)
Discourses of sexuality underpin normative terms of patriotism ('with us or against us')
inclusion of SOME (affluent) non-white bodies through normative multicultural discourses
rehabilitation of SOME gays and lesbians to U.S. citizenship via
homonormative nationalism
.
However: homonationalisms produce "imaginative geographies" (performative: produce the effect they describe)

heteronormative imagery post 9/11, yet progressive sexuality was championed as a marker of the US’ exceptional modernity
LGBT - groups also take up this patriotic discourse
Prime feature of homonationalism (in the wake of 9/11): queer is seen as white and the non-white is seen as heterosexual
White (male) American homosexuality is accepted into the fold on patriotic terms while the racialized evilness of terrorists is rendered through discourses of sexual excess and perversity usually associated with the demonized queer
Part I: Gay and Queer discourses Post 9/11
3.4. "The Sexuality of Terrorism": Close Reading
heterosexual-homosexual binary central to the project of nationalism
room for absorption and management of homosexuality:
only when advantageous to the nation
temporally, spatially specific
directed towards certain audiences: 'proper' homosexuals
causal links between terrorism and subjectivity (Kristeva)
Terrorists are read as pathological: mentally ill, fanatic, delusional, distorted by 'religion'
=Psychoanalytic and depoliticized reading
cause = political and economical (vs. Why do they hate us?)
more progressive (feminist and sexuality) discourses share same assumptions
patriarchy, male bonding, unfulfilled men, repressed homosexuals, misogyny = terrorism
Results (6)
3.4. "The Sexuality of Terrorism": Close Reading
queer citizenship is offered by the market, not the state
false idea of progress
homonationalism: embraces both legal and consumer citizenship
case study: tourism
G&L tourist industry & marketing firms misrepresent gay and lesbian population
high income, better education, family tourism vs. lesbians, nonwhites, lower-class, couples without children
post 9/11: tourism as patriotic consumption
Ignores racial and gender diversity

=homonationalism through consumption
3.4. "The Sexuality of Terrorism": Close Reading
sexuality of criminality: lack, dysfunctional heterosexuality of the terrorist

metrosexuality: sign of sexual freedom and tolerance + union between queerness and patriotism
imaginative geography:
appropriation of stereotypical attributes of queerness
urban/cosmopolitan: neglect of sexual and racial differences across spaces (urban-rural dichotomy)
3.4. Conclusion & Further Reading & Viewing
Conclusion
:

"Homonationalism is also a spatial and temporal illusion, a facile construction that is easily revoked"
"Gains" such as gay marriage, sodomy laws, queer tourism are conservative victories, if at all.
Further Reading and Viewing:

reading : cfr. infra
Looking (HBO 2014)
Orange is the New Black (Netflix 2013)
Paris is Burning
"The Death Camp of Tolerance"
queer (S/M) body and Pakistani are constituted as sexually excessive, irrational, abnormal
geopolitical reading: role of Pakistan in war on terror
homonormativity
Introduction
Stupidity
gendered: white male academics, George Bush, stupidity in film, Paris Hilton
Forgetting: Theory
Forgetting family: queer readings of memory loss
50 first dates

"reveals heterosexual romance to be nothing more than the violent enforcement of normative forms of sociality and sexuality"
trope of forgetting raises issues about colonial history of Hawaï
Part II: Genealogies of homonationalism
II.1. Genealogies of terrorism

Part II. Genealogies of Homonationalism
II.2. Homonational Spending (gay and lesbian tourism)
Part II. Genealogies of Homonationalism
II.3. South Park

Under certain circumstances, failing, losing, forgetting, unmaking, undoing, unbecoming, not knowing may in fact offer more creative, more cooperative, more surprising ways of being in the world
” (Introduction)
Full transcript