In this Lambda Literary Award finalist and Modern Language Associations Crompton-Noll Award winner for best essay in gay and lesbian studies, Stockton analyzes the embracing of shame among Black and queer people and the role of shame in fostering attraction, the arts, storytelling and recording of history, and camp (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006). An institutionalized way of thinking and speaking, which creates a social boundary defining what can be said about a specific topic. Judith ButlersGender Trouble, originally published in 1990, introduces the term performativity to suggest that gender identity is not natural and does not emanate from an essential truth that can be located on or in the body (figure 1.5). The book includes essays written by Judith Butler and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. [21] Importantly, for Butler, because gender must be constantly reperformed, it can be intentionally or unintentionally troubled, revealing it as an ongoing project with no origin. "Queer and Now." Also like Rubin, her intellectual investments and theoretical findings were harbingers of things to come. Change). L. Feinberg, Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time Has Come, in Stryker. Sexual Futures, Queer Futures, and Other Latina Longings, by Juana Maria Rodrguez. Queer Theory Revisited, by Michael Hames-Garca. This legal case reveals the double-bind structure of homosexual life: If one remained in the closet there was a danger of being found out, but coming out of the closet resulted in exposure to oppression. The short introduction in theQueer Studies Readerstates that Sedgwicks purpose in the piece is toargue against the monolithic understandings of sexuality that presume sexual identity as a static identity category (3). Product Information. This is similar to Newtons observation of drag, particularly her suggestion that drag reveals gender as a performance. It is an ambitious essay divided into short sections that cover topics ranging from high suicide rates among gay, lesbian, and queer adolescents; the relationship between rhetoric supporting the concealment and/or extinction of gay or queer identifying individuals and the policies of institutions and social systems; the threats directed at queer We cannot be and will not be denied that. Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class, and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics, by Urvashi Vaid. This can be seen in the early homophile movement, which refers to late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century homosexual rights activism that emerged in tandem and entwined with sexology and anti-sodomy laws. To assert that identities are sociocultural constructs assumes that in different times and places different meanings and values dominate and influence identity. ACT UP New York (website), accessed March 8, 2021. In understanding Sedgwicks compositional approach to this article, I wonder if she was actually working on three separate works that are coalescing into a free associative whole for her. Rodrguez deconstructs the archetype of the gesturing emotional Latina femme to discuss how gestures and types of bodies inform sexual pleasures and practices, as well as racialized sexual and gender identities (New York: New York University Press, 2014). homonormativity. 1) What is our reaction to Sedgwicks lists concerning the family and sexual identity (6-7)? Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, whose critical writings on the ambiguities of sexual identity in fiction helped create the discipline known as queer studies, died on Sunday in Manhattan. According to Rubin, One begins to have a sense of a systematic social apparatus which takes up females as raw material and fashions domesticated women as products.[14] Rubin writes, As a preliminary definition, a sex-gender system is the set of arrangements by which a society transforms biological sexuality into products of human activity and in which these transformed sexual needs are satisfied.[15]. Overlapping or intersecting social identities, such as race, class, and gender, that are produced by social structures of inequality. The text is a progression of the analysis in Sedgwicks previous work on homosocial relationships, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. Although Rubins work is very influential in feminist and queer theory, one of her basic assumptions, that sex is raw material and thus lacks the influence of social norms, has been challenged by other queer theorists. David Halperin traces the origin of the term queer theory to Teresa de Lauretis in 1990 in this 2003 article in the Journal of Homosexuality (volume 45, numbers 24; Websites: Queer Frontiers [At USC] An important "Queer Theory" site. In Chapter 1, Sedgwick takes up the notion of the closet, its relationship to what is known and unknown regarding the sexual identity of oneself and another, and its relationship to the private and public lives of gay people. This is the position Sedgwick takes in her book when she claims that sexual definition is central to social organization and identity formation. Continuing the analysis of the previous chapter, Victorian and Gothic literature marked another shift in what came to define the heterosexual/homosexual binary. A Black queer feminist activist and organizer. Additionally, when she proceeds to list the elements that supposedly compose ones sexual identity circa 1991 (7), she deftly points out that this groupings attempts at unifying the differences inherent in different peoples sexual identities into a seamless and univocal whole (8) is an impossible task, but hope exists in the fact that the idea of queer opens up a world of endless possibilities and contradictions for defining and understanding ones self. However, whereas queer theory is sometimes guilty of the privileging of homosexual ways of differing from heterosexual norms, transgender studies challenges naturalized links between the material body, psychic structures, and gendered social roles. All rights reserved. She applies queer theory to her activism and advocacy, pursuing the notion that LGBTQ+ equality will be achieved once heteronormativity and homonormativity within the institutions of family, society, and government are interrupted, disrupted, and decentered to become more inclusive of racial, gender, and economic diversity (New York: Magnus Books, 2012). On the contrary, societal binaries are two terms constituted by a relation of asymmetry such that one term presides and subordinates the other. It accepts greater economic inequality and disfavors unionization. performativity. Munoz: Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. The view of sexuality that assumes individuals possess a fixed and innate sexual identity that is both universal and transhistorical. The capacity of language and expressive actions to produce a type of being. Like Muoz, Carruthers emphasizes the importance of the Black imagination, specifically the ability to imagine alternative economics, alternative family structures, or something else entirely.[42] This work cannot be accomplished if groups like the HRC, which has a clear procapitalist agenda, shape public discourse about LGBTQ+ issues. [4] In addition to sexuality, de Lauretis hoped queer theory would identify and trouble other constructed silencesfor instance, those of race, ethnicity, class, and gender. An independent documentary series, My Genderation explores gender variance in short films ( She argues that sex exists as a spectrum between female and male with a minimum of five distinct categories. Abstract Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's concept, the epistemology of the closet, is a foundational contribution to the field of queer theory. "Queer and Now", Tendencies, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. T. de Lauretis, Queer Theory: Lesbian and Gay Sexualities, in special issue, L. Duggan, Making It Perfectly Queer, in, J. DEmilio, Capitalism and Gay Identity, in, J. Ned Katz, The Invention of Heterosexuality,, G. Rubin, The Traffic in Women: Notes on the Political Economy of Sex, in, A. Fausto-Sterling, The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough,, A. Fausto-Sterling, The Five Sexes, Revisited,, S. Stryker, (De)Subjugated Knowledges: An Introduction to Transgender Studies, in. Kirk Synthesis 3: The Power of Queer Imaginings, Synthesis 2 Queer Identities, Temporalities, and Geographies, Synthesis #1: Queer Hearts Resurrected: The Socially Corrupted Undead Bodies of In the Flesh, Synthesis #2: Reflections on The Polymath or The Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman, Synthesis #3: Suppressing and Igniting Lesbian Desire in But Im a Cheerleader, Synthesis One: Shifting Paradigms in Foucaults History of Sexuality Volumes One and Two, Synthesis Three: Queer Imaginings in Melvilles Moby Dick, Synthesis Two: Queer Studies in a Transnational Context, Re-centering Race in My Beautiful Launderette, Synthesis 3: Meditation: Prodesse quam conspici, The Booty Dont Lie: Radical Coalitions between Queer Women of Color and the Straight Women Who Love Them, Cinema Diaspora: Discussant Mira Nair with Gayatri Gopinath Chairing. What do we mean when we talk about gender performativity and the implications of the constructionist turn? Uniformed Gender: Challenging the Social Constructs of a Subculture. Charlene A. Carruthers. Queer Theory critically examines the way power works to institutionalize and legitimate certain forms and expressions of sexuality and gender while stigmatizing others. She asserts the political right of our nation has succeeded in lumping everything from Marxism to Queer Theory under the rubric of politically correct in a coup of cynical slovenliness unmatched since the artistic and academic purges of Germany and Russia in the thirties(18). As a result, meanings and values change across space and time. In the third chapter, Sedgwick underscores the way in which homophobic anxieties have come to be embedded at the heart of heterosexual identity during the end of the 1800s and through the work of Wilde and Nietzsche. Instead, we are all citing, at times contesting, at others complying with, existing ideas about gender and sexuality. In fact, de Lauretis used the term queer to create critical distance from lesbian and gay studies. Allen Synthesis Three: Where and What is Home? For Newton, femininity is not the property of women, just as for Halberstam masculinity is not the property of men. Get help and learn more about the design. Identify key approaches and debates within the field of queer theory. InFemale Masculinity, Jack Halberstam continues the work of disentangling gender from genitals through a series of interpretive readings of literary, filmic, and historical representations (figure 1.6). Gender is definitionally built into homosexuality, but sexuality represents beyond gender and reproduction. Is there a place for organizations like the HRC in queer politics? Labeling courses of study under the heading politically correct is an easy way to generate or amplify the distrust, suspicion, or ignorance many American have for these already marginalized viewpoints. Drawing on feminist scholarship and the work of Michel Foucault, Sedgwick uncovered purportedly hidden homoerotic subplots in writers like Charles Dickens, Henry James and Marcel Proust. Gay and lesbian activism has a complex history in the United States and even more so globally. Eve Sedgwick, a literary theorist, continues the project of troubling both homosexuality and heterosexuality in her 1990 publicationEpistemology of the Closet, which is widely recognized as a foundational queer theory text (figure 1.2). document.getElementById( "ak_js_1" ).setAttribute( "value", ( new Date() ).getTime() ); Create a free website or blog at Most often someone who identifies as a man who behaves in an exaggerated performance of femininity. The story of queer theorys emergence is entwined with queer activism. Email: lothian at iup dot edu. Alongside this phenomenon, Sedgwick also provides the methodology that informs her study: deconstruction. Queer and Now serves as an introduction to the essay collection Tendencies, in which Butler revisits many of the themes in more detail, which might be why you find its structure a little frustrating though that may also just be Sedgwicks style! However, perhaps her discussion of her struggle with breast cancer and how it affects her gender and sexual identity, a necessary and poignant tale in itself, may have been better developed and resonated in a separate memoir-centered piece in Tendencies. McRuer examines how dominant and marginal physical and sexual identities are constructed, and he demonstrates through popular culture, politics, and higher education how disabilities and queerness disrupt and transform those identities (New York: New York University Press, 2006). It works for legal protections for LGBTQ+ persons, such as promoting legislation to prevent discrimination and hate crimes. (T. Kirk), Kranidis-The Relevance of Race for Study of Sexuality, In a Queer Time and Place/Brandon Archive (Warmington), T. Kirk Whats That Smell? Additionally, both queer theory and activism introduced ways of thinking and acting through politics that went beyond normalizing demands for the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in existing social institutions. [31] Feinberg experienced harassment and brutality at the hands of police, and the vivid descriptions of violence in the book illustrate the consequences of not embodying a socially sanctioned gender expression. Also, Namaste talks about the book and the struggles of transgender people in society in an interview ( Butler responded to critique by arguing that, although discourse does not produce material sex differences, it organizes these differences, gives them meaning, and renders them legible.[23]. The scientific study of human sexuality, including human sexual interests, behaviors, and functions. Free shipping for many products! What connections between the two do you find? In Queer and Now Sedgwick manages to accomplish something none of the philosophers we have studied thus far have rigorously attempted. Then, in 1987, Larry Kramer, Vito Russo, and others founded the direct-action group AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) to demand that politicians, the medical community, drug manufacturers, and the public acknowledge the AIDS epidemic. It consists less of norms that could be summarized as a body of doctrine than of a sense of rightness produced in contradictory manifestations-often unconscious, immanent to practice or to institutions. Please try again. Her research focuses on LGBTQ+ childrens literature and culture, digital culture, and sexual subcultures. His bookDisidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics(1999) uses performance studies to investigate the performance, activism, and survival of queer people of color. Who are some of the key thinkers and activists who have contributed to these movements? [32] Bornstein writes, I identify as neither male nor female, and now that my lover is going through his gender change, it turns out Im neither straight nor gay.[33] She matter-of-factly expresses her feelings of shame at not fitting into normative gender identities and a corresponding sense of relief with intellectual work coming out in the 1990s that made it possible to understand gender as a social construct.[34]. Gay people know that sex-typed behavior can be achieved, contrary to what is popularly believed. Furthermore, they argue that capitalism and militarism do harm and can only contingently benefit individual LGBTQ+ persons. In the mid-1970s, the French historian and philosopher Michel Foucault publishedThe History of Sexuality, which describes the origin of modern homosexual identity. Designating theoretical perspectives which contradict their own beliefs under this terminology is brilliant to say the least. So its a lot to take in! From its earliest iterations, queer theory challenged norms that reproduced inequalities and, at its best, sought to understand how sexuality intersected with gender, race, class, and other social identities to maintain social hierarchies. Although inclusion in these institutions is contingent, precarious, and not evenly distributed among all members of the LGBTQ+ community, these two shifts in policy secured access and rights for some LGBTQ+ personsspecifically, white middle-class gay men for whom marriage equality has often been a primary political concern. Sedgwicks deconstructivist approach shows us that any social binary that defines subjects in society (especially the binary of heterosexual/homosexual) is not a relation of symmetry between two terms. Queer Theory Reading List, from Brown University. Assistant Professor of English, IUP. Though I am not nave enough to have come into this class with no understanding of the political roots of Queer Theory, when working through dense and highly theoretical language it is remarkably easy to forget these issues affect all peoples daily lives, and impact many individuals in dramatic and heartbreaking ways. Where identity should be abandoned to maintain the myth of universality. By evoking the images of the countless teenagers who commit suicide each year due to the manner in which society condemns their identity, the individuals for whom Christmas -a holiday itself constituted in the image of the family- is a time of exclusion from a grand sense of unity rather than a source of joy, and the people who struggle to hold onto life in the face of physically devastating illnesses while simultaneously having death wished upon them from members of society who regard them as filth, Sedgwick ensures her readers never lose sight of the tangible stakes of her argument (6) As the introduction comes to a close, her meditation on the anti-intellectualism of our age made me realize just how much her ideas affect my own life in ways I never had realized. drag queen. Was there any way for the person to resist that challenge? Similar to Muoz and Carruthers, he argues that radical transformation is the only way forward for queers of color. In Chapter 5, Sedgwick orients the reader toward the other side of the spectrum and focuses her reading of Prousts work on the two queer characters in the novel In Search of Lost Time. For queers invested in transformative justice-oriented politics, the assimilationiststrategies employed by liberal LGBTQ+ organizations typified by the HRC stand in the way of meaningful social change. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick was an American academician specializing in literary criticism and feminist analysis; she is known as one of the architects of queer theory. The capacity of language and expressive actions to produce a type of being. What is Carruthers referring to when she talks about telling more complete stories? It is an ambitious essaydivided into short sections that cover topics rangingfrom high suicide rates amonggay, lesbian, and queer adolescents; the relationship between rhetoric supporting the concealment and/or extinction of gay or queer identifying individuals and the policies of institutions and social systems; the threats directed at queer lives (esp. The U.S. militarys policy on gays, bisexuals, and lesbians serving in the military, introduced in 1994 by Bill Clintons administration. In her introduction to the special issue, de Lauretis outlines the central features of queer theory, sketching the field in broad strokes that have held up remarkably well.[2]. This article outlines why there exist important opportunities to think through what research on African urban sexualitiesand specifically non-heteronormative sexualitiesmay mean moving forward. They build on what has come before, reflect on it, challenge it, seek to bend or break it, and only eventually, and only sometimes, become an identifiable entity with a name given to them. Describe the relationship among LGBTQ+ history, political activism, and LGBTQ+ studies. The activistCharlene A. Carrutherss Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements foregrounds the importance of intersectional thinking. Search for other works by this author on: This content is made freely available by the publisher. [35] For instance,Dont Ask, Dont Tell, a policy of forced silence about sexuality for gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members instituted by the Bill Clinton administration in 1993, was repealed in 2011. What are the differences between essentialist and constructionist theories of identity? What issues and whose interests does the HRC most seem to represent? In other words, much as Newton observes about drag performances of femininity, anybody can put on a gender expression. Geographer Michael Brown has criticized Sedgwick's 'closet' as a term for spatial metaphor. The film theorist Teresa de Lauretis (figure 1.1) coined the term at a University of California, Santa Cruz, conference about lesbian and gay sexualities in February 1990. Icon Books is licensed under a. From a historiographical perspective, Sedgwicks piece is seminal and inspiring. "Queer" seems to hinge much more radically andexplicitly on a person's undertaking particular, performative acts ofexperimental self-perception and filiation. In the introduction, Sedgwick presents axioms - "assumptions and conclusions from a long-term project of anti-homophobic analysis" - that inform her book's project. Robert McRuer is one of the founders of queer disability studies and a major contributor to the fields of transnational queer theory and disability theory. 2) How does each of us vocalize the word queer in conversations with others? Queer theories of gender have influenced scholars across disciplines, radically transforming how we think about gender. Introduction It is a challenge to create an origin story about a field of study, in this instance queer theory, because ideas are not birthed in a moment, a day, or even a year. In exchange, it prohibited the discrimination of closeted service persons. Persons who do not have chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that meet medical expectations and definitions of sex within a binary system. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwicks article, Queer and Now, collected in her book Tendencies (Routledge 1994), challenges the dominant cultural conception of what it means to be queer, i.e., not part of a binaried heteronormative coupling in early 1990s America. Meg-John Barker, an academic and activist, teamed up with the cartoonist Jules Scheele in this nonfiction graphic novel to illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action (London: Icon Books, 2016). Queer critics of the HRC maintain that the organization has a limited vision of human rights, is procapitalist, and supports bills that fail to include transgender personsfor example, the proposed 2007 Employment Non-discrimination Act. Part V: Relationships, Families, and Youth, Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach. His project explores the ways minoritarian subjects mobilize performance to survive the present, improvise new worlds, and sustain new ways of being in the world.[43]. Its a pretty amazing mission statement one that accounts for the individuality and personal history of active resistance and struggle, one that is less invested in sayingwe need to do this because X, but more like we owe it to ourselves to give ourselves and others the choices we always knew where there but seemed out of reach somewhow, we need to make our stories and selves known and heard, we need to refuse being repressed and silenced, we need to do what we can to assert ourselves and fight those powers that would have us destroyed or erased. Additionally, like Carruthers, Chambers-Letson decenters the queer sexual subject and queer theory to explore intersectional possibilities for speculative world making and practical activism. A term introduced by Eve Sedgwick to describe the view of homosexuality as relevant only to homosexuals. Those identified as homosexual in medical discourse appropriated the discourse to revise what the category might mean, identify one another, build a community, and make political demands. Your email address will not be published. Has someone you know had their gender presentation challenged or censored? The word politics and its many variations have come to signify dishonesty and ruthless self-interest within our culture, immediately evoking a sense of distrust in many Americans. The "Mystic River" star posted a video on Sunday to TikTok in which he and his wife, actor Kyra Sedgwick, dance to Taylor Swift's "Karma" wearing matching T-shirts. Jos Esteban Muoz. Her work aims to create young leaders in marginalized communities to fight for community interests and liberation. It then attaches sexual backwardness and violent homophobia to Islamic nations. This has been due, in no small degree, to the influence of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's critically acclaimed Epistemology of the Closet. Refers to the performance of femininity or masculinity, and is most frequently used to describe the performance of gender expressions that differ from those associated with the performers natal sex assignment. Her many publications include A Dialogue On Love (Beacon, 1999); Fat Art/Thin Art (Duke, 1994); Tendencies (Duke, 1993); and Epistemology of the Closet (California, 1990). I am reminded of lesbians in the 1950s and '60s hiding lesbian pulp fiction under their mattresses, skipping over the homophobia to marvel at the idea that women like them existed somewhere out there (Greenwich Village .

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