Disidentifications

Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics

Disidentifications

There is more to identity than identifying with one’s culture or standing solidly against it. José Esteban Muñoz looks at how those outside the racial and sexual mainstream negotiate majority culture—not by aligning themselves with or against exclusionary works but rather by transforming these works for their own cultural purposes. Muñoz calls this process “disidentification,” and through a study of its workings, he develops a new perspective on minority performance, survival, and activism.Disidentifications is also something of a performance in its own right, an attempt to fashion a queer world by working on, with, and against dominant ideology. By examining the process of identification in the work of filmmakers, performance artists, ethnographers, Cuban choteo, forms of gay male mass culture (such as pornography), museums, art photography, camp and drag, and television, Muñoz persistently points to the intersecting and short-circuiting of identities and desires that result from misalignments with the cultural and ideological mainstream in contemporary urban America.Muñoz calls attention to the world-making properties found in performances by queers of color—in Carmelita Tropicana’s “Camp/Choteo” style politics, Marga Gomez’s performances of queer childhood, Vaginal Creme Davis’s “Terrorist Drag,” Isaac Julien’s critical melancholia, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s disidentification with Andy Warhol and pop art, Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s performances of “disidentity,” and the political performance of Pedro Zamora, a person with AIDS, within the otherwise artificial environment of the MTV serialThe Real World.

Cruising Utopia

The Then and There of Queer Futurity

Cruising Utopia

The LGBT agenda for too long has been dominated by pragmatic issues like same-sex marriage and gays in the military. It has been stifled by this myopic focus on the present, which is short-sighted and assimilationist. Cruising Utopia seeks to break the present stagnancy by cruising ahead. Drawing on the work of Ernst Bloch, José Esteban Muñoz recalls the queer past for guidance in presaging its future. He considers the work of seminal artists and writers such as Andy Warhol, LeRoi Jones, Frank O’Hara, Ray Johnson, Fred Herko, Samuel Delany, and Elizabeth Bishop, alongside contemporary performance and visual artists like Dynasty Handbag, My Barbarian, Luke Dowd, Tony Just, and Kevin McCarty in order to decipher the anticipatory illumination of art and its uncanny ability to open windows to the future. In a startling repudiation of what the LGBT movement has held dear, Muñoz contends that queerness is instead a futurity bound phenomenon, a "not yet here" that critically engages pragmatic presentism. Part manifesto, part love-letter to the past and the future, Cruising Utopia argues that the here and now are not enough and issues an urgent call for the revivification of the queer political imagination.

Etching Our Own Image

Voices from Within the Arab-American Art Movement

Etching Our Own Image

Etching Our Own Image: Voices From Within the Arab American Art Movement is a celebration of Arab American art and identity. In the wake of 9/11, the need for Arab Americans to define themselves, rather than be defined by others has galvanized an artistic movement. This collection of writers includes poets, musicians, playwrights, creative writers, painters, conceptual artists, comedians and scholars of the arts who have gathered to assert for themselves what it means to be Arab American and an artist. Arab American artists use their art both to resist and to embrace their past, present and future. Through their art they retain their origins, while creating something new. They collaborate and come together. The artists included here are above all artists and the artistic renderings in this collection demonstrate their commitment to craft, innovation, and expression. They take on the task of etching their own image willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously. By telling their own stories through their own artistic mediums, these voices from within the Arab American art movement reclaim their own image and tell the world who they are.

Making it Home

The Neo-colonial Ethics of Chicano and Latino Literature After Arrival

Making it Home

Thesis (Ph.D.)--Pennsylvania State Univeristy, 2002.

The Avowal of Difference

Queer Latino American Narratives

The Avowal of Difference

Discusses how theories of queer performativity, as articulated within the US Academy, are unable to capture the whole of Latino American queer subjectivity and experience. The Avowal of Difference explores the potentialities and limitations that queer theory offers in the context of Latino American texts and subjects. Ben. Sifuentes-Jáuregui contrasts Latino American sexual genealogies with the Anglo-European “coming out” narrative—and interrogates the centrality of the “coming out” story as the regulating metaphor for gay, lesbian, or queer identities. In its place, the book looks at other strategies—from silence to circumlocution, from disavowal to indifference—to theorize queer subject formation in a Latino American cultural context. The analysis of texts by José Lezama Lima, Luis Zapata, Manuel Puig, Severo Sarduy, Junot Díaz, and others offers a comparative approach to understanding how queer sexualities are shaped and written in other cultural contexts. “The Avowal of Difference is a delightful critical encounter between queer criticism and Latino American literature and culture. I wish I had written it myself.” — Ramón E. Soto-Crespo, author of Mainland Passage: The Cultural Anomaly of Puerto Rico

Fantasies of Identification

Disability, Gender, Race

Fantasies of Identification

In the mid-nineteenth-century United States, as it became increasingly difficult to distinguish between bodies understood as black, white, or Indian; able-bodied or disabled; and male or female, intense efforts emerged to define these identities as biologically distinct and scientifically verifiable in a literally marked body. Combining literary analysis, legal history, and visual culture, Ellen Samuels traces the evolution of the “fantasy of identification”—the powerful belief that embodied social identities are fixed, verifiable, and visible through modern science. From birthmarks and fingerprints to blood quantum and DNA, she examines how this fantasy has circulated between cultural representations, law, science, and policy to become one of the most powerfully institutionalized ideologies of modern society. Yet, as Samuels demonstrates, in every case, the fantasy distorts its claimed scientific basis, substituting subjective language for claimed objective fact. From its early emergence in discourses about disability fakery and fugitive slaves in the nineteenth century to its most recent manifestation in the question of sex testing at the 2012 Olympic Games, Fantasies of Identification explores the roots of modern understandings of bodily identity.

In a Queer Time and Place

Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives

In a Queer Time and Place

What is the price of a limb? A child? Ethnicity? Love? In a world that is often ruled by buyers and sellers, those things that are often considered priceless become objects to be marketed and from which to earn a profit. Ranging from black market babies to exploitative sex trade operations to the marketing of race and culture, Rethinking Commodification presents an interdisciplinary collection of writings, including legal theory, case law, and original essays to reexamine the traditional legal question: ?To commodify or not to commodify?” In this pathbreaking course reader, Martha M. Ertman and Joan C. Williams present the legal cases and theories that laid the groundwork for traditional critiques of commodification, which tend to view the process as dehumanizing because it reduces all human interactions to economic transactions. This “canonical” section is followed by a selection of original essays that present alternative views of commodification based on the concept that commodification can have diverse meanings in a variety of social contexts. When viewed in this way, the commodification debate moves beyond whether or not commodification is good or bad, and is assessed instead on the quality of the social relationships and wider context that is involved in the transaction. Rethinking Commodification contains an excellent array of contemporary issues, including intellectual property, reparations for slavery, organ transplants, and sex work; and an equally stellar array of contributors, including Richard Posner, Margaret Jane Radin, Regina Austin, and many others.

A Companion to African American Literature

A Companion to African American Literature

Through a series of essays that explore the forms, themes, genres, historical contexts, major authors, and latest critical approaches, A Companion to African American Literature presents a comprehensive chronological overview of African American literature from the eighteenth century to the modern day Examines African American literature from its earliest origins, through the rise of antislavery literature in the decades leading into the Civil War, to the modern development of contemporary African American cultural media, literary aesthetics, and political ideologies Addresses the latest critical and scholarly approaches to African American literature Features essays by leading established literary scholars as well as newer voices

Martin Luther King Jr., Homosexuality, and the Early Gay Rights Movement

Keeping the Dream Straight?

Martin Luther King Jr., Homosexuality, and the Early Gay Rights Movement

Martin Luther King, Jr., was not an advocate of homosexual rights, nor was he an enemy; however both sides of the debate have used his words in their arguments, including his widow, in support of gay rights, and his daughter, in rejection. This fascinating situation poses the problem that Michael G. Long seeks to address and resolve.

Arranging Grief

Sacred Time and the Body in Nineteenth-century America

Arranging Grief

2008 Winner, MLA First Book Prize Charting the proliferation of forms of mourning and memorial across a century increasingly concerned with their historical and temporal significance, Arranging Grief offers an innovative new view of the aesthetic, social, and political implications of emotion. Dana Luciano argues that the cultural plotting of grief provides a distinctive insight into the nineteenth-century American temporal imaginary, since grief both underwrote the social arrangements that supported the nation’s standard chronologies and sponsored other ways of advancing history. Nineteenth-century appeals to grief, as Luciano demonstrates, diffused modes of “sacred time” across both religious and ostensibly secular frameworks, at once authorizing and unsettling established schemes of connection to the past and the future. Examining mourning manuals, sermons, memorial tracts, poetry, and fiction by Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Apess, James Fenimore Cooper, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Susan Warner, Harriet E. Wilson, Herman Melville, Frances E. W. Harper, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Keckley, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, Luciano illustrates the ways that grief coupled the affective body to time. Drawing on formalist, Foucauldian, and psychoanalytic criticism, Arranging Grief shows how literary engagements with grief put forth ways of challenging deep-seated cultural assumptions about history, progress, bodies, and behaviors.