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Queer Ecologies

Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire

Edited by Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands and Bruce Erickson

Publication Year: 2010

Treating such issues as animal sex, species politics, environmental justice, lesbian space and "gay" ghettos, AIDS literatures, and queer nationalities, this lively collection asks important questions at the intersections of sexuality and environmental studies. Contributors from a wide range of disciplines present a focused engagement with the critical, philosophical, and political dimensions of sex and nature. These discussions are particularly relevant to current debates in many disciplines, including environmental studies, queer theory, critical race theory, philosophy, literary criticism, and politics. As a whole, Queer Ecologies stands as a powerful corrective to views that equate "natural" with "straight" while "queer" is held to be against nature.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

The editors are deeply grateful to all of the contributors to this volume, each of whom has risen to the challenge of queering his or her ecological position with grace and intelligence. When we came together to discuss the first drafts of our chapters in Toronto in May 2007, it was immediately clear that the whole would be greater than the sum of the parts. For the respectful ...

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Introduction: A Genealogy of Queer Ecologies

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pp. 1-48

In a now-famous scene from Ang Lee’s Academy Award winning film Brokeback Mountain,1 characters Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist have had a bit too much whiskey to drink around the fire at their camp in the Big Horn Mountains of eastern South Dakota and Wyoming, where they are employed by Joe Aguirre in the summer of 1963 to herd and protect his ...

Part 1: Against Nature? Queer Sex, Queer Animality

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pp. 49-50

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1. Eluding Capture: The Science, Culture, and Pleasure of “Queer” Animals

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pp. 51-72

“Nature” and the “natural” have long been waged against homosexuals, as well as women, people of color, and indigenous peoples. Just as the pernicious histories of Social Darwinism, colonialism, primitivism, and other forms of scientifically infused racism have incited indispensable critiques of the intermingling of “race” and nature,1 much queer theory has bracketed, expelled, or distanced the volatile categories of nature and the natural, situating queer desire within an entirely social, and very human, ...

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2. Enemy of the Species

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pp. 73-101

For at least a decade, a common strategy for promoting acceptance of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in many corporate and educational institutions has been to insist that diversity in any population is superior to homogeneity. Homogeneity, it is said, tends toward stagnation. If the “population” is a work team, for example, advocates of diversity suggest ...

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3. Penguin Family Values: The Nature of Planetary Environmental Reproductive Justice

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pp. 102-133

In 2005, a nature documentary entitled The March of the Penguins was a surprise hit, winning an Academy Award in 2006 for best documentary. The beautifully filmed story of the improbable but gorgeous Antarctic Emperor penguins and their incredible effort to produce and nurture their babies was a tale of terrific difficulties overcome with amazing persistence. ...

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4. Queernaturecultures

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pp. 134-146

In this chapter, I want to think about what Jeffrey Weeks (1991, 86) calls “the nature of our sexual natures” by considering three particular articulations of the nature of sex and the sex of nature: eco-porn, queer animals, and naturism. In so doing, my aim is to use these lenses to think through the broader articulations of sex and nature, or “nature loving,” ...

Part 2: Green, Pink, and Public: Queering Environmental Politics

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pp. 147-148

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5. Non-white Reproduction and Same-Sex Eroticism: Queer Acts against Nature

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pp. 149-172

In Euroamerican-dominant cultural contexts, two kinds of sex have been (are) said to be toxic to nature: reproductive sex between non-white people, and sex between men. From their preservationist-conservationist origins right through to the twenty-first-century canonization of Al Gore as global eco-crusader, leading North American environmental move ...

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6. From Jook Joints to Sisterspace: The Role of Nature in Lesbian Alternative Environments in the United States

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pp. 173-198

Despite the depth and breadth of Catriona Sandilands’s ground-breaking “Lesbian Separatist Communities and the Experience of Nature,” with its emphasis on communities in southern Oregon, Sandilands does not consider her article, published in 2002, to be “the last one on the topic.” Instead she hopes “fervently that other researchers will enter into ...

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7. Polluted Politics? Confronting Toxic Discourse, Sex Panic,and Eco-Normativity

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pp. 199-230

As genderqueer author Eli Clare notes, there are myriad terrible ways that bodies are stolen, violated, and poisoned. Enumerating the diverse messages of “body hatred” that he has lived with throughout his life owing to the “irrevocable difference” of his queerness and disability—perverse, unnatural, defective, tragic—Clare explains how these expressions of ...

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8. Undoing Nature: Coalition Building as Queer Environmentalism

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pp. 231-253

The denunciation of queers as “unnatural” and as “crimes against nature” has a long history that continues to endanger queer lives and complicate queer environmental desires. Elected officials, popular athletes, and powerful religious authorities routinely evoke crimes against nature ideology, affecting most queer people’s lives on a daily basis.1 A literal example ...

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9. Fragments, Edges, and Matrices: Retheorizing the Formation of a So-called Gay Ghetto through Queering Landscape Ecology

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pp. 254-282

Can interdisciplinary sciences such as landscape ecology, fields of inquiry that fully engage natural and social sciences, be adapted for better understanding the dynamics of networks of sexual minorities, and more broadly the patterns across space and time of participants of various kinds of sex that do not specifically lead to reproduction? If most scientific ...

Part 3: Desiring Nature? Queer Attachments

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pp. 283-284

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10. “The Place, Promised, That Has Not Yet Been”: The Nature of Dislocation and Desire in Adrienne Rich’s Your Native Land/YourLife and Minnie Bruce Pratt’s Crime against Nature

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pp. 285-308

Adrienne Rich and Minnie Bruce Pratt are contemporary U.S. lesbian feminist poets whose work overtly challenges many sorts of social inequalities and exclusions, including heterosexism, which rests upon the formulation of homosexuality as a crime against nature. Both poets expose how this discourse of unnatural sex dislocates lesbians from the social-natural ...

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11. “fucking close to water”: Queering the Production of the Nation

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pp. 309-330

In order to start with honesty, I should inform the reader that my title, and my subject, is an absolute cliché for a novel take on the canoe in Canada. One of the first collections on canoeing in Canada (Raffan and Horwood 1988) contained two articles that started with the proposition, credited to Pierre Berton, that, “a Canadian is one who can make love in ...

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12. Melancholy Natures, Queer Ecologies

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pp. 331-358

A contemporary echo of Aldo Leopold’s famous comment about environmental awareness as a “world of wounds” is currently reverberating around assorted blogs, Web pages, and other internet conversations. Entitled “The World is Dying—and So Are You,” the short piece (originally a 2001 op-ed commentary in the LA Times) begins with the following ...

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13. Biophilia, Creative Involution, and the Ecological Future of Queer Desire

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pp. 359-382

In Ellen Meloy’s seriously quirky writing of the desert southwest, the linking of affections and affiliations across species lines are more than idiosyncratically queer.1 Meloy uses ecologist Edward O. Wilson’s “biophilia” hypothesis as a method of cognitive adventuring into the frontiers of symbiosis.2 Her explorations of bio-erotic-diversity map flows of desire ...

List of Contributors

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pp. 383-386


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pp. 387-410

E-ISBN-13: 9780253004741
E-ISBN-10: 0253004748
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253354839

Page Count: 424
Illustrations: 3 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2010