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Queering Freedom

Shannon Winnubst

Publication Year: 2006

"Radically reorienting, challenging, provocative, this book moves progressive philosophy, feminist and queer theory, critical discussions of race and racism forward. Prophetically, it calls for an interrogation of all our oppositional theory and politics, offering new and alternative visions." -- bell hooks

In Queering Freedom, Shannon Winnubst examines contemporary categories of difference -- sexuality, race, gender, class, and nationality -- and how they operate within the politics of domination. Drawing on the work of Georges Bataille, Michel Foucault, and others, Winnubst engages feminist theory, race theory, and queer theory as she sheds light on blind spots that have characterized thinking about freedom. Winnubst turns away from the language of rights, identity politics, and liberation toward bodies and experiences to calibrate normative ideas of time and space. Her views operate at the very limits of freedom, which contain individuals within strict boundaries that they are forbidden to cross. Winnubst develops strategies of "queering freedom" to undo the more subtle spatial and temporal norms and shatter structures of domination. This thoughtful and provocative work challenges the cornerstones of contemporary philosophies about the body and its politics.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

Like most work in feminist theory, this book was written with and through many voices. While many of these are buried in the multiple pasts of my various educations, I would like to acknowledge the following for their on-going support of me and my work, in many different ways: ...

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Introduction: The Seduction of Freedom

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pp. 1-20

The founding of nation-states across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe, the Americas, and South and East Asia corresponded to a heightened rhetoric of freedom. The concept of the nation grounded its moral authority in the fundamental claim to liberation— from autocratic regimes, from clerical hierarchies, ...

Part One. Demarcating the Space of Domination: The Politics of Freedom

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pp. 21

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1. Liberalism's Neutral Individual: Delimiting Racial and Sexual Difference

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pp. 23-57

As the fences in my gentrifying, whitening neighborhood grow higher and higher, the political, economic, and personal functions of limits in cultures of phallicized whiteness become more and more clear. Limits constitute property and propriety. Demarcating a ‘body’ or ‘subject’ from the vagueness of ...

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2. Is the Mirror Racist? Interrogating the space of Whiteness

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pp. 58-77

In “Love Thy Neighbor? No, Thanks!” Slavoj Zizek (1998) begins with some general musings on the bad press that psychoanalytic approaches to racism enjoy these days. Arguing against these critiques of “psychological reductionism” and an “abstract-psychologistic approach,” ...

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3. The Place of Sexual Difference: Idealizing Heterosexual Drive

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pp. 78-108

In turning explicitly to ethical concerns in An Ethics of Sexual Difference, Luce Irigaray does not take the routes that many Anglo-American philosophers might assume are the proper categories or presuppositions of ethics. She does not turn, at least not explicitly, toward questions of rights or duties ...

Part Two. Moving Toward Resistance: A Politics Without a Future

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pp. 109

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4. Free to Be Queer: Queer to Be Free

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pp. 111-149

I taped that last epigraph to the cover of my copy of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit in 1993. I was intensely involved at the time in two of the most transformative experiences of my life: writing a dissertation, on Hegel and Foucault; and coming out, to myself, to my friends and family, to the world. ...

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5. The Temporality of Whiteness: Anticipating Pleasure (And Feeling Nothin' But Guilty)

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pp. 150-175

The events of September 11, 2001, in New York City and Washington, D.C., seem to have acted as Althusser’s cop calling us before the law: ‘we’—the specific we of those living in material, political, and economic security in the United States—have been called to awaken to a reality that may jar us from our luxurious solipsism. ...

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6. The Freedom of Sovereignty: Remembering Lost Pasts

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pp. 176-200

In the worlds of liberal democracy and advanced capitalism, of white supremacism and advanced patriarchy, power operates fundamentally on a model of mastery and domination. To master our conditions is to set ourselves free. We measure our freedom by our ability to overcome limiting conditions, ...

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Epilogue: A Political Note against Same-Sex Marriage

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pp. 201-208

As Dean Spade, the founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, puts it, “Everything changes when we aren’t trying to climb into their marriage boat” (2005). As the same-sex marriage debate spurs ever higher levels of national anxiety across the U.S., I want to offer a few closing words ...


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pp. 209-238


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pp. 239-246


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pp. 247-253

E-ISBN-13: 9780253112118
E-ISBN-10: 0253112117
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253347077

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 1 index
Publication Year: 2006