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Queer Times, Queer Becomings

Mikko Tuhkanen, E. L. McCallum

Publication Year: 2011

Queer theory essays on time and becoming in the fields of literature, philosophy, film, and performance. 'If queer theorists have agreed on anything, it is that for queer thought to have any specificity at all, it must be characterized by becoming, the constant breaking of habits. Queer Times, Queer Becomings explores queer articulations of time and becoming in literature, philosophy, film, and performance. Whether in the contexts of psychoanalysis, the nineteenth-century discourses of evolution and racial sciences, or the daily rhythms of contemporary, familially oriented communities, queerness has always been marked by a peculiar untimeliness, by a lack of proper orientation in terms of time as much as social norms. Yet it is the skewed relation to the temporal norm that also gives queerness its singular hope. This is demonstrated by the essays collected here as they consider the ways in which queer theory has acknowledged, resisted, appropriated, or refused divergent models of temporality.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Queer Times, Queer Becomings

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii

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pp. ix

The following chapters appear here by kind permission of authors and publishers: Sara Ahmed, “Happy Futures, Perhaps,” originally published in a slightly different version in The Promise of Happiness (Durham, NC: Duke University ...

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Introduction: Becoming Unbecoming: Untimely Mediations

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pp. 1-21

Queer time has long been colloquially understood to be about fifteen minutes later than the appointed time—“she’s not here yet because she’s running on queer time.” That local color signals a larger, more complex set of discrepancies and variances between queer modes of experience and the rational, clock-based existence of the social mainstream. Living on the margins of ...

Part I. The Intimacies of Time

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pp. 23

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Queer Aesthetics

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pp. 25-46

Perhaps no notion has been more normative than that of becoming. Perhaps because of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, with their concepts of “becoming-animal” or “becoming-woman,” or perhaps because of a now=institutionalized poststructuralism that appears to have privileged process over ...

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Sedgwick’s Twisted Temporalities,“or even just reading and writing”

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pp. 47-74

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick is widely recognized as one of the founders, one of the leading lights, of queer theory. Courses in queer theory can be expected to include a text by Sedgwick, and that text is almost always Epistemology of the Closet (in its entirety or in excerpt). My focus here, however, will not ...

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Bareback Time

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pp. 75-99

The one thing we thought we knew for sure about infection with HIV—that it is invariably fatal—has become, in recent years, ever more uncertain. This disintegration of certitude into doubt is unsettling, not least because it departs from expectations about what the accumulation of medical knowledge should ...

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No Second Chances

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pp. 101-119

Imagine a man’s life lived under the shadow of some fateful encounter; and then, one day, when this expectancy has become so overwhelming as to transfigure each moment utterly, as if time itself had been penetrated irrevocably by some unspeakable real, another chance encounter leads another ...

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Nostalgia for an Age Yet to Come: Velvet Goldmine’s Queer Archive

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pp. 121-155

They keep on kissing Oscar Wilde. He’s been dead for over a century, buried in Paris beneath a strangely demonic stone angel (inspired by Wilde’s poem “The Sphinx”)—best known, perhaps, for what it lacks: the exposed male genitals that were condemned as obscene, supposedly ...

Part II. Looking ahead to the Postfutural

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pp. 157

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Happy Futures, Perhaps

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pp. 159-182

To pin hopes on the future is to imagine happiness as what lies ahead of us. For Durkheim, an attachment to the future would mean to be missing something, unable to experience the past or the present as something other than hasty, as something we have to get through, rush through, in order to ...

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Close Reading the Present: Eudora Welty’s Queer Politics

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pp. 183-204

What sort of present predicates a future worth living? How are we to engage the present in a way that ensures that this future worth living becomes a matter of fact rather than anticipation? These are the questions that define the work of politics. After all, the past and the future look like child’s play ...

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“My Spirit’s Posthumeity” and the Sleeper’s Outflung Hand: Queer Transmission in Absalom, Absalom!

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pp. 205-232

Writers who confront the question of tradition frequently imagine a paradoxical object of transmission and in their reflections on cultural inheritance turn less often to preservation than to loss: writings lost or of equivocal provenance, texts reduced to fragments, epoch-making encounters that fail to take place, tantalizing details left unrecorded by unobservant contemporaries ...

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Stein und Zeit

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pp. 233-256

In her lecture “What is English Literature?” Gertrude Stein talks about how the English have daily living, but Americans don’t. On the one hand, she remarks, “description of the complete the entirely complete daily island life has been England’s glory” (“What” 35). On the other hand, “nothing ...

Part III. Chronic Anachronisms

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pp. 257

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Mestiza Metaphysics

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pp. 259-294

According to Thomas Kuhn, paradigm shifts occur when a resistant element, an “anomaly,” in the scientific field exerts what might be called a disorienting gravitational pull on the current constellation of assumptions about the world (Kuhn 52–65). The anomaly acts as an irritant, an incitement to ...

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Return from the Future

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pp. 295-313

In Borges’s parable of literary repetition compulsion, a quixotic author takes on the task of rewriting Don Quixote in the precise language of the original, producing a second novel that is both identical to and different from the first. The idea is less absurd than it might seem, at least where ...

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Still Here

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pp. 315-332

A solitary man, a dancer, stands on stage. He is naked. A voice, not his, recounts a dream. The dreamer—another solitary man—is sleeping in a tent. He dreams that he awakes and, looking out of the tent, sees a moving fireplace, burning logs, and a bulldozer. In response to the dreamer’s narration ...

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Keeping Time with Lesbians On Ecstasy

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pp. 333-344

As I’ve been working on “the politics of knowledge in an age of stupidity”— including my new book, The Queer Art of Failure—I have been trying to produce, identify, and enact alternative modes of knowledge production associated with queer modes of being. My intent in this book is to engage ...

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pp. 345-348

You, yes you, I’m talking to queers: with your dildos ready to be donned in a range of situations, in scintillating settings; with your promiscuities, your purple canon of canonical perversions (Wilde, Genet, Baldwin, Barnes); with your edgy embrace of the death drive, eroticized, canonized; with ...


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pp. 349-352


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pp. 353-362

E-ISBN-13: 9781438437743
E-ISBN-10: 1438437749
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438437736
Print-ISBN-10: 1438437730

Page Count: 368
Illustrations: 5 b/w photographs
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Queer theory.
  • Homosexuality and motion pictures.
  • Time in literature.
  • Time in motion pictures.
  • Homosexuality and literature.
  • Homosexuality in literature.
  • Homosexuality in motion pictures.
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