Better Story, The
Queer Affects from the Middle East
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: State University of New York Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Preface: A Family Portrait
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At a family dinner a number of years ago, Zara, my niece who is now nearly 18, shared a very remarkable dream about my father, her grand-father. Unbeknownst to me, she had been taking a keen interest in her father’s past, demanding that my brother tell her bedtime stories about his childhood. Since her father’s “origins” have untidy multiple locations—ancestral roots in Iraq (a place she knew to be troubled), displaced and ...
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Introduction: What's in a Better Story, or Listening Queerly
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The Better Story considers the value of stories for making insights into collective histories and group identity. Stories give us access to the deeply human qualities of how political histories get written from the existential experience of trauma, loss, difficulty, and relationality. Stories, I propose, are emotional resources for political imagination and for political...
Chapter 1: Two Stories in One
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Noni is an unusual Israeli fourth-grader. Growing up on a settlement during the second Intifada in a town called Gilo (an occupied neigh-borhood of East Jerusalem), he lives in a neighborhood divided by a wall from the adjacent Palestinian town, Beit Jala. Noni’s brother Zahi and his friends have made a game of climbing on top of the dividing wall to taunt and yell at Palestinian...
Chapter 2: When the Subaltern Speaks and Speaking of a Suicide
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In her landmark essay, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Gayatri Spivak considers to what degree colonialism successfully silenced the voices of colonized people. She argues that postcolonial resistance, our agency to act and speak out against power and domination, does not belong to the subaltern woman. In her view, prevailing postcolonial discourse presumes...
Chapter 3: Terrorism and the Aesthetics of Love
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The attacks of 9/11 have made terrorism a household topic and a house-hold anxiety. Fear, horror, and disgust toward the Muslim body have fueled “improved” security measures. In light of new permutations of racism, the political left has primarily turned its critical attention to neo-liberal and authoritarian post-9/11 cultures (Giroux 2005; Butler 2004a, 2009; Asad 2007). But the proliferation of this scholarly work by and large ...
Chapter 4: Postcolonial Revolt: An Antihero in Search of Self
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Marji, of Marjane Satrapi’s two-part graphic memoir Persepolis, is not a postcolonial hero. She does not have super-hero feminist, antiracist powers, fighting to put an end to patriarchy and racism. She saves no one, and her opposition to the state of things is often ineffective and futile. Indeed, her resistance is emotional, self-indulgent, muddled, and sometimes self-destructive. But she is a young person learning how to ...
Chapter 5: Discarded Histories and the Adjectives of Queer Pain
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...“Queer,” since its inception in gay communities, has stood for practices and orientations that could not be named: the troubled and troubling affect of impossible desires. The word’s power to disparage and injure was derived from its affective association to degradation, shame, and insult. Resignifying queer positively in the 1980s as an articulated identity was an important move in making sexual minorities ...
Epilogue: The Story Never Ends
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At a talk given by Judith Butler for IAW 2011 (Israeli Apartheid Week) in Toronto, a young Palestinian man stands up at question-and-answer period to share a personal story with her. Educated among exiled Pales-tinians in Damascus, he tells her that he has never been to Palestine. The vice principal of his school was also Palestinian, but they never discussed Palestine together. Colonization, he explains, has fragmented the...
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Page Count: 206
Publication Year: 2013