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WHAT QUEER IBERIANS HAVE TO SAY... Gregory S. Hutcheson University of Louisville During a trip to Spain in the summer of 2000, I stumbled across a blurb in Zero, a glitzy Spanish monthly that touts itself as "la primera revista gay de información y estilos de vida en español". Its readership is young, affluent, caught up in all of the obsessions ofthe American urban gay community (especially the cult to the male physique). Zero's take on Queer Iberia is grudging at best, acknowledging as it does the import of the volume while taking exception to the colonization of Iberian materials by American interlopers. It makes bald reference to what it perceives to be a gay Anglo-Saxon agenda ("cierto monolitismo del pensamiento gay anglosajón"), one informed primarily by Foucault and reduced in essence to the drive to "entender el centro a través del margen". (Sour grapes, I thought, especially in a magazine that looks every bit the clone of Out or Genre or The Advocate when it was still in its "crashing-out" phase....) If truth be told, however, the "queer" of Queer Iberia is the extent of our gay Anglo-Saxon posturing. Joe Blackmore and I had certainly intended the title as an activist act, one we aimed at the American academy in hopes of destabilizing the rigid academic discourse inherent in medieval studies (and in Luso-Hispanic medieval studies in particular ). But few are the contributions that subscribe to queer theory a secas, fewer still those that draw deliberately on Foucault. The bulk of us engage in readings informed by the terms offeminism or new historicism . And some of us are decidedly (although perhaps not deliberately ) counter-Foucauldian in our efforts to salvage a gay history in much the same way as John Boswell did in his now classic Christianity, Sochi Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europefrom the Beginning ofthe Christhn Era to the Fourteenth Century. What's more, Joe and I for our part had attempted in our introduction to define "queerness" in terms informed less by Foucault than La corónica 30.1 (Fall, 2001): 223-27 224ForumLa corónica 30.1, 2001 by Américo Castro,1 a critical move that cost us credibility in some quarters, but earned us accolades from the likes ofJuan Goytisolo. On a lark I'd sent Goytisolo a copy of the volume shortly after it came out in July 1999. His support was immediate and uncompromising. In a review essay entitled "Contra una lectura anémica de nuestra literatura: a propósito de Queer Iberia" (which he read at both NYU and the University of Illinois at Chicago in April of 2000 and finally published as the first ofhis regular contributions toABC Cultural in February ofthis year), he argues for endeavors such as Queer Iberia as a vital antidote to those "sterilized and dogmatic" readings of medieval literature plaguing the classrooms and lecture halls of the modern Spanish university . He understands "queer" as precisely that which the Spanish academy, still mired in Franco's national Catholic discourse, refuses to acknowledge in medieval Spanish society, a society that was "heterog énea y abigarrada, formada por grupos muy diversos y de fronteras mudables e indecisas" (8). It's not difficult to see Castro lurking in formulations such as these, or in the particular attention Goytisolo pays to essays that tease out the relationship between sodomitic discourse and constructions of ethnic difference. "A no dudar", he concludes, "la sodomía, como sinécdoque, se convierte en la mejor y más eficaz arma arrojadiza de la casta cristiana vieja" (10). What's new here is the insertion ofsodomy into Castro's reading ofthe so-called edad conflictiva, but the discourse remains entirely castrista, and Goytisolo's admiration for the volume contingent on the degree to which Castro is palpably present.2 Back to Zero. Again, whence the notion of an Anglo-Saxon agenda if, in the final analysis, Castro's is by far the more deliberate presence? 1 "Castro and his school effected in essence a 'queering' of Iberian history by exposing the Semitic roots of modern Spanish identity and by 'outing' as the descendants...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 223-227
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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