Queer approaches

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Faye Stewart, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Queer methodologies have opened up myriad avenues of productive scholarly inquiry into literature and culture, thanks to the fluidity of the very word queer. Scholars face the challenge of redefining and retheorizing queerness in each new cultural or historical context, while at the same time allowing it to remain open and relational, to maintain its playfulness and malleability. Through the lasting influence of foundational theorists Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Michael Warner, Judith Butler, and Teresa de Lauretis, queer has acquired two distinct but intertwined senses, referring on the one hand to nonheterosexual desires or nonbinary gender embodiments, and on the other hand to the troubling of established norms or discourses. In her pioneering book The Queer German Cinema (2000), Alice Kuzniar observes that queerness is useful for interrogating distinctions like masculine/feminine, gay/straight, and normal/perverse because it “destabilizes identifications that would adhere to one pole of the binary and acknowledges that individuals often experience their subjectivity hybridly, contingently, and sequentially” (6). This is one of the constellations of meaning that circulate around queer and queerness: an array of nonmainstream, nonessentialist, and nonmonogamous gender and sexual positionalities that include homosexual, bisexual, questioning, trans, intersex, asexual, polyamorous, and pansexual identities and practices. While queer has emerged as a shorthand referent for such embodiments and desires, it refuses to signify cohesively and inevitably fails to capture the diversity of the positions it describes.

Additional Information

Forum on “Feminism in German Studies.” Ed. Elizabeth Loentz. Contemporary Writing by Women. Special Issue of German Quarterly 91.2 (2018): 204–207. https://doi.org/10.1111/gequ.12068
Language: English
Date: 2018
queerness, German studies, queer studies, queer theory

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