Notes: Eric H. Newman, “Ephemeral Utopias: Queer Cruising, Literary Form, and Diasoporic Imagination in Claude McKay’s Home in Harlem and Banjo”

Newman, Eric H. (2015). Ephemeral utopias: Queer cruising, literary form, and diasporic imagination in Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem and Banjo. Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, 38(1), 167-185.

Summary:

Newman examine’s McKay’s work as being structured through queer associations with cruising and diaspora.

Keywords: diaspora, critical race theory, LGBTQ, queer, queer studies, utopianism

Quotations:

“Though queer sexual encounters in early-twentieth-century America were often clandestine affairs of fleeting duration, the sexual practices that organized such encounters were as powerful as they were ephemeral, making imaginable a community that could appear and disappear virtually anywhere and which composed itself out of a promiscuous assortment of classed and racialized bodies” (p. 167-168).

“[C]ruising is defined in two distinct but complementary ways: wandering or lingering in public places looking for anonymous, casual sex; and, as a peregrinating movement through dense urban space that finds transgressive pleasure and stimulation in random encounters with the persons, objects, and architecture that constellate the modern metropolis” (p. 169).

“The context in which cruising unfolds in the novel—across spaces populated by queers and largely organized by the circulation of same-sex desire—makes visible the relationship between queerness, as practice and habitation, and the novel’s diasporic vision. Queer encounters, or encounters with queers, offer a consciousness-raising education for McKay’s heterosexual characters” (p. 172).

“Cruising brings out a love of difference that transcends the limits of nation and language as it moves the body through ephemeral and powerful contact with a range of anonymous partners. As eroticized travel, cruising in McKay’s novels is oriented toward the utopian “beauty of other horizons,” the possibility of an encounter with others that does not adhere to national, racial, or class distinctions, but which promiscuously finds love everywhere” (p. 175).

“In its resistance to the normative organization of bodies and time, the ephemerality of cruising gives it the unique capacity to (re)envision the relationship between the self and the other in ways that constitute a new orientation to the world predicated on an anti-teleological looping of attachment to and detachment from an ever-expanding pool of bodies and spaces” (p. 176).

Notes: Gust Yep, “From Homophobia and Heterosexism to Heteronormativity: Toward the Development of a Model of Queer Intervention in the University Classroom”

Yep, Gust A. (2002). From homophobia and heterosexism to heteronormativity: Toward the development of a model of queer interventions in the university classroom. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 6(3-4), 163-76.

Summary:

Yep discusses the ways in which heteronormativity exists structurally and develops an activity that Yep integrated into a classroom to get students engaged in understanding LGBTQ experiences and heterosexual privilege.

Keywords: affect, communication, LGBTQ, pedagogy, queer, queer rhetorics

Quotations:

“These pervasive messages promote and maintain the ideology of heteronormativity, that is, if ‘you are not heterosexual, there is something wrong with you.’ When such messages are internalized and incorporated into one’s conception of selfhood and identity, they become internalized homophobia and they constitute soul murder” (p. 169).

“For LGBT individuals, heteronormativity creates the conditions for homophobia, soul murder, psychic terror, and institutional violence. In addition, such violence is experienced and negotiated differently based on the individual’s race, class, and gender. For heterosexual individuals, interrogation of heteronormativity means understanding their unearned privileges and perhaps seeing how sexual hierarchies limit personal freedom, human creativity, and individual expression” (p. 174).

Notes: Karma Chávez, “The Precariousness of Homonationalism: The Queer Agency of Terrorism in Post-9/11 Rhetoric”

Chávez, Karma. (2015). The precariousness of homonationalism: The queer agency of terrorism in post-9/11 rhetoric. QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, 2(3), 32–58.

Summary:

Chávez describes how homonationalism’s protections depend on the exclusion and leaving for dead of others.

Keywords: citizenship, homonormativity, LGBTQ, queer, queer rhetorics

Quotations:

“This tension between scapegoating and leaving or marking for death on the one hand, and protecting and fostering life on the other, reveals the precarious positioning of gays and lesbians in homonationalism; even when included, we are always potentially threatening to the “us” that many imagine to comprise the national body” (p. 33-34).

“The queer necropolitics of homonationalism ensures that some queers are always left to die” (p. 48-49).

“The homonormative white, middle-class U.S. citizen gay and the queered brown Muslim immigrant terrorist cannot be reduced to one another. A reading of two archetypes of each of these figures reveals their suspension together, and the way in which queerness comes to be framed as the central agency that enables the destruction of the nation in rhetoric ranging from the extremely conservative to the moderate or mainstream” (p. 49).

“For those who through their exceptionalism experience the fantasy of protection within the precarious project of homonationalism, this haunting is a call to reject this protection and to refuse participation in necropolitical logics. One way to reject and refuse is to center the perspectives and work of those queers left or targeted for death—the queer people of color, poor, trans, and gender nonconforming queers, homeless and disabled queers, prostitutes, and drug-using queers” (p. 50).

Notes: Charles Morris & John Sloop “Other Lips, Whither Kisses”

Morris, Charles E., & John M. Sloop. (2017). Other lips, whither kisses? Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 14(2), 182-186.

Summary:

Morris and Sloop, in response to the Pulse shooting in June, 2016, respond to the performance and discourse surrounding two men kissing, asking after performances of race, ethnicity, and ability that are omitted in this dominant discourse.

Keywords: Queer, Queer Rhetorics, Queer Theory, Queer Futurity, LGBTQ, Rhetoric, Communication, Intersectionality

Sources:

Muñoz, José Esteban. (2000). Feeling brown: Ethnicity and affect. In Ricardo Bracho’s “The Sweetest Hangover (and Other STDs)”, Theatre Journal, 52(1), 67–79.

Chávez, Karma. (2015). The precariousness of homonationalism: The queer agency of terrorism in post-9/11 rhetoric. QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, 2(3), 32–58.

Quotations:

“[I]t is fair to ask on what grounds we invoked queer worldmaking when our analysis and vision exhibited noexplicit markers or sustained analysis of intersectionality” (184).

“Both of these interventions offered a vibrant critical visual mass, but more, they helped us realize that kissing’s queer futurity… has so much to do with performance, affect, race and ethnicity—which is to insist that we’re seeking here the very specific bodies-in-pleasure gathered on Latinx Night at Pulse before they were cut down, brown bodies in pleasurable excess affectively interconnected, who in their racial and ethnic specificity were subsequently and unsurprisingly erased in large measure by mainstream public discourse” (184).

Notes: John Ike Sewell, “Becoming Rather than Being: Queer’s Double-Edged Discourse as Deconstructive Practice”

Sewell, John I. (2014). “Becoming rather than being”: Queer’s double-edged discourse as deconstructive practice. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 38(4), 291-307.

Summary:

Sewell articulates how queer’s resistance to stability stays the terms rhetoricity.

Keywords: Queer Rhetorics, LGBTQ, Sexuality, Communication, Rhetoric

Quotations:

“Queer is imminently more malleable as a theoretical construct than in its vernacular use. This malleability is key to queer’s elasticity as an empty signifier and to its political function” (294).

“To be queer is to be marginalized. To identify as queer is to align oneself with the marginalized. Queer functions as a site for contestation or refusal” (294).

“One key to queer’s rhetorical power is its resonance in the culture as an expletive…. [T]o be queer is to violate the gendered order on which governments, economic systems, ideologies, religions—everything—is based” (294).

“Crucially, queer identity discourse defies such petrification because queer never denoted fixity. A term that never had an exact a priori meaning can never lose its meaning” (295).

“As an identifying discourse—and as an empty signifier—queer rhetorically sidesteps the aforementioned temporal location conundrum. Queer acknowledges that it is a thing that cannot be. Queer’s paradox, in this way, is its strength. Because queer is a thing that is and a thing that cannot be, one cannot affix it to a temporal location as an empty signifier” (303).

Notes: Hillery Glasby, “Let Me Queer My Throat: Queer Rhetorics of Negotiation: Marriage Equality and Homonormativity”

Glasby, Hillery. (2014). Let me queer my throat: Queer rhetorics of negotiation: Marriage equality and homonormativity. Harlot 11.

Summary:

Glasby analyzes the tensions between homonormativity and the possibility of queernormativity, arguing for a queer potential for engaging with the institution of marriage. This tension, too, Glasby argues, becomes a site of queer rhetorical articulations of being and doing.

Keywords: Queer, Queer Rhetorics, LGBTQ, Sexuality, Homonormativity

Quotations:

“After reading countless texts by queer writers and scholars discussing homonormativity, I’m shocked by the tone of a text aimed at a heteronormative audience – an audience I no longer belong to – in which every sentence is haunted by invisible discrimination and assumptions.”

“Rhetorical modes that exist outside the conventions of dominant academic discourse are vital to demythologizing and dismantling the canon and expanding the representations of lived experience.”

“Rather than coherence, we need complex, chaotic, and excessive modes of composing in order to more adequately capture and (con)figure the multiple and messy subject positions we queers write from.”

“The most palpable consequence of homonormativity is the erasure of the bad queer and the legitimization of the good gay.”

“In a move that sanitizes queer discontent (and subsequently, agency), the students are strongly encouraged to filter any rage or discomfort out of the rhetorical situation for the audience’s sake.”

“This is extremely problematic, though: queers have pride and political resolve – they would rather see the system radically reconstructed than change what they understand to be distinctive characteristics of their own identity/ies.”

Notes: Christina B. Hanhardt, “Safe Space Out of Place”

Hanhardt, Christina B. (2016). Safe space out of place. QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Worldmaking, 3(3), p. 121-125.

Summary:

Hanhardt traces a dominant narrative within safe space discourses that sees particular subjects as always vulnerable to violence, while reproducing spatially raced and classed hierarchies.

Keywords: Safe Space, Place, LGBTQ, Queer, Culture, History

Quotations:

“These ideas are not new to the response to Pulse, but have provided a long-standing common-sense basis for understanding GLBTQ people as subjects who are always vulnerable to violence and for whom designated spaces might provide protection” (122).

“These convictions are anchored in a deep history of exploitation and survival: GLBTQ people have forged counter-institutions in the context of social exclusion, targeted attacks, and material and ideological structures that install and reward gender and sexual inequality” (122).

“Increased assimilation for a small but dominant segment of GLBTQ people has led some to question the importance of GLBTQ-specific institutions in general” (123).

“As a safe space in need of protection, political responses often leaned on discrete if multiple motives, most of which revolved around the presumed interior life of the actual (or potential future) shooter and called for an expansion of state power. In this way, proposals for more gun control and increased anti-terrorism funding actually had much in common, and arguments that sought to emphasize the fact that the patrons were a majority people of color were still absorbed into a dominant framework of GLBTQ marginality and homophobic violence” (124).

“Of course, the use of the term “safe space” is often more about crafting headlines than making a precise argument, but the idea of safety-in-place is a durable one that, although rooted in real needs, is always bound up in the spatial production of racial and economic hierarchy” (124).

“Thus the effort to put “safe space” out of its familiar place—rhetorical and geographic—ultimately is not about what a single essay (in the mainstream media, or an academic journal) may or may not offer, but is made possible as part of a process—often messy and untidy—in which collective debating and planning might lead us not only to safety but to something or somewhere better that we have not yet known” (125).