Course: In A Queer Time and Place: Queer Theory and the Politics of Temporality

How do queers “queer” time—through performance, sex, gender, ritual, and kinship? Why do the politics of temporality matter at this historical moment? In the last decade, the field of queer studies has made a turn towards re-thinking the politics of temporality. From Jack Halberstam’s In A Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives (2005) to José Muñoz’s Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (2009), scholars working at the intersections of queer theory, cultural studies, and performance studies are investigating the ways in which heteronormativity—and related dominant frameworks such as capitalism and colonialism—produce an idealized sense of time that is linear and progress-oriented. At the same time, scholars are examining the ways in which queer subcultures “produce alternative temporalities by allowing their participants to believe that their futures can be imagined according to logics that lie outside of those paradigmatic markers of life experience—namely, birth, marriage, reproduction, and death” (Halberstam 1). In this course, we will read recent scholarship in queer studies and look at case studies within queer subcultural production, including theater, performance, visual culture, fiction, and memoir. Particular attention will be paid to questions of performativity and embodiment.

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Performances by students in In a Queer Time and Place, inspired by José Esteban Muñoz's Crusing Utopia (above), and Jack Halberstam's In a Queer Time and Place (below), Hampshire College, 2012.