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After Sex?: On Writing Since Queer Theory

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In this special issue of SAQ, a prominent group of contributors consider the vicissitudes of queer theory since its inception in the early 1990s. The issue considers what—if anything—lies at the heart of queer studies other than its interest in sexuality. With essays intended to be more reflective than scholarly, the authors contemplate the future of queer theory by medita In this special issue of SAQ, a prominent group of contributors consider the vicissitudes of queer theory since its inception in the early 1990s. The issue considers what—if anything—lies at the heart of queer studies other than its interest in sexuality. With essays intended to be more reflective than scholarly, the authors contemplate the future of queer theory by meditating richly on its past. Whether viewing sexuality as the epitome of the social or of the anti-social, the essays form a sustained meditation on sex as a source of delight and trouble, as a subject of serious inquiry, and as a political conundrum.Contributors explore the interdisciplinarity of the field and its relation to other fields, such as critical race studies, feminism, and lesbian and gay studies. Several essays recall the birth of queer theory in the days of the feminist-sex wars and the first AIDS-related gay male deaths; some contributors evoke the days of the field’s infancy while others are pleased to embrace its maturity. The sheer number and breadth of the topics considered—everything from Hank Williams and the paradoxes of Native American sovereignty to the declension of atoms in the writings of Lucretius, from Henry Darger’s “naive” depiction of girls with male genitals to the experience of being single or of falling asleep—reflect the continuing power of queer theory a generation after its inception. Contributors Lauren Berlant Michael Cobb Ann Cvetkovich Lee Edelman Richard Thompson Ford Carla Freccero Elizabeth Freeman Jonathan Goldberg Janet Halley Neville Hoad Joseph Litvak Michael Moon José Esteban Muñoz Jeff Nunokawa Andrew Parker Elizabeth A. Povinelli Richard Rambuss Erica Rand Bethany Schneider Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Kate Thomas


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In this special issue of SAQ, a prominent group of contributors consider the vicissitudes of queer theory since its inception in the early 1990s. The issue considers what—if anything—lies at the heart of queer studies other than its interest in sexuality. With essays intended to be more reflective than scholarly, the authors contemplate the future of queer theory by medita In this special issue of SAQ, a prominent group of contributors consider the vicissitudes of queer theory since its inception in the early 1990s. The issue considers what—if anything—lies at the heart of queer studies other than its interest in sexuality. With essays intended to be more reflective than scholarly, the authors contemplate the future of queer theory by meditating richly on its past. Whether viewing sexuality as the epitome of the social or of the anti-social, the essays form a sustained meditation on sex as a source of delight and trouble, as a subject of serious inquiry, and as a political conundrum.Contributors explore the interdisciplinarity of the field and its relation to other fields, such as critical race studies, feminism, and lesbian and gay studies. Several essays recall the birth of queer theory in the days of the feminist-sex wars and the first AIDS-related gay male deaths; some contributors evoke the days of the field’s infancy while others are pleased to embrace its maturity. The sheer number and breadth of the topics considered—everything from Hank Williams and the paradoxes of Native American sovereignty to the declension of atoms in the writings of Lucretius, from Henry Darger’s “naive” depiction of girls with male genitals to the experience of being single or of falling asleep—reflect the continuing power of queer theory a generation after its inception. Contributors Lauren Berlant Michael Cobb Ann Cvetkovich Lee Edelman Richard Thompson Ford Carla Freccero Elizabeth Freeman Jonathan Goldberg Janet Halley Neville Hoad Joseph Litvak Michael Moon José Esteban Muñoz Jeff Nunokawa Andrew Parker Elizabeth A. Povinelli Richard Rambuss Erica Rand Bethany Schneider Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Kate Thomas

30 review for After Sex?: On Writing Since Queer Theory

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    This collection provides a summary of the state of the field re: queer theory and also address the question of whether or not we're "after" it. Aaaaand the consensus is that there is no consensus, which makes sense - this book has received criticism for prematurely supposing academia is over something it's not. Most of the authors summarized their own work while addressing the "after sex?" question, which was useful when reading authors with whom I was unfamiliar and perhaps a little redundant w This collection provides a summary of the state of the field re: queer theory and also address the question of whether or not we're "after" it. Aaaaand the consensus is that there is no consensus, which makes sense - this book has received criticism for prematurely supposing academia is over something it's not. Most of the authors summarized their own work while addressing the "after sex?" question, which was useful when reading authors with whom I was unfamiliar and perhaps a little redundant when reading those I had encountered before. This is also more informal than most scholarship, so it was fun to see super smart writers make crazy connections, tell personal stories, and crack a few jokes. Erica Rand stands out as being pretty hilarious, and Sedgwick is always a delight.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    i can't remember the last time i read something academic, indeed, written by Very Academic Somebodies, without taking notes. maybe it speaks to that strange (and strangely affective) relation i have with "queer theory" and its theoreticians -- girls can write (and there are certainly no geographers to be found amongst this bunch.) reading (seeing) all of these beautiful writers together - brainy losers, avuncular queers, momentary heroes - arguing but still vibrating across the pages, just...mar i can't remember the last time i read something academic, indeed, written by Very Academic Somebodies, without taking notes. maybe it speaks to that strange (and strangely affective) relation i have with "queer theory" and its theoreticians -- girls can write (and there are certainly no geographers to be found amongst this bunch.) reading (seeing) all of these beautiful writers together - brainy losers, avuncular queers, momentary heroes - arguing but still vibrating across the pages, just...marks me. doubles me over too. i can't explain it (maybe i shouldn't try to?) i guess gay shit just gets me every time?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rio

    One of the best theory books I’ve read in a long time. A cross section of seminal authors reflecting on their work in queer theory and after, and how (if?) the non sexual functions in their work now. I’d love to read an updated version of this, it’s from 2011, but the concept and execution is just so strong. I particularly appreciated Elizabeth Freeman and Carla Freccero’s contributions, but the real strength of the book is its broad and intersectional approach. Can feel that this is one I’ll re One of the best theory books I’ve read in a long time. A cross section of seminal authors reflecting on their work in queer theory and after, and how (if?) the non sexual functions in their work now. I’d love to read an updated version of this, it’s from 2011, but the concept and execution is just so strong. I particularly appreciated Elizabeth Freeman and Carla Freccero’s contributions, but the real strength of the book is its broad and intersectional approach. Can feel that this is one I’ll return to time and time again over the years.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karl Steel

    Imagine being in the best imaginable works-in-progress group. Some of the faculty (Edelman) just go on about the same (brilliant?) things they've been saying for years (cf Edelman here to Edelman in the 2006 MLA on the antisocial thesis if you're not convinced...but look at his recent work on Barbara Johnson for related but different), some advance their work incrementally and lovingly (Kate Thomas on Michael Fields: such great stuff), and--at least for this medievalist--many, many happy surpris Imagine being in the best imaginable works-in-progress group. Some of the faculty (Edelman) just go on about the same (brilliant?) things they've been saying for years (cf Edelman here to Edelman in the 2006 MLA on the antisocial thesis if you're not convinced...but look at his recent work on Barbara Johnson for related but different), some advance their work incrementally and lovingly (Kate Thomas on Michael Fields: such great stuff), and--at least for this medievalist--many, many happy surprises from friends of friends showing up unexpectedly. Less a works in progress group, then, than a party. Highlights include Michael Cobb against the primacy of the couple in ethical analysis and political recognition; Carla Fraccero, for her endnotes (which are a miniature guide to queer theory); Jonathan Goldberg on Lucretius and a kind of affective, polychronic redoing of atomism; Joseph Litvak, on sycophants, Jews, and HUAC; Michael Moon on the profound sadism of some accounts of Darger; Jeff Nunokawa, because you can hardly believe how he writes ("how tinny, how thin, how programmatic queer theory’s business-as-usual opposition to fixed identity can sound when it is set next to the voice of the take-no-prisoners prophet we hear in “Is the Rectum a Grave?”; how pale, how paint-by-number the sight of its unfixing can look next to the flames of the funeral pyre where Bersani stages its immolation"); and Bethany Schneider's great line: "Muñoz’s hopeful metaphor of space-clearing, deterritorializing, and reoccupying is no metaphor when it comes to Oklahoma."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    A very readable [1] collection of essays on the relationships between sex and queer theory (if there needs to be one, or not) and on whether queer theory's moment is over (and what that might encourage or allow, if that were the case, which it might not be). It also can serve, for the reader who isn't as familiar with QT as could be (ahem), with a sense of the diversity of positions and stakes within QT. Many of the essays were conceived as autobiographical: How has sex (and QT) informed the aut A very readable [1] collection of essays on the relationships between sex and queer theory (if there needs to be one, or not) and on whether queer theory's moment is over (and what that might encourage or allow, if that were the case, which it might not be). It also can serve, for the reader who isn't as familiar with QT as could be (ahem), with a sense of the diversity of positions and stakes within QT. Many of the essays were conceived as autobiographical: How has sex (and QT) informed the author's work over the years? I especially enjoyed Michael Cobb's thinking about single people (which has become a book since then), Michael Moon's problematizing of the sexualities of Henry Darger's writing and artwork, Elizabeth Povinelli's thinking about the untranslatability of sexualities, Erica Rand on (among other things) how QT isn't limited to academic scholarship, and Kate Thomas's summary of her work on Michael Field (the pseudonym of a 19th c. aunt-neice couple who wrote poetry that was briefly popular until their identity was discovered). But the entire collection was a treat. -- [1] The editors say that they hope it could be read in the john, which is an admirable goal, and one they achieve.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David

    This is an excellent selection of essays -- Edelman, Bersani, Love, Sedgwick, et al. Sedgwick's essay on Melanie Klein was really helpful for me. I haven't read much of Klein and Sedgwick provides an impetus to pick Klein up. And, she nicely puts Klein next to Freud which is really useful to gain some context to her ideas. Bersani is always awesome. I love everything he writes and this essay continues his trajectory into more widely accessible thinking while retaining his usual penchant for evoc This is an excellent selection of essays -- Edelman, Bersani, Love, Sedgwick, et al. Sedgwick's essay on Melanie Klein was really helpful for me. I haven't read much of Klein and Sedgwick provides an impetus to pick Klein up. And, she nicely puts Klein next to Freud which is really useful to gain some context to her ideas. Bersani is always awesome. I love everything he writes and this essay continues his trajectory into more widely accessible thinking while retaining his usual penchant for evocative thinking. There are many other excellent essays as well, but those were the standout pieces.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Kangasvuo

    To be totally honest, I was a bit disappointed of this book. Too many of the articles were personal recollections or musings, and too few were theoretically ambitious or even theoretical at all. However, I particularly enjoyed Michael Cobb's article "Lonely" on normativity of coupledom and Michael Moon's article "Do you Smoke? Or, Is There Life? After Sex?", which analysed the works of an outside artist Henry Darger. To be totally honest, I was a bit disappointed of this book. Too many of the articles were personal recollections or musings, and too few were theoretically ambitious or even theoretical at all. However, I particularly enjoyed Michael Cobb's article "Lonely" on normativity of coupledom and Michael Moon's article "Do you Smoke? Or, Is There Life? After Sex?", which analysed the works of an outside artist Henry Darger.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Diego Millan

    Great if you want a more casual and conversational tone from some of the field's preeminent scholars. Great if you want a more casual and conversational tone from some of the field's preeminent scholars.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carrissa

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joel Piers g

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ben Miller

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bria Marie

  13. 4 out of 5

    cg

  14. 5 out of 5

    Donatas

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jakob Jørgensen

  16. 5 out of 5

    Greggor Mattson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mariam Youssef

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christinev

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elizaveta Bam

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  21. 4 out of 5

    Yoav

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gingey

  23. 4 out of 5

    Reyvi

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tara N.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  28. 5 out of 5

    J. Nelson

  29. 4 out of 5

    Meg

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeanthesecond

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