From Diane DiMassa’s caffeinated homicidal heroine in Hothead Paisan to Lee Edelman’s sinthomosexual who “chooses not to choose the Child,” revenge – if only phantasmatic – invigorates queer narratives, theory, even politics. And given that oppression breeds resentment, it is no intellectual leap to consider why revenge becomes a popular trope. But is there something inherently queer about revenge? Could we envision distinctly queer forms of revenge? Or is such an essentialist application of “queer” its very antithesis?
In an effort to address these questions, this panel invites papers that put queer theory, ethics, and revenge into conversation. To do so, this panel investigates the recent development in the so-called “new ethics” and how discussions of queerness and revenge might bring ethics, new or otherwise, to its limit. How might queer revenge deconstruct the ethics of intimacy (e.g., Sedwick, Bersani, Warner)? Or confound the ethics of alterity (e.g., Levinas, Lacan, Edelman)? What theoretical frameworks might afford new insights not only in relation to queer revenge but in regards to ethics as well?
Finally, this panel also explores alternatives to vengeance. If, as Judith Butler suggests, the turn from revenge requires one “to stay with a sense of grief, mournfulness, and vulnerability,” might we consider from what revenge protects us? Or might “mournfulness and vulnerability” be an ultimately untenable position for the queer?
Please send abstracts (250 words maximum), short CVs, and contact information (current institutional affiliation and e-mail address) to Emily.King@tufts.edu by September 30th. The 2012 NeMLA (March 15-18) will be in Rochester, NY.
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