Queer Space – virtual theme issue
June 10, 2012 2 Comments
Queer theorizing has made a lot of room for time lately as several recent major works have spurred on a temporal turn within the field (eg. Edelman 2004, Freeman 2010, Halberstam 2005, Munoz 2009 and Puar 2007). This diverse literature hangs together in its common concern to reinvigorate the queer political and intellectual project in the face of the unprecedented mainstreaming of gay and lesbian life that is occurring in a number of contexts. Arguing that the normalization of gayness demands not celebration but scrutiny, work on queer time diagnoses emergent homonormativities and attendant queer liberalisms. It seeks to move us away from the increasingly narrow single-issue focus of too much queer scholarship and activism to resituate queerness as a radical social critique. It envisions a renewed criticism that attends to the simultaneously sexualized, raced, gendered, classed and nationalized ways in which hegemonic structures continue to render certain subjects ‘normal’ through the production of ‘perverse’ others.
In consonance with these powerful and important claims, this virtual theme issue assembles queer theoretical work from the Society and Space archives to explicitly spread the spotlight from time to space (of course the queer time literature does not ignore space, but its treatment is limited). None of the pieces here engage in any depth with the queer time literature; indeed, most of them predate queer theory’s temporal turn. Yet they evidence the vitality that a spatial analytic brings to the sort of radical critique that queer time scholarship advances. The earliest pieces highlighted here were among the first to put geography into conversation with queer theory. They put the lives of ‘sexual dissidents’ on the map and took mainstream geographical thought to task as disembodied. This challenge to the ‘straightness’ of the discipline has persisted in the queer work within our pages, even as that work has moved out from the single-issue to situate sexuality within a wide social field. Also persistent has been an insistence that the best queer theorizing is geographically sensitive. Across a diverse range of topics, these papers demonstrate the need to understand sexuality as sited and scaled. They take space, place, distance, proximity, movement and flow seriously as constitutive elements of sexual lives, norms, and politics.
‘Queer space’, these papers show, is a productive notion. That is not to say that these authors essentially define or claim literal sites for some sort of essential queerness. Just as the ‘queer time’ literature deploys that term epistemologically rather than asserting it ontologically, so is ‘queer space’ used in these pages. It is thus offered as a notion to think with as we imagine radical queer futures.
These papers will be available open access through August 2012. Readers may also wish to check out the already open access editorial introductions to two relevant special issues on the themes ‘Sexuality and space: queering geographies of globalization’ (2003) and ‘Governing intimacy’ (2010). We look forward to receiving more provocative submissions on many queer spaces and times.
Sexuality and the spatial dynamics of capitalism
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 1992 10 651 – 669
Ironies of distance: an ongoing critique of the geographies of AIDS
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 1995 13 159 – 183
Genderbashing: sexuality, gender, and the regulation of public space
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 1996 14 221 – 240
Coming out of Geography: towards a queer epistemology?
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 1997 15 223 – 237
Retrenchment from a queer ideal: class privilege and the failure of identity politics in AIDS activism
G Derrick Hodge
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2000 18 355 – 376
Breeders on a golf ball: normalizing sex at Ellis Island
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2003 21 441-460
Pleasure and propriety: teen girls and the practice of straight space
Mary E Thomas
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2004 22 773 – 789
You could truly be yourself if you just weren’t you: sexuality, disabled body space, and the (neo)liberal politics of self-help
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2007 25 144 – 159
The queer intimacy of global vision: documentary practice and the AIDS pandemic
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2010 28 112-127
Bestiality and the queering of the human animal
Michael Brown and Claire Rasmussen
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2010 28 158-177
Queer ecology: nature, sexuality and urban heterotopias
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space advance online publication
Thanks to Mary Thomas, Deb Cowen and Stuart Elden for their help in shaping the content of this virtual theme issue and for logistical support. Thanks also to Jan Schubert and Rory Clarke at Pion for facilitating open access to the articles.
Edelman L, 2004 No future: Queer theory and the death drive (Duke University Press, Durham, NC)
Freeman E, 2010 Time binds: Queer temporalities, queer histories (Duke University Press, Durham, NC)
Halberstam J, 2005 In a queer time and place: Transgender bodies, subcultural lives (New York University Press, New York)
Munoz J, 2009 Cruising utopia: the then and there of queer futurity (New York University Press, New York)
Puar J, 2007 Terrorist assemblages: Homonationalism in queer times (Duke University Press, Durham, NC)