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Hans Verhees | A Different Country. ‘The Old, Weird America’ on Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes (Masterclass)

22.2 Queer Studies
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Abstract This article looks at how a different world, a mythical version of America, is created on Bob Dylan’s 1975 album The Basement Tapes by reflecting on Rolling Stone-critic Greil Marcus’ ideas on ‘The Old-Weird America’. Using the Romantic idea of mythology and the Transcendentalist poetics of Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson as a theoretical backdrop and the Anthology of American Folk Music as a template, it tries to find a different America in the songs on The Basement Tapes. Full...

David de Kam | Eroticism and Androids. On the Dynamic of Eroticism in Relation to Androids in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Blade Runner (Masterclass)

22.2 Queer Studies
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Abstract In more and more contemporary science-fiction films and novels the difficulty experienced in attempting to distinguish human from machine has become the main problem facing humanity, endangering its survival, as the machines turn against their architects. In his article, Androids and Eroticism, De Kam attempts such a differentiation between android and human in the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) by Philip K. Dick and Blade Runner (1982), directed by Ridley Scott, through an analysis of the characteristic human ability to experience erotic activity, proposing a new reading of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and supplying posthuman generations with a critical distinguishing feature between the animate and the inanimate. Full...

Dennis Allen | A Place for Us: Queer Space and the Lesbian and Gay Studies Classroom

22.2 Queer Studies
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Abstract While queer space was once primarily understood as a separate subcultural enclave, the increasing acceptance of lesbians and gays in western culture requires a recognition that such spaces are now sites for the deployment of multiple sexual identities, both gay and straight. Using the Queer Studies classroom as a model, this essay argues that queer space should thus be seen as a space of “unequal proximity,” of simultaneity rather than of segregation. By the same token, the implicit assumption that the public sphere is, by definition, heterosexual must also be rethought as an uncanny space where straight and queer identities are co-present. Full...

Lowrie Fawley | Everything I know about a Girl, I learned from a Drag Queen

22.2 Queer Studies
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Abstract On July 19, 2000 a chance encounter changed one writer’s life and reshaped her perspectives on self, on the other, and on gendered identity within the lgbt world which must exist within the constructs of a society that shuns it. Part memoirs, part sociopolitical and cultural history, this article contains excerpts from a larger work, Everything I Know about Being a Girl I Learned from a Drag Queen. It is an account of life, love, and acceptance that explores the issues of gendered identity and bridges the gap between the academic realm of gender studies and personal experience. Full...

Judith Roof | “Aaa, Aaa, Aaa” Repetition/Compulsion, and Queer Comedy in Little Britain

22.2 Queer Studies
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Abstract By playing in the middle, the British sketch comedy program, Little Britain (2003-2006), establishes a very gay form of comedy, not because either one of its creators or half of its subject matter is gay, its skits often involve transvestism, or it normativizes (or queers) most subject positions. Instead, Little Britain’s comic gayness exists in its repeated unfoldings of perverse irony in its field of compulsive repetitions, in its repetitions of compulsion as a comically reversible force, and in its playing out the narrative middle ground as a new combination of the exaggerated flaneurism of “camp,” the imitative impetus of drag, and the directness of targeted understatement. Obsessively repetitive, Little Britain repeats versions of its dozen skit characters and situations, leaving each perversely in the middle, without closure, and evolving in each episode with increasing irony. In the end, the series produces a sophisticated and ironic commentary on identity politics and the hypocrisies of liberalism, while rejuvenating comedy as a very queer form. What Lucas and Walliams produce is not simply a comment about gay characters or comedy in a gay sensibility, but a meditation on comedy itself. Full...

Murat Aydemir | In Queer Street

22.2 Queer Studies
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Abstract ‘Queer’ continues to carry the brunt of scholarly and political claims about the sexual not despite but because of its different usages. The overburdened term does not so much supply an answer but productively traces a problem: the precarious relationships between erotic life, identity, and power. This introductory article critically considers various contemporary conceptualizations of ‘queer.’ Subsequently, it revisits Michel Foucault’s historic understanding of ‘the homosexual’ as the figure through which distinctions between people were recalibrated and redistributed after the waning of the feudal age. Finally, this article discusses different takes on compounded or ‘intersecting’ identifications in relation to the queer problematization of identity. Full...