Que(e)rying Theory is a discussion group about queer theory and critical theory for thinkers from all contexts. Reading texts both vintage and new, we will ask questions such as: What is queerness? What do queer politics look like? How do we find the tools for living in a precarious world? And finally, what can theory mean in our own lives? In dialogue with one another, we will fearlessly relish in the complexities of theory, and collectively work towards richer understandings of our past, present, and future. Discussions will be moderated by Connor Spencer, and for a small donation, wine, beer, and sparkling water will be available to help lubricate our conversations.
“Queerness is not yet here. Queerness is an ideality. Put another way, we are not yet queer. We may never touch queerness, but we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality…Queerness is that thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing.”
So begins José Muñoz’s Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity, one of the most influential texts in contemporary queer studies. A response to the so-called “antirelational turn” in the queer academy, Cruising Utopia asserts that queerness is first and foremost about collectivity, futurity, and hope–and not, as some critics have argued, a negation that undoes the very idea of “the social” itself. Cruising from European philosophers to contemporary performance artists of color, Muñoz traces queer dreams of difference past and present, and maps out the utopic futures that lay just beyond the horizon. At once an interruption to pragmatic LGBT political discourses and a moving manifesto for imagining another world, Cruising Utopia is a work that is timely, challenging, and daring, and illuminating for any queer project of change.
Our conversation will open with a brief overview of antisocial queer theory’s major arguments before delving into Cruising Utopia. While we will talk about the text as a whole, we will primarily focus on the introduction, conclusion, and first three chapters of the book. Come with questions, thoughts, and ideas–even if you didn’t have a chance to finish the entire book!
Cruising Utopia is available for purchase at the Bureau–please support the Bureau by purchasing your copy here. Thank you!
Connor Spencer is a writer living in New York City. He graduated with a BA in English from New York University, where he conducted bi-coastal research on the artists David Wojnarowicz and Gary Fisher. Connor tweets about leftism, queer politics, and dog costumes @conneriks
Event image: Catch One, Copyright Kevin McCarty: https://www.kevinmccartystudio.com/Stages/9/caption/