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Norms, Deviance, and the Queer Ordinary // with Heather Love

  • Center for Gender/Race Studies, Community Room 5733 S University Ave Chicago, IL, 60637 United States (map)

Description: The study of norms and deviance is central to the intellectual genealogy of queer studies. While social science scholars have recognized commonalities between the sociological study of deviance and contemporary queer studies, queer humanities scholars have been slow to do so. A significant aspect of what Gayle Rubin has described as the “obscured” history of the field, research on deviance and social problems in the social sciences shaped queer studies’ commitment to subcultures, to non-normativity, and to a constructionist view of sexuality. However, early queer theorists transformed the study of deviance by turning non-conforming behavior from an object of study to a political program. This collapse of the position of the scholar and the social deviant produced transformations in the ethos and style of scholarship, and yet it did not profoundly change the material conditions or the power relations between professional academics and the marginal subjects they study.

Bio: Heather Love received her A.B. from Harvard and her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Her research interests include gender studies and queer theory, the literature and culture of modernity, affect studies, film and visual culture, psychoanalysis, race and ethnicity, sociology and literature, disability studies, and critical theory. She is the author of Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History (Harvard 2007), the editor of a special issue of GLQ on the scholarship and legacy of Gayle Rubin ("Rethinking Sex"), and the co-editor of a special issue of New Literary History ("Is There Life after Identity Politics?"). A book of her essays and lectures (Queer Affect Politics: Selected Essays by Heather Love, ShenLou Press 2012) was published recently in Taiwan. She is spending 2014-2015 as the Stanley Kelley, Jr., Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Princeton.

This event co-sponsored by the Center for Study of Gender and Sexuality and 3CT.