For more details about the 2016 LGBT Lecture Series, QUEER BEYOND REPAIR,
“Queer beyond repair” evokes a double meaning. On one hand, it suggests that queerness itself is, has become, or can be a state of irreparability: that it must bear the burden of histories and structures of violence from which there is no final redress. In such a reading, repair appears, necessarily, as an impossible project. It asks us to account for queer practices—of sex, politics, reading, world-making—as modes of reprieve and endurance that must contend with the unshakeable legacies and foundational logics that undergird already consolidated fantasies of humanness, from imperial rule and anti-blackness, to the psychic and material structures of liberal politics itself. Such an account would require a re-inscription of the satisfaction, if not pleasure, we receive from the survival of queer forms of life within a nexus of lives marked by past, ongoing, and potential experiences of irretrievable loss, dread, and death.
On the other hand, “queer beyond repair” also suggests that there is, can be, or must be a queerness beyond repair. It evokes potentiality: a queerness that is more than the making of room to maneuver, a reinvestment in a politics of transformation, if not the unmaking of a world in which survival—bare survival—has become, for so many, a desirable condition. This queerness insists on forms of reinvention, if not defiance, in excess of the states of decay we have inherited or the symptoms of disrepair we have learned to uncover. It asks us to be estranged from the present, even as we acknowledge the limits set by our fear of what might lie beyond life as we know it. The double meaning of “beyond repair” demands a questioning of deeply held convictions, at once political and theoretical, about amelioration and suspicion, hope and hopelessness, positivity and negativity, and the embrace or rejection of modes of living on made possible and held captive by damaged and damaging worlds.
What is queer beyond repair? This year's lecture series is interested in conversations that take up either meaning or both from a variety of inter and transdisciplinary perspectives.
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
College of Arts and Humanities; The Graduate School; Office of Diversity & Inclusion; Office of Undergradute Studies; School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Center for Literary and Comparative Studies; Nathan and Jeanette Miller Center for Historical Studies; Department of Anthropology; Department of Communication; Department of English; Department of History; Department of Sociology; Department of Women’s Studies; and the LGBT Equity Center
THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
Department of English