Carnegie Mellon University
September 19, 2013

No Church in the Wild

Queer Anarchy and the Aesthetics of Chaos

No Church in the Wild

Jack Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California.

In a new book on “The Wild” I turn to anarchist thought to elaborate a queer politics for this particular moment of crisis and renewal. As many thinkers have proposed recently, a turn to anarchy makes sense at this time precisely because people’s faith in the state and in a politics of inclusion and assimilation is wearing thin, particularly in leftist circles; and, anti-hegemonic, anti-state and anti-assimilationist positions have been rendered thinkable by Occupy movements and other global expressions of radical dissent.  My recent book, Gaga Feminism, in that it both calls for and describes an end to “the normal,” or that form of state power that manages people by disciplining them in relation to a fantasised norm, could be called anarchist. And my book on failure, in that it breaks with the all or nothing logics of success driven by capitalism, could be characterized as anarchist critique. In this new project, I seek to make explicit the stakes of a queer investment in anarchy that both reaches back to punk movements from the 1970’s for inspiration but also seeks other traditions of anarchy globally.

Halberstam is the author of five books including: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and has written articles that have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and collections. Halberstam has co-edited a number of anthologies including Posthuman Bodies with Ira Livingston (Indiana University Press, 1995) and a special issue of Social Text with Jose Munoz and David Eng titled “What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now?” Jack is a popular speaker and gives lectures around the country and internationally every year. Lecture topics include: queer failure, sex and media, subcultures, visual culture, gender variance, popular film, animation. Halberstam is currently working on several projects including a book titled THE WILD on queer anarchy, performance and protest culture, the visual representation of anarchy and the intersections between animality, the human and the environment.

Thursday, September 19; 4:30-5:50 PM
Porter Hall 100