Desiring Otherwise: On the Provocations of Queer (Margot Weiss)

Desiring Otherwise: On the Provocations of Queer

This talk explores queer as a critical practice of desiring otherwise. Based on a book-in-progress onethnographic fieldwork with queer left activists in New York City, Chicago, and Montreal and a forthcoming volume, Queer Anthropology: Foundations, Reorientations, and Departures, I consider the provocations of queer in and between queer/left activism, queer theory, and queer anthropology. For queer/left activists, unknowing is necessary to desiring: to want a world that cannot (yet) be known or imagined. I connect queer as an unknowing desire to the anthropological desire to think difference differently, to queer anthropology’s stance against the capture of ethnocartography, and to queer theory’s aspirational orientation toward objectless conceptual horizons—each provocations against the fixity of object-making toward an as-of-yet unknown otherwise.

April 3, 2023


10 Sachem St Room 105

Margot Weiss is Associate Professor of American Studies and Anthropology, affiliated with the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and director of the cluster in Queer Studies.

Her scholarship explores the contradictory relationships between queer sexual cultures and contemporary capitalism. Major research projects include: the gendered, racialized, and class dynamics of BDSM in the San Francisco Bay Area; the politics of left intellectuals in the neoliberal US academy; and the knowledge practices of queer/left activists in New York, Chicago, and Montreal. She is the author of the award-winning Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (Duke University Press, 2011) and editor of two forthcoming volumes Queer Anthropology: Critical Genealogies and Decolonizing Futures (Duke) and Queer Then and Now: The David R. Kessler Lectures, 2002-2020 (The Feminist Press).

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