Coda: Asexual Awareness Week and the Future of Queer Theory

Metathesis

Last week, I completed the Safer People, Safer Spaces training my university offers to learn better ways to be an ally, whether you’re a member or a supporter of the queer community. One of the activities we did involved matching vocabulary words (like lesbian, heteronormativity, drag, M2F) to their definitions and then discussing what we learned and what confused us. One of the words was asexuality, and to my surprise, no one had any questions about it!

In most settings, this is definitely not the norm. Even though, as one blogger pointed out, the US is home to more asexuals (or, as some prefer to be called, aces) than it is to Muslims, breast-cancer survivors, and Yale graduates, asexuality is not on most people’s radars. Even those within the LGBT community are sometimes unaware of asexuality as an orientation — indeed, the “A” in…

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Re-Reading “Harry Potter”–“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”

Well, here it is, the second installment of my adventures in re-reading Harry Potter.  Today, I wanted to talk about the second volume in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  Again, I was pleasantly surprised at how well this book has aged, as well as how compulsively readable it is.  It now occurs to … Continue reading Re-Reading “Harry Potter”–“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”

Re-Reading “Harry Potter”–“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

On a whim, I recently decided to start re-reading all of the Harry Potter novels from the beginning (since it's now been over a decade and a half since the first one debuted).  I also thought it might be worthwhile to jot down a few thoughts as I go through, noting how my perspective on these novels … Continue reading Re-Reading “Harry Potter”–“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

Heavy Histories

feministkilljoys

So many heavy words, we feel the weight of them; we feel the weight each time, every time, all the time.

Black, brown, race, racism: words that come up; words you bring up.

Heavy; down.

Slow, frown.

It is not that we only feel the weight through words. The load does not lighten when light remains white. Whiteness is a lightening of a load.

Not white: loaded.

When you bring up racism it is like you introduce something that would not have otherwise existed. It is racism that makes “racism” a foreign word, a foreigner word, what you impose on others, what gets in the way of happiness, reconciliation.

Smile: things will get better!

Smile: they won’t.

No wonder words matter. Words are materials. We build worlds with words. We make words from worlds.

This is why: so much of contemporary politics, we might call this so much “happy multiculturalism”…

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Queering LGBT History: The Case of Sherlock Holmes Fanfic

Metathesis

This summer, I fell for BBC’s “Sherlock” hard1 — hard enough to drive me back to fanfic. Fanfic has grown up in the past decade: it now has activists, “aca-fans” (academic fans), and copyright lawyers, and a nonprofit defending artists’ rights to disseminate transformative works, including fiction. My casual intention to fill the wait till next season with fanfic rapidly developed into academic fascination, especially because I discovered that its writers are challenging traditional notions of sexuality and narrative in ways that mass media and even academia aren’t.

In fact, I’d like to suggest that some of the problems about LGBT historiography I discussed last week could be mitigated by our adopting a transformative fiction philosophy. Allow me to map the landscape of queer fanfic, using Sherlock as an example, before I argue that point.

Sherlock fans have been writing fanfic ever since Arthur Conan Doyle (or ACD, as…

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“American Horror Story: Freak Show” Review: “Edward Mordrake: Part One”

In order to enjoy American Horror Story:  Freak Show, or the series as a whole, really, you have to be able to take the good with the bad and just accept the series as it is, warts and all.  While part of last night's episode was a little tedious--I'm still not sold that this 1 hr, 23 … Continue reading “American Horror Story: Freak Show” Review: “Edward Mordrake: Part One”

Are We There Yet? “How To Get Away With Murder” And “Post-Gay” Television

In case you missed it, Shonda Rhimes, the noteworthy executive producer of one of this season's most popular new dramas How to Get Away With Murder, put the smack down on someone who suggested that the gay scenes in both Scandal and HTGAWM were extraneous to the plot, tweeting that "there are no GAY scenes.  There are scenes with people in … Continue reading Are We There Yet? “How To Get Away With Murder” And “Post-Gay” Television

Why you should use Twitter during your PhD

The Thesis Whisperer

This post is by Sheree Bekker, who is originally from South Africa and now based in Australia as an international PhD scholar at the Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia. Her research centres around sports safety. Follow her on twitter @shereebekker

twitter-follow-achieverTwitter, according to Wikipedia (yes – how terribly un-scientific of me), is an online social networking and micro-blogging service that enables users to send and read “tweets”, which are text messages limited to 140 characters. Twitter is vital to the success of your PhD. Yes, you heard me read me correctly, a seemingly superficial social media site is a fundamental element that will contribute to the success of your PhD – if you embrace it!

Let me tell you my story.

I was a Masters student in South Africa, where I had completed my undergraduate studies and an Honours…

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Overwriting History: “Just Reading” and the Case of John Henry Newman

Metathesis

John Henry Newman has been in my Twitter feed a lot lately. Apparently, when this Victorian cardinal wasn’t writing his Apologia Pro Vita Sua, the nineteenth century’s longest and driest autobiography (sorry, Newman), he wrote religious commentary that some people still find instructive. But it wasn’t all that long ago that Newman was in the news for very different reasons.

Just before his beatification in 2010, gay-rights activists protested the Vatican’s exhumation and relocation of Newman’s remains from the grave he shared with his dear friend, Ambrose St. John, to a chapel for public veneration. Claiming Newman as one of their own, protestors pointed his written command that his body join his friend’s in death: “I wish, with all my heart, to be buried in Father Ambrose St. John’s grave and I give this as my last, my imperative will.”1  To the protesters, the Vatican’s flouting of

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