Enough doom and gloom. Now is a good time for critical memory, if not full-on nostalgia. Oh, for the halcyon days of neoliberalism, Black First Ladies, and magical solutions to real problems. I for one think that if neoliberalism is as powerful as we’ve been led to believe, it’s not over.
I also believe it’s important to think about what analysts call the “going on being” that gives rise to so many of our anxieties. So here are some reflections on my experience at the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts conference in Atlanta, held in conjunction with the meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association and the History of Science Society.
It was a wonderful gathering, despite the labyrinthine organization of the Westin Peachtree Plaza (it’s like they read about the Bonaventure in Jameson’s “Postmodernism” essay and said, ‘I’ll see that, and I’ll raise you…’).
I felt then, and I feel now, like when you find your people, you should keep good company with them. And talk about a galaxy of stars! Below, here’s the abstract from the roundtable in which I participated:
Despite some technical difficulties, our colleague Aimee Bahng was able to join us via FaceTime, using audio only, which seemed appropriate. I realized during our conversation that there are some amazing connections between the thematics in the decolonial thought I’ve been reading lately as part of Penn Humanities Forum and the take on “queer futurity” or “concrete utopia” that I’ve held onto as I move through these conversations with other critics who work on STS, speculative fiction, and posthumanism. One of the works in progress I discussed on the roundtable was an essay on Black Panther (spoiler alert!) that I’m prepping for a certain special issue of a certain journal. The quote I had at hand, which is part of my discussion of how queer futurity influences my interpretation of the new and the old Black Panther comics, was a gentle reminder of how central race thinking and antiracist praxis have always been to the utopian project of cultural criticism:
its recommendation of “holding queerness in a sort of ontologically humble state, under a conceptual grid in which we do not claim to always already know queerness in the world” is in part a response to the entanglement of queer theories and LGBTQ politics in white supremacy, a gentle reminder or apologia for the persistence of Latinidad, the decolonial impulse of minoritarian cultural politics, in queer of color critique. I would like to think that Blackness animates my work in similar terms.
On the other side, now, I was looking at Richard Fung’s website because I just introduced the concept of Queer Diaspora to my students in our World Lit seminar.
In addition to the awesome trailer for Re:Orientations…
Richard has the chapter from Disidentifications about his penis* on the website. I read it and I thought, god I miss José. But here we are.
*not actually about his penis. Read the chapter.