Queer Environmentalities

How can queer theory and ecocriticism inform each other? And why should they? Scholars working to bring these two fields together argue that each has undermined its central goals by keeping aloof from the other: That ecological criticism has been fundamentally unable to broach the concerns of... ... more

How can queer theory and ecocriticism inform each other? And why should they? Scholars working to bring these two fields together argue that each has undermined its central goals by keeping aloof from the other: That ecological criticism has been fundamentally unable to broach the concerns of queer theory when it has privileged a version of "natural" that foregrounds heteronormativity; and that queer theory, for its part, has had no room for a consideration of the environment because the liberatory impulse of queerness has gotten much of its momentum from the turn away from nature, the de-coupling of human choices from a reigning "natural" order. But, queer environmentalists ask, Can an ecocritical enterprise—one aimed at revealing and reversing the destruction brought about by human-centric conceptions of environment—hope for a success if it fails to take into consideration the injustices of imagining the human as male and heterosexual?

This Colloquy takes its title from Robert Azzarello’s 2012 book Queer Environmentality, in which Azzarello argues that a synthesis of ecocriticism and queer theory can reveal that "the questions and politics of human sexuality are always entwined with the questions and politics of the other-than-human world." Criticism that attends to our queer environmentalities can enable profound resistances to, as Azzarello puts it, "conventional notions of the strange matrix between the human, the natural, and the sexual." Such approaches can reveal the Anthropocene as not only a period in which humankind has altered nature, but also as a period in which humankind has constructed the definitions of nature, and can throw into relief unarticulated valuations of scientific discourse and identity politics in making humans’ relationships with the non-human mean.

Since their budding in the 1990s in the pioneering work of ecofeminist critics such as Catriona Sandilands and Greta Gaard, queer-ecological methods have gained momentum across humanistic disciplines, periods, and national boundaries. This Colloquy highlights exciting new work in literary and cultural histories and presents, dance and performance, film, music, urban studies, and political ecology. It showcases a range of approaches, from postcolonial to trans theory, to objects of study spanning our aesthetic productions and our political, economic, and rhetorical responses to the challenges of managing climate change and natural resources. The pieces featured here expand conceptions of environment and sexuality to include the human(-made) and the non-human, the intersections of bodies' outsides and insides, minds and discourses, making possible new ways to think filiation and affiliation, desire and sex, realisms and un-realisms, aesthetics and politics.

Irena Yamboliev's picture
Curator Irena Yamboliev

I work on aesthetics and form, and the ways literature, visual art, and science converge a

I work on aesthetics and form, and the ways literature, visual art, and science converge around these topics, in British literature and culture of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. My book project, _Ornamental Form in the Victorian Novel_, considers the many and varied ways decorative art contributed to the form and representational logic Victorian and modernist novels -- from George Eliot's Middlemarch and Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, to Algernon Charles Swinburne's Lesbia Brandon and D.H. Lawrence's The Rainbow. I am also interested in color, the queer ecologies developed by Victorian and modernist poets and novelists, and the way multigenerational bildungsromans modulate characters' complexity across the generations they depict.

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The Post-Human Spirit of the Neopagan Movement

by Dennis DenisoffBook Chapter
from 
Late Victorian into Modern
Late Victorian into Modern
In his poem ‘Hymn to Pan’ (1919), the occultist Aleister Crowley offers an image of Pan that, one suspects, few of his contemporaries eagerly embraced. Crowley presents the demigod as a transsexual, trans-species cyborg that is artificial and biological, mineral and... more

The Vanity of Ecology: Expenditure in Montaigne’s Vision of the New World

by Pauline GoulBook Chapter
from 
French Ecocriticism: From the Early Modern Period to the Twenty-First Century
French Ecocriticism: From the Early Modern Period to the Twenty-First Century
This is an excerpt from Pauline Goul's "The Vanity of Ecology: Expenditure in Montaigne's Vision of the New World" A great paradox courses through sixteenth-century literature in France. Despite being a century of abundance and economic prosperity... more

Monstrous Relationalities: The Horrors of Queer Eroticism and 'Thingness' in Alan Moore and Stephen Bissette's Swamp Thing

by Robin A. McDonald, Dan VenaBook Chapter
from 
Plant Horror Approaches to the Monstrous Vegetal in Fiction and Film
Plant Horror: Approaches to the Monstrous Vegetal in Fiction and Film
“But in comics nothing is impossible. It is proven in this story. Words unite with pictures in perfect complement. Love unites with horror; animal with vegetable; male with female; the natural with the supernatural. For a few brief pages we are given a... more

“The Other Side is Opening Now”: Perfume Genius and the Multitudinous Touch of Wildness

by Timothy M. GriffithsJournal Article
28.1 (2016)
These are exceprts from Timothy Griffiths “The Other Side is Opening Now”                         Gaga can’t handle this shit.                                                                         - Death Grips, “Hacker” “... more