Queer Theory and Affect

What does it mean to be queer? The examination of resistance to dominant narratives of gender, sexuality, and being is a vital resource to those struggling with exclusion and hate, and I only hope to provide others the power and comfort I have received through these texts. Those feelings, too, are important, as many would describe their queer experience as one where they sought a place where they "felt" they belonged. The study of these feelings (and all the other bodily reactions that have no name yet we feel all the same)--affect--runs through much of my work. Although I've divided this shelf into sections, they will bleed into one another frequently. Emotions are such fickle things, after all.

Queer Theory

Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity by José Esteban Muñoz

A powerful work and a foundational text for me, Cruising Utopia rallies for a gaze towards the horizon and argues that queerness strives towards a better future by imagining alternatives to the toxic present. Through a politics of emotion, Mu├▒oz drives readers to think of the future as "a spatial and temporal destination" wherein queerness is a constantly moving goal, always opposed to forces that restrict life and bend minoritarian bodies to fit in "normal" molds (185). I'll continue to find reasons to read it all over again.

Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects,Others by Sara Ahmed

We often talk about sexual orientations (i.e., who we feel attracted to, if at all), but Sara Ahmed posits that the act of orienting oneself can occur with just about anything. We orient ourselves in our homes by memorizing where things are to the point we can navigate in the dark. We shift in personality, posture, and power as we sit at our desks to write, walk through the hallways of abandoned houses, and wrestle with the expectations set upon us by family, friends, and the world at large. Queer Phenomenology helped me work out a feeling (affective charge?) I've had for some time; yes, the world can change us, but we can also change the world.


Networked Affect

An edited collection, this volume explores the ways the Internet connects us--literally. A core concept introduced in this book is the "affective circuit," where our drives become part of a system that nurtures and sustains affective reactions for good (connecting to community, experiencing queer belonging) and for ill (hate brigades, provoking negative emotions to increase views). I highly recommend Alexander Cho's "Queer Reverb: Tumblr, Affect, Time" and Jodi Dean's "Affect and Drive."

Pleasure Activism, Written and Gathered by adrienne maree brown

Pleasure is more than just about sex and drugs, though it certainly doesn't exclude them! brown's compilation of scholars and her own reflections on the pursuits of (and abstainment from) pleasure highlight the ways our bodies react to our environments and to one another and how we can reject "the rigidity and lies of authoritarian systems that aim to separate us from listening to the wisdom of our bodies in order to control us" (152).