Punk'd Theory

The political scientist Cathy Cohen has proposed that queer theory and politics be reconceptualized and made more relevant to the lives and struggles of “punks, bulldaggers, and welfare queens.”1 In speaking of–and on behalf of–punks, bulldaggers, and welfare queens, and in asking where one might find them located within the political project of queer theory, Cohen does not simply challenge us to pay attention to previously ignored identities. Rather, in proposing the nonce taxonomy of “punks, bulldaggers, and welfare queens,”2 Cohen attempts to interrupt the litigious process through which subjects petition for admission to queer theoretical attention and political concern. She proposes instead an antiauthoritarian process of subject formation closer in spirit to what, on the punk scene, is called D.I.Y., or do it yourself.3

Tavia Nyong'o

Tavia Nyong’o is a cultural critic and professor of African American studies, American studies, and theater studies at Yale University. He writes on art, music, politics, culture, and theory. His first book, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (2009), won the Errol Hill Award for best book in African American theatre and performance studies, and a new book, Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life, is forthcoming from NYU Press in the fall of 2018. Nyong’o has published in venues such as Radical History Review, Criticism, GLQ, TDR, Women & Performance, WSQ, The Nation, Triple Canopy, The New Inquiry, and n+1. He is co-editor of the journal Social Text.