Noon Pacific Time, Monday, July 18, 2011
[Editor’s note: the interview has taken place and you can listen to the archived MP3 in the player below.]
Stanley’s article “Near Life, Queer Death: Overkill and Ontological Capture”
Please tune in to KPFA radio for an interview with Eric Stanley about his article “Near Life, Queer Death: Overkill and Ontological Capture” from Social Text 107, our current issue. His article is a fascinating interrogation of how queer ontology and violence against queers can be seen as a constitutive part of liberal democracy. He offers the concept overkill to denote the type of violence against queers which goes beyond death.
KPFA radio is a listener-funded progressive talk and music radio station broadcast from Berkeley, California. Stanley will appear on Against the Grain, a program dedicated to in-depth analysis and commentary on issues important to progressive and radical thinking. The program is co-hosted and co-produced by Sasha Lilley and C.S. Soong.
Eric Stanley is a PhD candidate in the History of Consciousness department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is also the editor of Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press, 2011) and the codirector, with Chris Vargas, of the films Homotopia (2006) and Criminal Queers (2011). Critical Resistance and Gay Shame are among the activist collectives with which Eric works.
The above image is explained toward the end of Stanley’s article:
“At 12:48 pm on the afternoon of January 8th, 1999, the body of Lauryn Paige was found in this ravine near the entrance of the Tokyo Electron Corporation in Austin, Texas. Barely covered by weeds and roadside trash, her body was laid to unrest in the stagnancy of wastewater and debris. In plain view and hidden from sight, my identification with this photograph binds me like an open-secret with deadly consequences. Thrown in a shallow grave, not worth the cover of earth, the history of Lauryn Paige’s unimaginable end captured here indexes the limits of a queer present. A portrait of a near life, out of time, this sarcophagal photograph terrorizes me through its everywhereness. Beyond the pageantry of meaning, this image pictures the untraceability of anti-queer violence. Both everywhere and nowhere, a series of trash bags, a burning blanket, a concrete ditch, perhaps this is the space of queer death.
This ditch ought not be our end. Yet I stay in the place of violence, in the muddy abjection of a drainage ditch, precisely because it commands other worlds. If near life is the kind of “unavoidable model of subjection,” then how might we subject to a radical breakdown? If we start here with an understanding that escape is not possible and that against the dreams of liberal democracy there may be no outside to violence, how might we also articulate a kind of near life that feels in the hollow space of ontological capture that life might still be lived, otherwise?”