Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy

This event has been canceled and will be rescheduled for 2011.

The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality
at New York University

The Feeling of Kinship:
Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy
A lecture by David L. Eng

October 12, Tuesday
6:30 to 8 pm

This talk is drawn from David L. Eng‘s recent book The Feeling of Kinship. In that project, Eng
investigates the emergence of “queer liberalism,” the empowerment of
certain gays and lesbians in the United States economically through an
increasingly visible and mass-mediated queer consumer lifestyle, and
politically through the legal protection of rights to privacy and
intimacy. Eng argues that in our “colorblind”
age the emergence of queer liberalism is a particular incarnation of
liberal freedom and progress, one constituted by both the racialization
of intimacy and the forgetting of race. Through a startling reading of
Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark legal decision overturning Texas’s
antisodomy statute, Eng reveals how the ghosts of miscegenation haunt both Lawrence and the advent of queer liberalism.

Eng develops the concept of “queer
diasporas” as a critical response to queer liberalism. A methodology
drawing attention to new forms of family and kinship, accounts of
subjects and subjectivities, and relations of affect and desire, the
concept differs from the traditional notions of diaspora, theories of
the nation-state, and principles of neoliberal capitalism upon which
queer liberalism thrives. Eng analyzes films,
documentaries, and literature by Asian and Asian American artists
including Wong Kar-wai, Monique Truong, Deann Borshay Liem, and Rea
Tajiri, as well as a psychoanalytic case history of a transnational
adoptee from Korea. In so doing, he demonstrates how queer Asian migrant
labor, transnational adoption from Asia, and the political and psychic
legacies of Japanese internment underwrite narratives of racial
forgetting and queer freedom in the present. A focus on queer diasporas
also highlights the need for a poststructuralist account of family and
kinship, one offering psychic alternatives to Oedipal paradigms.
41-51 East 11th Street, 7th Floor Gallery
between University Place and Broadway
(wheelchair access at 85-87 University Place, please call in advance for access)
David L. Eng is
Professor in the Department of English, the Program in Comparative
Literature and Literary Theory, and the Program in Asian American
Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of
Castration: Managing Masculinity in Asian America and co-editor of Loss:
The Politics of Mourning, Q&A: Queer in Asian America, and a
special issue of
Social Text, “What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now?”

Organized by CSGS; co-sponsored by the NYU Asian/Pacific/American Institute and the Department of Performance Studies.

Social Text Collective

Social Text is a journal.