The Queer Art of Failure

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Duke University Press, Sep 19, 2011 - Performing Arts - 211 pages
13 Reviews
The Queer Art of Failure is about finding alternatives—to conventional understandings of success in a heteronormative, capitalist society; to academic disciplines that confirm what is already known according to approved methods of knowing; and to cultural criticism that claims to break new ground but cleaves to conventional archives. Judith Halberstam proposes “low theory” as a mode of thinking and writing that operates at many different levels at once. Low theory is derived from eccentric archives. It runs the risk of not being taken seriously. It entails a willingness to fail and to lose one’s way, to pursue difficult questions about complicity, and to find counterintuitive forms of resistance. Tacking back and forth between high theory and low theory, high culture and low culture, Halberstam looks for the unexpected and subversive in popular culture, avant-garde performance, and queer art. She pays particular attention to animated children’s films, revealing narratives filled with unexpected encounters between the childish, the transformative, and the queer. Failure sometimes offers more creative, cooperative, and surprising ways of being in the world, even as it forces us to face the dark side of life, love, and libido.

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Review: The Queer Art of Failure (a John Hope Franklin Center Book)

User Review  - Goodreads

book's prose style is deeply intellectual, yet accessibly playful and ironic. Great and lucid introduction for those unfamiliar with queer theory, the politics of heteronormativity and sexual dissidence. Read full review

Review: The Queer Art of Failure (a John Hope Franklin Center Book)

User Review  - Goodreads

Still not sure what to think about this book. It reminds me of something by Camille Paglia--it has moments of brilliant insight, but the whole thing seems lacking. Read full review


Low Theory
1 Animating Revolt and Revolting Animation
2 Dude Wheres My Phallus? Forgetting Losing Looping
3 The Queer Art of Failure
Queer Negativity and Radical Passivity
Homosexuality and Fascism
Ending Fleeing Surviving

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About the author (2011)

Judith Halberstam is Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. Halberstam is the author of In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives, as well as Female Masculinity and Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters, both also published by Duke University Press.

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