UCLA Center for the Study of Women
Virtual(ly) Queer: Anti-Genealogy and Obsessive-Compulsion in Bechdels' Fun Home
- Author(s): Gill-Peterson, Julian
- et al.
IfI wanted to accuse queer theory of liking anything straight, I’d probably pick straight lines. Straight lines are the form of genealogies, the tracing of lines of affinity and inheritance through time. A genealogy is one way of spatializing time, of turning it into a straight line that can then be divided into discrete segments or be assigned a beginning, middle and end. Spatialize time and you literally territorialize it—in the case of genealogies, you turn the past into a territory at which you can glance from the present. Some kinds of genealogies, like family trees, are normative projects of the repetition of the same thing through time. Others, like the critical projects of genealogy of Nietzsche and Foucault, use tracings to denaturalize the very things that the former kind of genealogies make real. Queer theory has especially depended upon the latter kind of genealogy because the field’s primal scene has coalesced as a particular reading of a tracing of discursive signs like homosexual, lesbian, or gay. More recently, this endeavor has evolved into queergenealogy: Chris Nealon calls it “feeling historical,” Heather Love calls it “feeling backward,” and Ann Cvetkovich traces them in “an archive of feelings.”