In this talk, Halberstam wanted to build ideas from her new book Gaga Feminism and begin to develop a theory of queer anarchism from a new companion project titled GOING GAGA in order to weave a story about emergent forms of life through the glimpses we catch of it in popular culture and subcultural production. The goal here was to learn how to read contemporary shifts in the meaning of sexuality and gender as indicative of other shifts and changes in the culture at large. And while most of the popular and journalistic literature on these changes in kinship, living arrangements, social life and gendered relations is mired in the project of saving and redeeming life as we know it, Gaga Feminism does not come to save marriage, the family, bodily legibility, it comes to bury them. In the second part of the talk, Halberstam explored the trope of anarchy through a sonic landscape of screams, open mouths, holes, wholes, and parts, and invites everyone to listen to the sound of fragmentation, disorder, and glorious chaos.
Jack Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at USC (University of Southern California). Halberstam is the author of five books including Female Masculinity (1998), The Queer Art of Failure (2011), and most recently Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender and the End of the Normal (2012). Halberstam works generally in the areas of queer theory, visual and popular culture, gender studies and art, and blogs at bullybloggers.wordpress.com as well as jackhalberstam.com.
The lecture is part of the ICI Lecture Series Constituting Wholes. After the disenchantments of the postmodern post-cold-war period and in the face of global crises – be they financial, economic, political, or ecological – the critical need to include a holistic perspective is felt with renewed urgency, as is the concern that the situatedness of any such perspective and the multiple, incommensurable ways of constituting wholes may be forgotten.
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