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Title: Relating to queer theory : rereading sexual self-definition with Irigaray, Kristeva, Wittig, and Cixous
Author: Cooper, S.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1998
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My doctoral thesis questions a specific paradox and I identify in the work of contemporary North American queer theorists. At this particular historical moment, the majority of queer theorists who position themselves in their writing self-identify as lesbian, gay, or queer. Although I concede that this link between identity and stance is crucial to queer theory, I question its exclusivity. I contend that the queer-, lesbian-, or gay-identified theorist is currently positioned within this theoretical field as the only person who can do queer theory. An important facet of much queer theoretical writing is devoted to the deconstruction of identity categories in order to emphasize relations rather than divisions between sexualities. With this in mind, I argue that the implicit and as yet unquestioned link between one's identity and one's ability to write queer theory can be read against the desire among many queer theorists for a more relational line of thought. This new line of thinking would not make queer, lesbian, or gay identity the only ethical position from which one can relate to queer theory. In my thesis I theorize precisely this possibility of an ethical relation to queer theory on the part of the straight- or bisexual-identified reader. In order to question the exclusive queer theoretical link between sexual identity and stance, I turn to a different but related theoretical area. Critical engagement with the texts of four French feminist theorists, (Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Monique Wittig, and Hélène Cixous), permits me to envisage a different relation between queer theory and its readership. My overall aim in the thesis is to open up an ethical space that permits readers and writers to articulate a relation to what they may not have experienced themselves.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available