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Critique Essay Humanities Nonfiction Theory

Encountering Indeterminacy: Colonial Contexts and Queer Imagining

By Scott L. Morgensen, 2016

Queer draws our attention to excess, and to the inconceivable. At its queerest, queer slips from attempts at definition or codification. Facing negation, queerness remains undisciplined: it is what negation cannot actually erase, for negation requires it as a target for projecting power. And if discipline ever attempts to embrace what it once negated, queerness still complicates conformity by exposing discipline’s fabrication and threatening its unraveling. Where are these critical potentials being practiced within anthropology, and where might queerness still press against the disciplining and normalization of knowledge? Among the many directions such questions might take, I will focus on the ways in which queerness continues to expose and destabilize colonial conditions of anthropological epistemology and methodology. Just as queer accounts must analyze the violences of colonial modernity, thinking with qualities evoked by this term disturbs the colonial structuration of knowledge and invites unanticipated thought.

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