Alternative Intimacies: Queer Families in Eighteenth-Century Literature
Abstr. due: 15.09.2016
Dates: 31.03.17 — 02.04.17
Organizing comittee e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Organizers: Boston U/ U Wisconsin-Madison
Eighteenth-century fiction and drama, far from presenting only licentious or scandalous configurations of households (e.g. Sade or Cleland), also depict nontraditional intimacies and kinships that are nourishing (e.g. Defoe or Saint-Pierre). These “queer families,” whether in subtly polyamorous triangulations or in unique cohabitation arrangements attest to the belief that an alternative economy of care may be possible apart from the nuclear family structure. Are such imagined structures of kinship overly optimistic, or philosophically radical? This roundtable seeks brief presentations on literature that eschew the more blatant erotics of libertine literature to examine subtle, tender, and ephemeral pathways of intimacy in queer kinships. How might recent work on new materialism or animal studies (Braidotti, Chen, and Ahmed, among others) help us understand forms of kinship that undermine and/or exceed inter-human relationships? How do the rich and robust affects that thread through such queer kinships challenge or subvert recent work on loneliness and anti-futurity (Edelman, Kahan, Cobb, etc.)? We also invite presentations that consider how recent studies on queerness and disability (Alison Keefer, Robert McRuer, etc.) might help us to understand not only what it means to be human, but also what it means for humans to come together in intimate communities.