Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2010

Center/Program

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

Abstract

It is hard to imagine where queer theory would be without Eve Sedgwick. Indeed, I can't imagine where my own thinking would be had it not been informed, enriched, challenged, repulsed, and seduced by Sedgwick's writing. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire' and The Epistemology of the Closet,2 the early work, gave me the tools to think about the fundamental landscapes of my intellectual world in ways that decoupled and reconfigured the binaries of male/ female, heterosexual/homosexual, friend/lover, and public/private. Sedgwick gave us the idea of homosociality and a critique of identity and identification that exploded the male/female and homo/hetero divide. From that point forward our previous work undertaken without the benefit of these ideas seemed pathetically naive and, well, modernist (not that!) for their absence. Stopping myself from lapsing into the bromides of hagiography, I'll resist elaborating further on the debt I owe to Eve Sedgwick's intellectual estate, except to offer some thoughts on her short essay, A Poem is Being Written,3 when held up against Freud's important tract on female psychic development, A Child Is Being Beaten.4

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