Week FOUR: Mothers from Hell

June 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Last session was our most exhilarating and polemic to date. After some consideration, we started our discussion with Lee Edleman’s No Future (to which a few of us read the whole fucking book instead of the clearly noted chapter on the schedule) to set the stage. We found that this text provides a polarized model with which to work. It presents a *somewhat* impossible project whereby the notion and/or practice of “queerness” (referenced repeatedly in fairly broad terms) is used to oppose opposition. While Edleman often equates queerness with other activities that are outside of sex, we were not willing to assume that it is something to be appropriated if one does not (or not yet) self-identify as queer. We also noted how the possibility of queer resistance is quite estranging as it is solely told through the purview of the male. We began to think how closely related Edleman’s “queerness” could be paralleled alongside “lesbianism” as a political position, which was mentioned in the first two texts we encountered this project.

How does “queerness,” then, complicate or gloss over racialized and marked bodies as painfully considered by Hortense Spillers’ Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book? The transmission of trauma as experienced by the flesh of the slave onto living (and strangled) black bodies necessitates a chronology. We feel like this text shatters Edleman’s argument. On the transference of affect that sits thick in classrooms, streets, bedrooms (etc.), don’t you dare say fuck Quvenzhané Wallis. First pronounce her name properly.

While the project description ends with a one-liner on finding a way to have relationships with our mothers, in all seriousness, we have to pose this question: how do we reconcile our mothers’ past experiences of trauma and their material conditions with how that trauma projects onto us? And, considering we’re all bad mothers-in-training, how do we reconcile the necessity of futurity for any political project, with our desire to “never have babies.”

Now we’re onto jealousy and/or casual sex.

Jenny Diski – “Body Work” from The Sixties

Emma Goldman – “Jealousy: Causes and a Possible Cure”

Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner – Sex in Public

When: Wednesday, June 3 @ 8pm. See email for address.

Love and solidarity,


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