Making Queer Time: Reading Queer Theories of Time to Rethink Queering Space and Time

Authors: Jack Gieseking*, University of Kentucky
Topics: Queer and Trans Geographies, Feminist Geographies, Geographic Theory
Keywords: queer, lesbian, transgender, trans, social production of space and time
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 30
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Since the early 2000s, many queer theorists have focused on theorizing queer time on behalf of cultural and political interventions, but often at the cost of splitting (fabulous, delightfully promiscuous) queer time from (vague, static) queer space. A partial list of prominent queer temporal-forward theories includes a queer death drive toward “no future” (Edelman 2004), “queer futurity” derived by, for, and about minoritarian subjects (Muñoz 2009), “feeling backward” to find community through discontinuity (Love 2009), “temporal drag” that describes the fuzzy understanding of lesbian generations and the difficulty of knowing what practices actually belong to the past (Freeman 2010), and “queer temporality” to name dimensions of time that produce risk (Keeling 2019). Most notably, Jack Halberstam (2005) coined “queer time” as those practices disturbing heterosexual life rhythms. I read the multiple projects of exploring queer time as a remark on LGBTQ people so deeply cut off from their history and one another that they created their own temporalities to negotiate cis-heteronormativity. Yet how space is and can be queered requires further attention. While my own work has presented a queer spatial reading of lesbian-queer placemaking in constellations (Gieseking 2020), what queer time specifically has to offer the discipline of geography remains uninterrogated. In this paper, I unpack the insights of queer time from queer theorists—primarily in the humanities—while critiquing assumptions of modernity and cosmopolitanism that inform these theorists’ notions of queerness in order to theorize a more robust project of queering time and space.

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