Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories by Elizabeth Freeman

By Elizabeth Freeman

Time Binds is a strong argument that temporal and sexual dissonance are intertwined, and that the writing of heritage could be either embodied and erotic. tough queer theory’s contemporary emphasis on loss and trauma, Elizabeth Freeman foregrounds physically excitement within the event and illustration of time as she translates an eclectic archive of queer literature, movie, video, and paintings. She examines paintings by means of visible artists who emerged in a commodified, “postfeminist,” and “postgay” international. but they don't totally settle for the dissipation of political and significant strength implied by way of the concept that numerous political and social battles were received and at the moment are consigned to the prior. by means of privileging temporal gaps and narrative detours of their paintings, those artists recommend methods of placing the previous into significant, transformative relation with the current. Such “queer asynchronies” supply possibilities for rethinking old recognition in erotic phrases, thereby countering the tools of conventional and Marxist historiography. principal to Freeman’s argument are the recommendations of chrononormativity, using time to prepare person human our bodies towards greatest productiveness; temporal drag, the visceral pull of the previous at the supposedly innovative current; and erotohistoriography, the unsleeping use of the physique as a channel for and technique of knowing the prior. Time Binds emphasizes the critique of temporality and historical past as the most important to queer politics.

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Kristeva claims that Woman, as a cultural symbol, comes to be correlated with the endless returns of cyclical time, as well as the stasis of monumental time: the figure of Woman supplements the historically specific nation-state with appeals to nature and eternity. ∞∏ In the wake of industrialization in the United States, she writes, mourning was newly reconceptualized as an experience outside of ordinary time, as eternal, recurrent, even sacred—and so, I would argue, were any number of other a√ective modes.

But even Butler’s revision of Freud via the lesbian phallus only suggests that the primary tumescence from which the ego emerges might be productively relocated onto arms, hipbones, and other sites as a way of theorizing a lesbian ego; it doesn’t challenge the phallicizing con12 introduction struction of ‘‘sensation’’ itself. Where goes that interestingly aching hole, symptom of a certain desire to be filled up by—let us risk—a vulgar referent? ’s simultaneously mourning and lusting spectator, who seems to want to have sex with history—with dead men, with men older than he, with an era and place barred by both linear time and racial politics.

But by invoking both the country singer Loretta Lynn’s hit ‘‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’’ (1970) and the film of the same name (1980), the title of Dougherty’s video suggests Jane’s complicated relationship to her family of origin. Ostensibly, it signals that her personal history includes a connection to not only extended family but also a collective form of labor and its representational history. In Popular Front, Depression-era portraits by Walker Evans, James Agee, and Dorothea Lange, for instance, coal miners’ families have typically registered the progress or regress of an industry and the culture surrounding it; similarly, the lyrics to Lynn’s song suggest that her memories of her home at Butcher Hollow preserve a lost way of life.

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