Check out this “queer” academic word salad

This was distributed on a listserv and forwarded to me by a friend. It’s a call for papers for a symposium on “queer citizenship and vulnerability” at the University of California.

“This symposium seeks to explore the interdisciplinary navigations of queer citizenship, of queer creative spaces, of queer protest and praxis. How is queer citizenship a renegotiation or a normative performance of both time and space? Can we embrace the queer child as the futurity that Kathryn Bond Stockton and Paul Amar suggest? Does this child require the visibility of the queer in the archive? Can the queer child be regarded as the ideal citizen of the world, whose appearance defies the mythos of trickster, nymphet and changeling? How does the contemporary and historical criminalization of the queer and rendering of the *deviant* present a carnal hermeneutic to be recuperated or resisted? What activisms can queer scholarship and subjectivity embrace and require to live well. How can queer bodies be regarded as sites that exceed time and space, as queer cartographies of becoming? How does living well require an erotics of power that requires living from and through, or against, the flesh?

Possible presentation topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

– Engagements of gender and sexuality
– Post-humanism and the non-human
– Sites and systems of surveillance
– Queer interventions in religion, philosophy, and theology
– Narratives of resistance, captivity, and those that are hidden, silenced, or hitherto untold
– Translation and cross-cultural, cross-national, cross species communication
– Bare life and non-life
– Historical engagements with pathologization of Queer identities and practices
– Contemporary cultural studies and the cyber-culture of queer
– Fleshed experience of gender, sexuality, and race in a global arena
– Sovereignty and the bio(necro)politics of the vulnerable
– Liminal existence and the well-being of vulnerable communities.
– Migration and transmigration, embodiments of resistance and refugee status
– Sociology and gender and sexuality”

I’m not going to do a thorough analysis of this. Queer theory is not even a thing worth trying to understand. It’s vague, bizarre, academic jargon that makes its practitioners feel cool and hip but means nothing to anybody outside their circle.

I will just point you to a few things.

  • Why are these adult academics romanticizing the queer child rather than queer adult?
  • The word nymphet means “A pubescent girl regarded as sexually desirable.”
  • They say the “queer child” defies the mythos of the nymphet. We have several examples of “queer children” in the form of “trans girls” being promoted by the media, most notably Jazz Jennings. Are children like this defying the myth of the nymphet or are they actually being a nymphet? And once again, why are adults in the academy theorizing about this? And why is this even happening?
  • Hermeneutic means interpretation, so I can only imagine that a carnal hermeneutic is interpreting meaning through the body? ….okay….
  • Isn’t it hilarious that queer bodies can “exceed time and space”? (I’m picturing a queer-looking anime kid with blue hair floating through space being so radically queer that ze doesn’t even exist in this dimension anymore.)
  • Isn’t “living against the flesh” a perfect description of transgender politics?
  • Is the end result of queer theory that we’ll all get rid of our bodies altogether and just upload our radical transgressive speshulness to the Internet to exist as supercool anime characters of our own creation without being encumbered by burdensome flesh?
  • What could “cross-species communication” mean? (Or do I even want to know?)

This is so creepy and weird it looks like satire, but it’s a real actual symposium, and if you want to submit a paper, I’ll send you the details!


56 thoughts on “Check out this “queer” academic word salad

  1. This mess sounds like someone was playing with their thesaurus. Here’s my “queer” life (btw I hate that word)….I get up at 5, I walk the dog, I feed her and the cats, I clean the litter boxes, I pick up their food bowls, I feed myself, I make sure the world didn’t end while I was asleep (aka read the news), I feed and water the birds and squirrels, I walk the dog again, I take a shower, I go to work, I come home. Wash, rinse, repeat. I can guarantee you I don’t spend my free time contemplating the carnal, the mythos and trickster aspects of my life. My mind is full of trying to live a decent life, care for my animals and home, pay my bills and deal with Maine winters. With the Leftist intellectuals putting out crap like this, I can see why the Trumpster won.

    Liked by 4 people

      • First: 😂😂😂😂😂😂 Oh man, that is bad!

        Second: these aholes have to deal with the same daily hassle of staying alive. But they hide from it in this creepy meaningless BS. That makes them in my view cowards about life. They could do esoteric work, like on bees or something, that is nonetheless about something real. Or they could say something real about human existence in a way that anybody can understand. But they choose not to.

        I also really liked hearing about Maine Yankee’s “non-queering” routine. Especially all the animals! 🐕🐈🐈🐈🦌🦆🦃🐿🦇🦉🦅 😊

        Liked by 3 people

  2. OMG, we should all submit papers! Made with the pomo generator! 😂

    This “Migration and transmigration, embodiments of resistance” starts out fine for the genre but then it has this jarringly real thing “and refugee status”. 😳

    And “cross species communication” just means petting a dog. 😊🐕

    Liked by 3 people

  3. “How does living well require an erotics of power…?”

    Sad. In my own life, I’ve found that rejecting the eroticization of power has dramatically improved my quality of life. I get that many people find it easier to simply embrace patriarchy though. I can’t decide if these people actually believe they’re being subversive or if they’re just constantly laughing about how much damage they’ve done to the feminist movement.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. “(I’m picturing a queer-looking anime kid with blue hair floating through space being so radically queer that ze doesn’t even exist in this dimension anymore.)”

    That smug “genderqueer” guy that Magdalen destroyed in one of her videos? He was flying! I’d look it up but I ought to get to bed…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. OK, I know I’m a nerd but I did go and check the UCLA website and LOL, their link to this symposium (the one which is supposed to link to a conference flyer) is currently not found. (404 etc)

    I’m thinking (hoping) this is a Poe from a couple of bored, stoned undergrads making mischief over the holiday season who tried it on and didn’t realise it would slip through the cracks the way it has.

    I mean they tick pretty much every right wing xtian fear about gay marriage I’ve ever seen. We have an awful religious right politician here who has said gay marriage would lead to bestiality (he got sanctioned, but not very much)

    *cross species communication*

    He mentioned necrophilia

    *Bare life and non-life* Naked and dead?

    *Fleshed experience of gender, sexuality, and race in a global arena* OMG miscegenation, is that legal now?

    *Sites and systems of surveillance* God is watching you wank. Burn in hell sinners 🙂 .

    ‘Sovereignty and the bio(necro)politics of the vulnerable’ A nod to science (obviously not climate science). Probably a fear of necrophilia coupled with cryogenics and/or bioengineering. The dead / not dead, May this is a reference to the rapture????

    or the zombie apocalypse …

    And that’s not even getting started on the nymphette thing (paedophilia).

    Thanks Purple Sage, this is hilarious.

    I was SO tempted to send this through to the politician mentioned above as it would be win win win, If it’s real, him and his followers will keep them so snowed under they won’t have time to write papers. if its not, they will have to publish a retraction. Either way, we win!!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This is the call for papers I have been waiting for all my inhabitation of victimized flesh! I will write about the praxis detriment to the intersectional binary brutality imposed on queer relational realities, from both a pre-post-modernist and post-pre-modernist perspective. Few realize the traditional impact of the never-before-exposed substrata of flesh-induced suffering caused by unacknowledged plethoras of hidden queer life strategies. I will provide an indexinal guide to this substrata as it relates to pre and post space-time inhabitation complexties and then take the reader by thems queer hand and de-couple the obliterations through an overview of the ensuing debilities imposed on queer, even to the extent of otherkin transmigrational polemics. I can feel my queer specialtudniness rising above the limitation of flesh erotics even as I ponder my paper!

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Queer bodies can “exceed time and space”!

    I am a massive nerd, and all I can think about is this guy from the Marvel Universe, The Beyonder. An extra-dimensional being, he lived all alone in his own dimension before coming to Earth. He was imbued with tons of crazy powers, but was sorely in need of a few human basics to get through the day. In his most hilarious moment, he tells Spider-Man that he is experiencing a “strange pressure” in his lower abdomen. Spider-Man then (very helpfully) points him in the direction of the bathroom.

    I will be snickering about this for a good long time. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Hello my friend! I am a recent follower of yours and am happy to have found your blog! Thanks for posting this! I have a few points here:

    I have spent a great deal of time in the academy reading and hearing language like this. I agree: this is a word salad. The problem with a lot of academic writing is that it is only meant for their fellow colleagues with PhD.s – and circulated in fancy scholarly journals with hefty subscription fees. This type of theory has no value to those on the ground – as it cannot be understood in the first place, and secondly, most people have no access to this material. It only serves the author, not whoever they claim to be helping. It is a self-serving theory that, at the end of the day, boils down to an intellectual form of masturbation where they feel more liberal and knowledgeable than everyone else. In the process, those who have been queered and subjugated are rendered invisible because they were fetishized in the process.

    A lot of academics exist inside a “publish or perish” culture – where, in order to receive tenure, they have to publish a certain amount of papers in a certain amount of time. It is a very competitive climate – so there is a pressure to say something new and innovative. Consequently, a lot of people start coming up with theories in an effort to sound smart, but they aren’t saying anything new. I took a Queer Theory course in graduate school … and 80% of the stuff the authors were addressing were ALREADY addressed in other schools of thought like Black Studies or Women’s Studies. What is being discussed in this word salad is basically a merging of pre-existing theories from Women’s Studies and throwing in Black Studies stuff for good measure, and then pretending it is new and innovative…


  9. P.S. – just to answer one of your questions: the end result of Queer Theory is not to suspend the body altogether. Some of the pretentious language may loan itself to that reading. But once we dig past some of the language and study some of the theories undergirding it, I think you will find that there are several pearls of wisdom offered by this school of thought (nothing is perfect!). They are pushing for a radical re-thinking of the body as it is presently constituted. They are not saying we will be space angels one day. There may be strains of Queer Theory like that, but, there are perversions of every school of thought (feminism, marxism, etc, that do not represent the majority of the school). So please give Queer Theory a chance!

    And as to your concern about transgenderism, this is addressed within Queer Theory. I think you will like a few texts that place specific emphasis on transgender/transsexual folks: “Undoing Gender” by Judith Butler and “Imagining Transgender” by David Valentine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually have a copy of Undoing Gender on my bookshelf. My partner read Butler in university and she says that the way trans activists are behaving these days isn’t even what Butler meant. I haven’t read her myself because I really hate theory and I already know I wouldn’t get past the first page.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, that’s partly Butler’s fault for not being clear lol. I feel you in hating theory; theorists make it insufferable, when it is a necessary partner with action. We need knowledge and action, but the theory part struggles to become action, and action often lacks knowledge, you know?

        Well, if you ever want “good Queer Theory”, check out that Valentine piece, who talks about FtM and MtF. I probably have a bunch of notes somewhere on it if you are interested 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Just wanted to briefly say: Queer theory, actually, can be–and is–very simple. Queer theory aims to challenge the normative. So, for one example, when we talk about the “queer child” – we are talking about children who have not yet internalized society’s culturally constructed mores about what it means to be a “man” or to be a “woman.” Children are indeed very queer – they don’t follow or know stereotypes nearly as well as adults.


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