Campus Calendar

Sep 20

Elizabeth Freeman on Caretaking, Rereading, and Queer Theory

From site: Women’s and Gender Studies Events

A talk by Dr. Elizabeth Freeman, Professor of English and Associate Dean, College of Letters and Science at University of California, Davis

Friday, September 20th, 2019
5:00 – 6:30 pm / Leighton 305
Committed to the End: On Caretaking, Rereading, and Queer Theory

"Committed to the End: On Caretaking, Rereading, and Queer Theory" explores how the spatiotemporalities of domestic fiction, of the act of rereading, and of caretaking intersect with one another productively for queer theory, particularly for queer theories of sociability and commitment. The intersections between domestic fiction, rereading, and caretaking, Dr. Elizabeth Freeman argues, include a compression of space to the room and the body inside of it, a dilation of time that refuses clock and calendar, and a refusal of innovation—even of liberation. Through a reading of Anna Quindlen's One True Thing, Dr. Freeman suggests that the genres and kinds of reading that intersect with caretaking seem especially important for a queer theory that has called relationality into question, and yet in that questioning may have abandoned the necessity of care and the feminized, racialized, class-inflected kinds of seemingly meaningless labor that comprise it. Thus Dr. Freeman uses Susan Sontag’s 1986 short story “The Way We Live Now” to describe how, in the acts of caretaking this short story portrays and in the acts of rereading that it demands, suspended time and repetitive actions materialize a de-individuated and nonfutural social field that is nonetheless thickly relational.

Elizabeth Freeman is Professor of English and Associate Dean of the Faculty, College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Davis, where she teaches nineteenth century American literature and gender/sexuality studies. She is the author of three books from Duke University Press: The Wedding Complex: Forms of Belonging in Modern American Culture (2002); Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories (2010); and Beside You in Time: Sense-Methods and Queer Sociabilities in Nineteenth Century America (2019). She edited the journal GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies from 2011-2017, as well as guest editing a special issue of that journal in 2007, "Queer Temporalities." A Q&A session will follow the talk. Light refreshments will be available.

Sponsored by Women’s and Gender Studies Events. Contact: Candace Moore, x4182