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Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (Sexual Cultures) [Kindle Edition]

Jose Esteban Munoz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The LGBT agenda for too long has been dominated by pragmatic issues like same-sex marriage and gays in the military. It has been stifled by this myopic focus on the present, which is short-sighted and assimilationist.

Cruising Utopia seeks to break the present stagnancy by cruising ahead. Drawing on the work of Ernst Bloch, José Esteban Muñoz recalls the queer past for guidance in presaging its future. He considers the work of seminal artists and writers such as Andy Warhol, LeRoi Jones, Frank O’Hara, Ray Johnson, Fred Herko, Samuel Delany, and Elizabeth Bishop, alongside contemporary performance and visual artists like Dynasty Handbag, My Barbarian, Luke Dowd, Tony Just, and Kevin McCarty in order to decipher the anticipatory illumination of art and its uncanny ability to open windows to the future.

In a startling repudiation of what the LGBT movement has held dear, Muñoz contends that queerness is instead a futurity bound phenomenon, a "not yet here" that critically engages pragmatic presentism. Part manifesto, part love-letter to the past and the future, Cruising Utopia argues that the here and now are not enough and issues an urgent call for the revivification of the queer political imagination.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gay liberation's activist past and pragmatic present are merely prologue to a queer cultural future, Muñoz (Disidentifications) suggests in this critical condemnation of the political status quo. Casting his vision of a radical gay aesthetic through the prisms of literature, photography and performance, the author dismisses commonplace concerns like same-sex marriage as desires for mere inclusion in a corrupt mainstream. More defiantly, he exalts the persistence of commercial sex spaces in the face of antisex and homphobic policings, and celebrates the overlay of punk and queer in performance spaces. Muñoz draws on a dynamic roster of seminal artists to illustrate his vision of a utopian queer future, from the well-known (LeRoi Jones, James Schuyler and John Giorno) to edgy artists, including homo-core punk queen Vaginal Davis, club photographer Kevin McCarty and drag chanteuse Kiki (Justin Bond). Queer theorists will find the book's provocative thesis stimulating; lay readers unfamiliar with Ernst Bloch and the Frankfurt School of philosophy on which the author builds his argument may find it a slog. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"In the course of an introduction, a conclusion, and the ten lush chapters in between, Cruising Utopia elaborates an archive of queer aesthetic practices from the present and the recent past." -Kevin Floyd,Meditations: The Journal of the Marxist Literary Group

“Gay liberation’s activist past and pragmatic present are merely prologue to a queer cultural future, Muñoz suggests in this critical condemnation of the political status quo. Casting his vision of a radical gay aesthetic through the prisms of literature, photography and performance, the author dismisses commonplace concerns like same-sex marriage as desires for ‘mere inclusion’ in a ‘corrupt’ mainstream. More defiantly, he exalts the persistence of commercial sex spaces in the face of ‘antisex and homphobic policings,’ and celebrates the overlay of punk and queer in performance spaces.”
-Publishers Weekly

,

“Brilliant, extraordinary, and necessary, Muñoz’s critical refusal of queer pragmatism, his commitment to the utopian force of the radical attempt—the radical aesthetic, erotic, and philosophical experiment—is indispensable in an historical moment characterized by political surrender and intellectual timidity passing itself off as boldness.”
-Fred Moten,author of In the Break



“Muñoz takes Ernst Bloch as his Virgil as he descends into the dark woods of futurity looking for signposts along the way that will guide him to a place of hope, belonging, queerness and quirkiness. Refusing to simply sign on to the ‘anti-relational,’ anti-future brand of queer theory espoused by Edelman, Bersani and others, Muñoz insists that for some queers, particularly for queers of color, hope is something one cannot afford to lose and for them giving up on futurity is not an option.”
-Judith Halberstam,author of In a Queer Time and Place



"I love the "Public Sex" and "After Jack" chapters the best, and think the O'Hara discussion is brilliant and perfectly emblematic of the project to extract the utopian from moments of affective density that are lived. But all of the writing is astonishing, vibrant and memorable."-Lauren Berlant, Social Text/Periscope,

Product Details

  • File Size: 1672 KB
  • Print Length: 234 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (November 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004FN1K66
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,742 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Aimee
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I used this book several times for my MA thesis, so it was definately an important part of my graduate experience. I do favor Dissidentifications, but this book has some fantastic subject matter and contributions to the field. I wanted it to be a bit more critical but nonetheless, it is an important resource from a beloved scholar.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Research. August 3, 2013
By K.B.P.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful textbook for learning about the ideas in regard to queer theory. It was a wonderful tool in the classroom.
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