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Accepted Paper:

Beyond performativity: citational sexualities and derivative subjectivity  
Kirk Fiereck (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the limits of performativity, which is to say speech act theory, within queer theory and postcolonial contexts by considering expanded notions of communication and connectivity through citational subjectivities that contest the secret normativity of performativity.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the secret normativity of performativity, which is to say speech act theory, within queer theory and specifically in postcolonial contexts. For it is precisely within the postcolony where forms of citation are the primary mode of sexual subjectivity. It is also the space where financial instruments like derivatives, social theory and pharmaceuticals actively produce queer connections and contestations through the circulation of ostensibly universal subjects, be they the risk-bearing entrepreneur, the scholar, or the (biological) human. The political impasse produced by Austinian performativity in queer theory is rooted in the secret normativity of speech act theory, which inadvertently shores up biological dualisms it putatively troubles. This analysis will consider a range of practices of cultural citation by black LGBTQ and gender nonconforming South Africans. Such practices cite both liberal and ethnic cultural spheres when juxtaposing multiple gender and sexual identities within the same hybrid form of queer personhood. The figure of the gay woman—not a lesbian or trans subject, but rather a gay man who is also, alternately a woman—is exemplary in this regard. I explore citational sexuality in the particular context of a global clinical trial where many black gay women were coded as men who have sex with men (MSM) to determine the efficacy of antiretrovirals (ARVs) to hedge HIV risk. In this vein, new forms of global biofinancial connectivity expressed by biomedical risk hedging practices—what I term derivative subjectivity—implicitly depend upon the construal of sexuality and queerness as citation.

Panel P140
Connection and contestation in queer anthropology [ENQA]
  Session 1