Recently in Final Wrap-up Category

My Tracking Term for the semester was Bodies and Material Experiences. Now that I have completed my three annotated bibliographies, I look back on my topic and see how it has evolved in a direction that I did not anticipate when choosing this topic. When I started with this topic I began by looking at how marginalized bodies move through various spaces to find/encounter empowerment/struggle/fear/strength. In this first bibliography, the sources followed story lines in which women specifically moved about spaces in academia and how this was [un] done according to their various identities through race, class, age, history, and sexuality. The accessing or lack of accessing various spaces brings up the histories of power/struggle/fear/togetherness/identity and how they play out on a person's body. Also in this first bibliography, I used Navigating Public Spaces: Gender, Race, and Body Privilege in Everyday Life , which, through the use of Peggy McIntosh's theory of white privilege, the article discussed the interviewing process of 42 women who were deemed "overweight". Through the interviewing process the author explained how fat intersects with other signifiers of class/race/gender/age/sexuality/ethnicity/etc. to complicate people's identities. This discussion of fat identity is what would spark the research for the rest of my tracking term. In my second bibliography is when I began examining fat identities. I used Kathleen Le Besco's Revolting Bodies? The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity (Chapter 7 The Queerness of Fat) to look specifically at the intersections of fat and queer identity. In this chapter, Le Besco explains the pathologizing of these identities and the need in our culture to explain away modes of being through finding problems/issues/concerns/lack of normalcy/etc. in queer and fat communities. With this discussion of fat identities came the inevitable discussion of their representations through various social media outlets. Fat identity and its representations in pop culture is discussed in Kathleen Rowe's The Unruly Woman: Gender and the Genres of Laughter Chapter 1: Pig Ladies, Big Ladies, and Ladies with Big Mouths. Feminism and the Carnivalesque.. In this first chapter of her book Rowe discusses the representations of fat women with the use of icons like Miss Piggy and Roseanne. Through this examination Rowe provides a mold in which fat women in pop culture reside or portrayed within: huge, excessive, eats and drinks a lot, sexually voracious, and an obscene joke maker. This mold can easily be seen in both Miss Piggy and Roseanne. Through this process, which led me to fat identities, I want to continue to examine this presence of the fat woman in pop culture, but also look for spaces like The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Life blog which portrays fat women in a positive light.

Queering or queer
to me means many things. All of which are hard to verbally explain at any given time. I think to queer something is to look at something, anything, with a specific lens that allows you to disrupt all understandings/beliefs/comfort of a given topic. I think that when people here the word queer they automatically think about gays and lesbians. Although this is one aspect of queer, it is only one. This is why queer is so great to me because it means so many things to so many people. This is why queer is always evolving in new ways to disrupt various spaces and understandings in order for people to understand and see what makes something the very something that it is. Although I have addressed queer and queering before, I never feel as though I "get it" which, I think, is also another important aspect of queer/queering. This lack of knowing or "getting" is sometimes overwhelming because you cannot just pin down the term and define queer. Again, not to beat a dead horse, but that again is why queer is so ambiguous because it is constantly shifting/[re] examining/asking/telling/questioning again, again, and again.


In this course on queering theory I continued to struggle when understanding what queer/queering/queerness all meant. This lack of knowing made me uncomfortable; in turn, I was uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. However, this space of uncomfortability has been a great learning space for me and maybe not no much in regards to learning in an academic space. In most of my courses and most of my life I have been quite comfortable. I have not been asked to push boundaries, unless I felt comfortable; I have not really felt that I could not understand course content; I have not felt out of place in a classroom setting; and, I could go on, but those are a few examples I could think of to establish my point. My point is, that queering is uncomfortable. It made me uncomfortable by not knowing/understanding. This is turn, for me, made the classroom uncomfortable because I would ask myself, "did these classmates of mine know"? This process of not understanding or knowing has been very humbling for me. As a person who is quite rigid in the classroom, it allowed me to loosen up. Possibly too much since I fell behind in the readings and assignments. Strangely it felt good not being my rigid,student self. I was able to put my guard down and not allow a class to have such a reign over me. Although I did not participate fully in the readings and activity on the blog, I still took away from this class. I learned to not be so rigid as a student and that it is okay to feel/be uncomfortable in spaces of learning because it pushed me outside of my box to examine in a whole new way. I like the blog because you can see other people's work and you can go back to your own work and see it all in one space. In this particular class, I felt overwhelmed by others posts because it made me question my own work. Again, this goes back to knowing/understanding and who knows/understands. I also really like using twitter because it forces you to explain your entire thought process in 140 characters or less. This is a challenge, but its nice to pick a part what a person could mean by their tweet. Because I have blogged before I have heard time and time again to not fall behind. This is so very, very true. The blog takes a lot of work, sometimes more than a traditional academic paper, if you want to make it interesting. I think that use of the blog and twitter are both queering academic spaces. I do not use a blog or twitter in any of my other classes. The blog allowed for us to see others' work and thoughts on a variety of topics that we would have normally not have access to. The blog also allows for us to go back at any point to review/examine our own thoughts and others and bring them back easily into current discussions. The blog is a fun way to bring the entire class together in a very intimate setting, where people's thoughts/feelings/emotions/[un] comfortability/knowledge/etc. are shared amongst one another and the world.

Final Wrap up

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I decided to make a prezi for my final wrap up and the static link is here

Tracking term: youth

At first glance the term "youth" is easy to define right? But as one explores the term more fully the term becomes much harder to locate. My explorations on the term consisted of constantly trying to locate the context in which the term gets used, much like current approaches to how queer theory gets dealt with. The term youth can be situated in a few different ways: age, ability, behavior, politically, culturally or through biology. There's also a difference between being a "youth" and being "young" the term youth is a much more politicized term. "Youth" suggests a way of being an identity that one can embody or become embodied in, so with "youth" itself being a highly politicized and "troubled" term how do we put it in conversation with "queer/ing/ness"?
Even though much of the text in queer theory that reference "youth" use the term as a metaphor to visualize how mechanism within queer theory can materialize itself. Although I do agree that there are certain aspects to "youthdom" that are similar to some of the tenets queer theory uses; it sometimes feels inappropriate because of the lack of interrogation of the term youth. I feel that although "youth" may be difficult to locate and pin down it is much easier than the term "queer" so I decided to explore the term youth through subcultural studies.

Within the field of subcultural studies there is an assumption that often times one is discussing "youth". I found it interesting to ground the term "youth" through these disciplines when putting into conversation the terms "youth" and "queer" . Using subcultural studies presents the possibility of presenting an argument that "youthdom" may not necessarily be as "queer" as it may be used. This was one of the biggest shifts I found myself doing was letting go of assumption of youth as inherently queer but instead asking in what ways can we "queer" youth, youth spaces and etc.


What is queering?

Whenever I get asked this question or am asked to reflect on it I always get reminded of the old comedy skit "who's on first"
A seemingly simple question that evolves into a migraine and a quick trip to the bar to decompress. It is a question that compels one to define it with the understanding that one will eventually fail and with failure the picture of "queerness" becomes a little clearer. "Queer/ness/ing" to me is the possibility of understanding the impossibility of it all. It is something that can de-center already existing modalities of thought and theory in ways that makes life a little bit harder.

I found the best way to really come to peace with queering is to just go along for the ride. In Judith Halberstam's book the queer art of failure she focused on how and where one can place "failure" within queer theory. In our class we more or less came to a consensus of how the book itself failed to present failure in the ways the book wanted to which would be a genius move on halberstam's part if that was done on purpose. I do understand queering in that way though; it's a process that is fed by its failures or our failures to locate it.


Reflection: tracking the term and the blog

It was extremely difficult to be able to effectively "track" my term and place it into conversation with queer/ness/ing. I often found myself ignoring the term "queer" and going into an exploration of "youth" itself. For me there seemed to be a divide between the two that I had a difficult time placing the two in conversation with each other. I felt it was just too much. The term youth itself is highly contested all by its lonesome and to add another term like queer into the mix it was like trying to capture an image of an electron (this is a really stupid chemistry joke because there is an impossibility to being able to capture the image of an actual electron as it stand they have data where an electron had been but not where it is at any given moment) I found that I was using a good chunk of my time trying to figure out what context to situate one of the terms in and then put them into conversation with each other and when I found a way in which I can start or begin the exploration on the terms a question gets asked that makes it all come tumbling down.
So what did I learn about queering theory and my term?

Shit

I learned shit and then more shit. I learned something as to what that something may be right now it's just a pile of shit in my brain waiting to be processed into fertilized to lay ground to something. I learned that as one puts into conversation issues and terms that are pretty fuzzy and vague themselves clarity goals of the project. A lot of times it'll just get fuzzier and I feel that's one of the things that I've picked up the most is the comfort on living with the fuzz.

A quick note on the blogs

The biggest advice I would give to someone is to actually do the blogs especially when the class is really small. I really had a strong aversion on doing the blogs themselves even though I may be one of the few that had experience on making and doing blogs and incorporating those in my daily lives (and yes I live multiple lives) and part of it is my stubbornness on being obligated to do something. I've only felt that blogs are something you just do when the spirit moves you. It's something that doesn't have a deadline or an end and I felt that it made it that much more difficult for me. I do wish I was doing the blogs because walking into class it felt at times like I was walking into a conversation that already started. I felt that placing blogging and social media into an academic space was interesting in how one can "queer" academic spaces.

Final Rap-Up!! LOL

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1)
My tracking term was bodies and material experience. I have come to the conclusion that experience is both subjective and objective. Obvious, you say!! Yes it is however; I believe that we rarely think of how are bodies are spoken for in normative discourses. In many ways our bodies are fragmented making it hard to define what materiality is. We have been taught though science that seeing is more reliable that feeling in in that way we are disconnected from the material. This is where I think Descartes became a useful source for me. He came to the conclusion that he exists because he thinks. All bodily and materiality could be doubted away. Why is that? He thought that the body was fallible and unreliable; he thought that the objective state was more credible. This is where I think queering objectivity becomes useful when looking at the body. Who is able to be objective is questioned, when we know how stratification decides who has the ability to define bodies. Though this objectives gaze bodies are rendered unintelligible. In Butler's "Bodies that Matter" she discussed the performativity of bodies with in the heterosexual matrix. For Butler we only come in to materiality though the performance of norms. I think this is absolutely true, can we live in a society with out being influenced by community building though norms. The film "Paris is burning" highlights bodies as a performance of norms by queer bodies. The more real one appears the better, the closer they come to being seen as normal by the outside world. The performance renders the body both intelligible and false. It is merely a construction of society.
2)
So what is queering to me, it is a way of reframing what appears to be natural. It is a constant questioning, one something becomes intelligible it need to be called in to re-questioning. I think this is important as to not create new norms, which again leaves some on the margins. I like the resources on Homonationalism (http://blog.lib.umn.edu/puot0002/quet2011/2011/11/homonationalism-finale.html
posted by Kelly.
There is a need to assess they way in which power can work though multiple forms of discourse. How does lesbian/gay identity get taken up to assert fear or power over people of color? This was most visible after 9/11, we as "Americans" were reduced to national bodies. At that moment we were supposed to be unified as one. Even though that ONE was a problematic hetero-normative identity. It momentarily included the lesbian/gay community at the expense of others. I think these are important questions asked within queer theory. For Butler we are never outside the Matrix and due to this there is always a need to question. I think that the Queer This assignments were most helpful in attempting to define queer theory. Every thin should be queered, Language, images...EVERYTHING!
3)
The process of tracking terms was at times a difficult process. I came into the assignment with an idea of what I thought it meant. However it was not just a simple explanation. Though tracking the term came the understanding of what it means to queer something. Looking for sources that were not academic was the most difficult for me. I was about not being so reliant on normative ways of learning and understanding. Often with in the context of the University, it feels like we are not supposed to trust our knowledge. We are told over and over again not to look on the Internet for information as it is un-trust worthy. Which in part is true and yet information out there can be more honest more real, if you will. Using the blog was useful to me, in that I got to engage with others in the class out side of the university setting. I felt at times that I could be more honest in my comments. Also I think that it gave me greater flexibility with my time. I could go back and revisit what I said and have the opportunity to change or add to my thoughts. Others could give their impute which was helpful in shaping my arguments in later post. Twitter on the other hand was less useful. I forgot that it was even a part of the class. I stated in my first live tweet that I would have been nice if the live feed was on the blog during class.
I will admit that at first I did not want to blog or tweet as I had done it in a previous class. I think that I was better this time around because the class was small and intimate. I don't think its as helpful in large classed, things get lost in the clutter. I'm less willing to read what others write if there is too much. This forum did add to my understanding of queer theory as have previously stated. (Sorry to be redundant)! The classroom setting was clearly queered, we held class outside and online. This made the class more accessible and comfortable for me.

Final Wrap-up!

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My understanding of Gender
My understanding of gender is that it insinuates a way of expressing oneself. Gender is the way in which a person acts. Gender is different from sex as Butler suggests in that sex is used within the scientific field stating whether a person is male or female based on their genitalia. My understanding of gender has been partly shaped by what Judith Butler has insinuated. Gender is a performance, a way of performing ones body in many different ways; performing manufactured acts as Butler suggests from her book "Gender Trouble."Gender again for me is the understanding of what is or what can be "normalized." How can we normalize such bodies? Also, when I think about gender the most basic thing to question is the concept of heteronormativity and how it plays a role in shaping our understanding of not just gender, but also sex, and sexuality.
Within my first presentation i wanted to get the gist of what the term gender may mean. In my first bibliography i described gender by using a scholarly article that used media, Gender and identity. In this article the author described gender as a performance by using Butler. My other two sources were news reports regarding gender. One of these two articles reported the hardship a young man had to deal with because of his gender. The other one was about a young girl who was trapped in a boy's body. By presenting these two articles as well as the scholarly article they point to the issue of gender and how it is constructed within society. As I continued my research on the term gender, i wanted to look at the issues regarding how transgender people are viewed and recognized within society/media. I found a lot of great articles that touched base on the very issues transgender people are dealing with today and have always had to deal with. For my second bibliography I used Kate Bornstein's "Gender outlaw". This book touched base on how Kate felt through her experience in being a transgender person. In my second source i focused on Leslie Feinberg's "Trans Liberation Pink or Blue". This book focused on the ways in transgender people are treated within society. She then focused on the pink-blue dogma. The idea that if you are a girl you must like (wear)pink, if you are a boy you must like (wear) blue. This was an interesting way in which gender can be discussed. For my third source in my second bibliography i used an article that describes the climate surrounding transgender people at MU. This article points out how the Missouri University supports and protects transgender people.
In my final bibliography i wanted to go back to focusing on the ways in which the media uses pronouns in regards to transgender people by referring to two new reports focusing on transgender children, but i also wanted to use Julia Serano's "Whipping Girl" to further explore the ways in which the terms sex and gender are used within society as well as the ways in which transgender people are referred to outside of the transgender community. She also attempts to analyze the term transgender.

Why my term is important to Queering Theory
This term i think, is powerful when looking at queering theory. For me, i don't think we can begin to understand queering theory without the concept of gender because it glorifies the ways in which the term queer is brought up. when people think about the term gender they often first think about male or female, but then when the term is further complicated people tend to move onto thinking and questioning the differences of gender and what i mean by that is thinking about gay/lesbian/bisexual/intersex/trans people and how they're bodies can further complicate the concept of gender.

A word reflection on the question: what is queering?
Queering is for me is a mix of many things and these things may include performing oneself, noticing a space that has been unnoticed or one didn't want to be noticed, thinking of ones identity/identities. All these things i think refer to the idea of normalcy. In thinking about this i want to draw upon Gina's mash-up as well as Scott's mash-up.
The mash-up is all about describing what we as a class think what queering is so I'm going to start by referring to Gina's mash-up. Gina did her mash-up on performativity. I think this would describe part of what queering is all about. This is what Gina said in her mash-up, "For me queering is calling to the forefront the notion of naturalizations and norms both visible and invisible." This suggestion helps me understand what queering can be. To me the idea of performativity relates to queering because by performing ones idenitity you are performing based on your gender. Gina relates to Gabe's post about National coming Out Day and how the only reson they have to come out is because they are presumed herterosexual/heteronormative until they say differently. This a major issue as Gabe point's out. This for me questions and makes me think about the the term queer and how we as a society can articulate it.
Now i want to turn my attention to Scott's mash-up because this also is way for me to understand what the term queer means. In Scott's mash-up her turns to the idea of queering a space. I want to share what Scott says in his mash-up, "One can "queer" a space, either by drawing attention to something that others hadn't/didn't want to notice before one made it visible/brought it to their attention. One can queer a space through migration, through taking up space that is otherwise normative and transforming it into something else." This for me also describes what queering can mean. I like how Scott suggests, "queering a space by taking up a space is otherwise normative and transforming it into something else. I think this may be the very essence of what queering may mean. I also think that in defining what queer is like Scott explains in his post one will often define queer by discussing what queer is Not and in doing this i think that it can help us as a society to understand what queer may be.
In both of these i think that the idea behind queering is to understand normalcy and the ways in which identities can be formed and transformed as well as to understand how spaces can be transformed in to essentially non-normative spaces as scott suggests.

Word reflection on the process of tracking my term
While being in queering theory i learned a lot about the concepts of normativity, performance, identity, the ways in gender are expressed as well as the ways in which sex and gender as well as sexuality are expressed not only through academia, but through media as well. I learned a lot about how something and/or one can be viewed as queer. I also enjoyed learning about all the different terms each of us in the class focused on. I learned quite a bit about the term gender and how it is constructed. Also, before i was a GWSS major i had never really thought this hard and differently about the term gender and since joining the GWSS department i've learned so much about the differences in how people think.
The process of writing on the blog was really good. I enjoyed writing all the assignments we had to do as well as the continuation of our discussion we had in class. This was a great way to enhance my learning because it gave me an opportunity to see my classmates comments, to see what they are thinking. I think it's always helpful to have others comments because it makes you think sometimes in a whole new way or it may just help you re-ehanance your understanding of the subject. Its also a great way to know exactly what the teacher wants.
Although, i throughly enjoyed writing on the blog it did get a bit annoying having to come on here so often, but in the long run i really enjoyed it.
On the other hand, twitter was more-so annoying than helpful to me. Since i never had a twitter before this class i wasn't used to it, but i am glad that i used it at least once because it gave me a new way to communicate with my classmates. To be honest i'd much rather use the blog than twitter just because it appeals to me more so. The fact that we can only use so many words on twitter is annoying to me, but i suppose we can queer that right?
For future students i would like to say that the blog is fun and very useful for the learning aspect, but it's also a fun way to connect with your classmates when not referring to assignments. Also, it is easier to understand what your teacher wants you to do because it is all laid out on the screen for you plus by using the blog you save on paper as well. For twitter I'd try it out even if you think you don't like it because it can be a learning experience.
The connections i can draw between queering theory and blogging/tweeting is that these online tools can help a lot when discussing academia surrounding queering theory. since we as a society have become so online- wary by using online media we can facilitate what we want to discuss and usually it is anything and everything. For example, i really loved the idea of the Queer This! assignment because it made each of us think of things that can be queered. It was a way for us to use pictures, videos, art, etc to express what we thought was queer. This was a fun aspect of the class, i throughly enjoyed it. The blog and twitter enabled us to think about queer; by assigning us all of these assignments we could use readings/ research of our own to discuss what queering theory means.

I really enjoyed this class! Thanks Sara for being such a great professor! This class taught me so many new things about the idea of queer, the issues surrounding differences in gender, sex, sexuality, the ways in which media plays a part, the ways in which hegemony plays a part, etc.

Final Wrap Up

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Resist/Reject:
My tracking term this semester was resist/ reject. For my own understanding, I have decided that the two terms mean different things. I discussed this in my Remix/Redux/Revisit post when I talked about how disidentification helped me to understand the difference. To reject implies that one can completely disengage, operate outside of power. I don't really believe this is possible or useful. Rather, resistance is a more effective strategy, working from within to disrupt or renegotiate norms. Resistance is integral to the queer practice, which seeks to question and work against normalizing forces. Rejection, however problematic, also becomes important in talking about queer. My presentation and second bibliography were centered on resisting homonormativity, whereas my third bibliography focuses on rejecting, sometimes resisting, other groups. In resisting homonormativity, it is impossible to disengage with or completely reject powerful normalizing influences, but in the rejection of another group, we can see the kinds of coalition building and alliances, present in the realm of the queer, which get lost in wars between disputing factions and communities. In my opinion, rejection has no place in queering. This practice ignores the ways in which power relationships between individuals, groups, and media/juridical forces exist and cannot be avoided. In rejecting these relationships, we can ignore some of the ways we are kept in bondage to our own identities and at odds with others. I believe that queering requires and active resistance to norms, so one must always be conscious of what those norms are and how they are operating.

Queer:
What is queering? Now that's the question, is it not? I have come to understand queering as a practice which questions the seemingly natural forces of normalization and seeks to combat against them. Perhaps that is even going too far. Perhaps queering is merely the questioning itself. When I think about the ways we have used it in terms of the Queer This! assignments, this seems to be the case. To queer was, in this case, to look at something in the media or pop culture and question its validity, its reason for existing in the form it does. Perhaps queering also involves a reclaiming, such as Luhmann seems to suggest when she writes about the change in perception towards the term itself. Luhmann also asserts that queering is not a project directly concerned with gender and sexuality. So, I will ask the question I have been asking all term, which is whether or not queering is for general use or is the appropriation of queer from the lesbian and gay work that seemingly produced it somehow wrong. In my own view, queering has much potential beyond looking at issues of sex and gender, but I also feel that to understand the practice and how it can be used it is useful to look at texts like Gender Outlaws and That's Revolting!, which indeed concern themselves with issues of sex and gender. In a way, that's kind of beautiful...Just like how an undergraduate student cannot resist learning about minority women when learning about the term intersectionality, perhaps no one is able to engage academically with the term queer without first looking to the community responsible for its rise in the academy.

Process:
1. As I knew it would be since my first bibliography, tracking my term was difficult. It was difficult in the sense that my assigned words do not really have much meaning unless put into context, which means that they can be applied to many different kinds of topics and situations. I was able to narrow it down best when I read That's Revolting. My entire process would have gone smoother had I engaged with that text earlier. However, the project was still difficult to some degree even after I read my supplemental reading, because for me, resisting homonormative culture is not the "be all, end all" in terms of the relationship between resist/ reject to queer theory and practice. So the issue for me then was how to re-broaden the scope of my research after having looked so closely at one particular form of resistance/rejection.

2. I'll admit it. At the beginning of this class I was so not into the technical innovations we were going to be using. However, I will admit that I have warmed up to the blog as a particularly useful, and academically queer, space for conversation and interrogation. The blog was awesome. It was so neat to be able to use non-traditional sources in such a way that does not flatten them, like when lines from a movie or TV show are transcribed into a paper. I thoroughly enjoyed a space in which I could link my work directly to other posts or directly to sources. That is something academia needs to pick up and run with. Maybe en masse it would fail to be queer, which I suppose is part of its appeal, but it would be very useful. In my own opinion, however, I think Twitter is decidedly less useful. Although I toyed with the idea that live-Tweeting could be a form a queer note taking, I'm not sure that will really catch on. In fact, throughout the term I found myself using Twitter as an afterthought, only when I had to Tweet sources as an assignment. Perhaps this tool is useful for some, but sadly for our purposes I found it unnecessary. I would definitely encourage other students to at least give these resources a try. Even having to use them a few times tends to de-center you in a way, which can be a useful way to queer the academic process.

Final Wrap-Up: Liminality, Queering, and the Class

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So, really, when you get right down to it, what IS liminality?

I remember the day I chose the term "liminality" for this project. I spoke with my boyfriend on the phone and told him that I would be working on a project over the semester on the term liminality. He asked, "What about liminality?" And I said, "I have no idea! That's the point of the project: to find out!"

And, indeed, it has been a journey. When I started, I had no idea what the term meant. For understanding the term, I think one of the most helpful sources for defining liminality is the blog of the same name, which I summarized in this annotated bibliography. It explained that liminality is a term describing a transitional period that one goes through as in a rite of passage. It emphasized the fact that the liminal stage as an anticipated end point, at which time the liminal subject will then be anointed with his/her new title/position within society. This source also mentioned the difference between a liminal subject and a marginal subject, the latter being a subject that occupies an in-between space without the expectation of an end point. It also elaborated on the images and affective reactions related to the term. Specifically:

-Images of death/dying, as one relinquishes/is stripped of his/her former position/title in society.
-Images of birth/potential, as one goes through a process of becoming
-A sense that the liminal subject is potentially dangerous/polluting to the rest of society, because of his/her lack of official status/intelligibility.

In particular, I think the third point has important implications for queer theory, but I will return to that at the end of this analysis.

The most obvious venue for exploring liminality in queer contexts was the transgender experience, which I found in the article in my second annotated bibliography. The author discusses how this group of transgendered people experienced their transitions as a liminal state, and they formed "communitas" with each other during transition, and then went their separate ways once the transition was complete. However, as we have explored in Gender Outlaws, more and more this traditional narrative of the transgender experience as traveling from one side of the gender binary to another is being challenged, and that many transgendered people choose to permanently occupy an in-between state. Furthermore, the liminality narrative of transgender experience neglects the fact that even when a trans person chooses to fully transition from one gender to another, he/she often retains his/her experiences as his/her previous gender, which always informs and shapes his/her new gender. In liminality, it is implied that the liminal subject fully relinquishes his/her past, and this is clearly not the case for many trans people and their experience. It is also useful to note that this liminal narrative can be problematic in the way it fails to challenge the current gender binary.

One of the things I learned in this exploration is that it is perhaps not liminality that we should be focusing on, but rather the concept of "marginality" -- the intentional (or sometimes forced) and indefinite occupation of an in-between space. I found the concept of marginality more useful in thinking about the article on bisexuality, in my third bibliography. For many bisexuals (myself included), liminality is not an acceptable way to interpret bisexual experience. While some gays/lesbians may go through a liminal period of bisexuality while exploring their sexuality, there are many people for whom bisexuality is an end-point in itself. I think focusing on marginality opens up more space for queer theorizing: if the lack of a stable position, or the refusal of reaching an end point is, for some, an end point, what does this mean for identity? For queer politics?

Ultimately, I think what liminality can contribute to queer theory is the idea that those in a liminal (or marginal) space are seen as a threat to the rest of the community. Their unintelligibility, their fluidity, concern and confuse others. Trans people who refuse to settle on one gender or another, or bisexuals who refuse to "pick a side" trouble gender and sexuality binaries, for both heterosexuals and the queer community itself. Those in marginal/liminal spaces provoke discomfort and call for the examination of our assumptions and the binaries we reproduce daily.

So, really, when you get right down to it, what IS queering?

Ultimately, I think, queering is a process - perhaps a process of becoming. Of becoming more aware of the intricate and interlocking systems of oppression. Of becoming more aware of our own assumptions and the ways in which we can (often inadvertently) reproduce violence/systems of power. Of learning and constantly questioning. Of "always becoming what we are today." I draw that last bit from Gender Outlaws, in the cartoon "Transcention." I think, to be queer (or to queer) is to always leave space open for more critique, as Judith Butler argues. I think it is (or at least should be) "playful" in the way Maria Lugones explains in "World"-Traveling. It's always being open to the possibility of change and discovery, and always loving and attempting to understand those around us. Being difficult to define is a part of what queer is, because queer rejects and destroys boxes and labels and categories. It's constantly changing and expanding definitions, identities, experiences I think "queer" has changed a lot from when it first came about. And I think that it will be different tomorrow, and many years from now. I think queer theory is always morphing and molding, taking the best of the old, and rejecting the rest, and taking that foundation and building more and more on top. It's about having conversations, asking questions, trying new things - sometimes succeeding, and sometimes failing. Queering can learn as much from our mistakes as from our successes. . It is constantly asking the question: What is queer?

Final Reflections on the Class

I enjoyed the tracking term assignment. It was different from any assignment I'd had before. It was like doing the work for a research paper, but not actually writing it. Yet, I think it was a bit different from researching the way one would for a research paper. I didn't set out with a specific topic or hypothesis in mind when I started my tracking term assignment. Hell, I didn't even start off with even a vague idea of what my term even meant. In this way, I think the assignment was much more exploratory - perhaps even more "playful" - than any research paper. I always felt open to new possibilities, and instead of the kind of research I found being influenced by my idea of what a paper would be in the end, each time I did research, what I found influenced what I wanted to explore/research in the future. I liked the fluidity and possibility within this assignment. There wasn't a specific end goal that we were supposed to reach. Rather, the whole point of the assignment was to explore and to try new things - the point of the exercise was to experience the journey of researching a term, rather than to turn in a finished product at the end.

I think using the blog as a forum was specifically useful for this assignment. I think that online spaces (specifically blogs) are kind of queer spaces themselves. They break down barriers between author and reader, and allowed us (as classmates) to engage with one another. Comments on my bibliographies pointed out questions that I hadn't thought of before, or gave me suggestions of where to look next. I think that the more casual environment of a blog also helped to fuel the playful and exploratory nature of the assignment. While writing a blog post, I feel much less pressure and feel free to make mistakes, or I don't worry that I may be going in the wrong direction. The long-term aspect of the project also helped, adding to the sense that the point of the assignment was more about the journey than about the destination.

I'm not so sure about the usefulness of Twitter, however. While I think that the experience of live-tweeting discussions and readings was useful as a tool to teach me how to concisely summarize complex ideas, I didn't see it adding to my experience of the tracking term assignment. I just felt like they were advertisements for my blog post, which most of the people who follow me on Twitter won't really care about/have any idea of what's going on.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience, and I would tell future students to always take an open and playful attitude with them while working on annotated bibliographies, and I would also tell them to try not to forget the tweets that accompanied the assignments (which I sometimes did).