Open Access (free)
James Baldwin and the "Closeted-ness" of American Power
David Jones

This article reads the work of James Baldwin in dialogue with that of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Taking its cue from Baldwin’s claim that Americans “live […] with something in [their] closet” that they “pretend […] is not there,” it explores his depiction of a United States characterized by the “closeted-ness” of its racial discourse. In doing so, the article draws on Sedgwick’s work concerning how the containment of discourses pertaining to sexuality hinges on the closeting of non-heteronormative sexual practices. Reconceptualizing Sedgwick’s ideas in the context of a black, queer writer like Baldwin, however, problematizes her own insistence on the “historical gay specificity” of the epistemology she traces. To this end, this article does not simply posit a racial counterpart to the homosexual closet. Rather, reflecting Baldwin’s insistence that “the sexual question and the racial question have always been entwined,” I highlight here the interpretive possibilities opened up by intersectional analyses that view race, sexuality, and national identity as coextensive, reciprocal epistemologies.  

James Baldwin Review
Haematophilic Semiotics in Tru(e) Blood
Xavier Aldana Reyes

This article analyses the role of blood in the American series True Blood. It opens with a reassessment of sexual readings of vampires that complements previous work on their metaphorical significance for Queer Studies and focuses on the complex AIDS burger sequence,in Season One. The article then explores how artificial blood, ‘TruBlood’, may function as a radical attack on vampires which mirrors how commodity culture has adapted to suit the needs of marginal communities. Lastly, the article turns to non-genetic blood ties to show how ‘true’,blood (i.e. personal or individual) is the only substance that actually unites creatures in the series.

Gothic Studies
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Solo performance in neoliberal times
Author: Stephen Greer

This book is a study of solo performance in the UK and Western Europe since the turn of millennium that explores the contentious relationship between identity, individuality and the demands of neoliberalism. With case studies drawn from across theatre, cabaret, comedy and live art – and featuring artists, playwrights and performers as varied as La Ribot, David Hoyle, Neil Bartlett, Bridget Christie and Tanja Ostojić – it provides an essential account of the diverse practices which characterise contemporary solo performance, and their significance to contemporary debates concerning subjectivity, equality and social participation.

Beginning in a study of the arts festivals which characterise the economies in which solo performance is made, each chapter animates a different cultural trope – including the martyr, the killjoy, the misfit and the stranger – to explore the significance of ‘exceptional’ subjects whose uncertain social status challenges assumed notions of communal sociability. These figures invite us to re-examine theatre’s attachment to singular lives and experiences, as well as the evolving role of autobiographical performance and the explicit body in negotiating the relationship between the personal and the political.

Informed by the work of scholars including Sara Ahmed, Zygmunt Bauman and Giorgio Agamben, this interdisciplinary text offers an incisive analysis of the cultural significance of solo performance for students and scholars across the fields of theatre and performance studies, sociology, gender studies and political philosophy.

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Polish theatre and the political
Author: Bryce Lease

This monograph takes as its subject the dynamic new range of performance practices that have been developed since the demise of communism in the flourishing theatrical landscape of Poland. After 1989, Lease argues, the theatre has retained its historical role as the crucial space for debating and interrogating cultural and political identities. Providing access to scholarship and criticism not readily accessible to an English-speaking readership, this study surveys the rebirth of the theatre as a site of public intervention and social criticism since the establishment of democracy and the proliferation of theatre makers that have flaunted cultural commonplaces and begged new questions of Polish culture. Lease suggests that a radical democratic pluralism is only tenable through the destabilization of attempts to essentialize Polish national identity, focusing on the development of new theatre practices that interrogate the rise of nationalism, alternative sexual identities and forms of kinship, gender equality, contested histories of antisemitism, and postcolonial encounters. Lease elaborates a new theory of political theatre as part of the public sphere. The main contention is that the most significant change in performance practice after 1989 has been from opposition to the state to a more pluralistic practice that engages with marginalized identities purposefully left out of the rhetoric of freedom and independence.

History and representations of confino

Confino (i.e., internal exile) was a malleable form of imprisonment during the Fascist ventennio. Confinement allowed Mussolini to bypass the judiciary thereby placing prisoners outside magistrates’ jurisdiction. The Regime applied it to political dissidents, ethnic and religious minorities, gender nonconforming people, and mafiosi, among others. Recent political discourse in and beyond Italy has drawn on similar rationales to address perceived threats against the State. This study examines confino from a historical, political, social, and cultural perspective. It provides a broad overview of the practice and it also examines particular cases and situations. In addition to this historical assessment, it is the first to analyse confinement as a cultural practice through representations in literature (e.g., letters, memoirs, historical fiction) and film. English-language publications often overlook confino and its representations. Italian critical literature, instead, often speaks in purely historical terms or is rooted in partisan perspectives. This book demonstrates that internal exile is not purely political: it possesses a cultural history that speaks to the present. The scope of this study, therefore, is to provide a cultural reading that makes manifest aspects of confino that have been appropriated by contemporary political discourse. Although directed towards students and specialists of Italian history, literature, film, and culture, the study offers a coherent portrait of confino accessible to those with a general interest in Fascism.

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Peter Barry

area of concerns (taking in, for example, medical ethics, international law, civil rights, social history, and the history of religion), while LGBT theory suggests an emphasis on literary, cultural, and philosophical matters. In both cases, the primary focus of the field is on matters relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. In the UK the pioneering academic presence in queer studies was the Centre for Sexual Dissidence (known as ‘SexDiss’) in the English Department at Sussex University, founded by Alan Sinfield and Jonathan Dollimore in 1990, with its

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
Open Access (free)
Catherine Baker

have done earlier if not for institutional obstacles – has existing theoretical argument about race, whiteness and postsocialist identities on which to build, even though so far it has not reframed the discipline's conversations in the way that the 1990s adaptations of Said still make ‘Europe’/‘Balkan’ and ‘western’/‘eastern’ Europe constructions live themes. This is not to say that postsocialist translations of postcolonialism are static. Queer studies, in particular, have injected new energy into the postsocialism–postcolonialism conjunction, in

in Race and the Yugoslav region
Rethinking art, media, and the audio-visual contract
Author: Ming-Yuen S. Ma

There is no soundtrack is a specific yet expansive study of sound tactics deployed in experimental media art today. It analyses how audio and visual elements interact and produce meaning, drawing from works by contemporary media artists ranging from Chantal Akerman, to Nam June Paik, to Tanya Tagaq. It then links these analyses to discussions on silence, voice, noise, listening, the soundscape, and other key ideas in sound studies. In making these connections, the book argues that experimental media art – avant-garde film, video art, performance, installation, and hybrid forms – produces radical and new audio-visual relationships that challenge and destabilize the visually-dominated fields of art history, contemporary art criticism, cinema and media studies, and cultural studies as well as the larger area of the human sciences. This book directly addresses what sound studies scholar Jonathan Sterne calls ‘visual hegemony’. It joins a growing body of interdisciplinary scholarship that is collectively sonifying the study of culture while defying the lack of diversity within the field by focusing on practitioners from transnational and diverse backgrounds. Therefore, the media artists discussed in this book are of interest to scholars and students who are exploring aurality in related disciplines including gender and feminist studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, urban studies, environmental analysis, and architecture. As such, There Is No Soundtrack makes meaningful connections between previously disconnected bodies of scholarship to build new, more complex and reverberating frameworks for the study of art, media, and sound.

Bryce Lease

movements based in identity politics, remains vague and unfixed in Poland, which creates destructive results in public discourse and calls attention to a temporal disorientation in queer studies in the country. Terminology remains a site of battle and contestation in Poland. Warkocki has written extensively about the appropriation of and subsequent disempowerment of queer terminology in the Polish mainstream. ‘Coming out,’ for example, has been decontextualized in literary studies from its homosexual context and employed as a useful term to determine the unveiling and

in After ’89
Constructing a queer haven
Author: Thibaut Raboin

Discourses on LGBT asylum in the UK analyses fifteen years of debate, activism and media narrative and examines the way asylum is conceptualized at the crossroads of nationhood, post colonialism and sexual citizenship, reshaping in the process forms of sexual belongings to the nation.

Asylum has become a foremost site for the formulation and critique of LGBT human rights. This book intervenes in the ongoing discussion of homonationalism, sheds new light on the limitations of queer liberalism as a political strategy, and questions the prevailing modes of solidarity with queer migrants in the UK.

This book employs the methods of Discourse Analysis to study a large corpus encompassing media narratives, policy documents, debates with activists and NGOs, and also counter discourses emerging from art practice. The study of these discourses illuminates the construction of the social problem of LGBT asylum. Doing so, it shows how our understanding of asylum is firmly rooted in the individual stories of migration that are circulated in the media. The book also critiques the exclusionary management of cases by the state, especially in the way the state manufactures the authenticity of queer refugees. Finally, it investigates the affective economy of asylum, assessing critically the role of sympathy and challenging the happy goals of queer liberalism.

This book will be essential for researchers and students specializing in refugee studies and queer studies.