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Queering Paradigms VI

Interventions, Ethics and Glocalities

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Edited By Bee Scherer

This edited volume brings together perspectives on embodied queerness within the complicated parameters of hegemonic normativities, biopolitics and social-religious governmentalities. Queering Paradigms VI offers queer interventions, explores value-production in socio-corporeal normative frameworks, and exemplifies and highlights the complexity of queering in the global-local continuum. Queer maintains its revolutionary subversive functionality as an impulse and catalyst for cultural shifts challenging status quos, advancing cultural philosophy and activism/artivism and subverting harmful discourses at work among communities of practice and academic disciplines. The authors of this volume demonstrate the discoursive power of value-production and show pathways of global-local queer resistance, virtuosity and failure in the fields of philosophy, pedagogy, psychology, art, criminology, health, social media, history, religion and politics.

The volume features a particular South Asia focus and a balanced mix of early career researchers and established scholars, which reflects Queering Paradigms’ ethos for fostering a genial academic community of practice and to proffer intergenerational support and voice.

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7 Representing Queer Women: Nakedness and Sexuality in the Visual Presentation of the Colonised Body of the Female Other

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CHRISTINA WELCH

7   Representing Queer Women: Nakedness and Sexuality in the Visual Presentation of the Colonised Body of the Female Other

Introduction

In this chapter notions of queer (atypical) women and the variabilities in their visual representation are explored, with a particular focus on the body of the colonised female Other, and the troubling problematic of nakedness in the West. Central are the representations of Saartjie Baartman (1789–1815) and Millie-Christine McKoy/McCoy (1851–1912), both black women who were exhibited live in America and Britain. Saartjie appeared on public display in Europe from 1810 to 1815 (Holmes 2002), whilst Millie-Christine was on show in America and Europe from 1852 until around 1888 (Martell 2000: 249). During, and indeed well before, this period of history (Weisner 2000), Western worldviews typically situated women as indicative of a cultures morality and respectability (Anderson 1993: 41) and visual representations of colonised women were often used in constructing identity norms; (re-)enforcing what was socio-culturally normative, and what was queer.

Perceptions of queerness in the nineteenth and early twentieth century had largely shifted from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century concepts of normativity. The shift moved norms away from those based predominantly on monogenism (the common origins of humans) tempered via cultural dissimilarities (principally adherence or not to Christianity), to ones more concerned with physical human difference, such as skin colour (Biles 2005: 19–21). Thus, the public display of colonised women of colour, effectively provided...

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