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Otherness

A Multilateral Perspective

Susan Yi Sencindiver, Maria Beville and Marie Lauritzen

In recent decades, theoretical and critical studies have oscillated between, on the one hand, wrestling otherness from a condition in which it is dependent on and defined relative to the notion of the same and, on the other hand, pursuing an approach to sameness and universality uncontaminated by otherness. Yet these concepts continuously prove mutually dependent. Together, they constitute a dynamic and productive tension which this book addresses. Inquiring into the representations and nature of self-other relationships in art, literature and culture, the chapters are written in and to a contemporary world struggling with the critical question of otherness and its present-day status. Given the complexity and multidimensional nature of otherness, a multilateral focus is called for and so this collection of selected essays brings together a range of scholarly disciplines and inquiries to engage in a multilateral discussion of otherness.

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PART I SELF A D OTHER: INDELIBLY DIVIDED, IRREVOCABLY UNITED

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PART I SELF AD OTHER: IDELIBLY DIVIDED, IRREVOCABLY UITED 45 1 SAME, SAME BUT OTHER: OVER-SAMENESS AS SEXUAL OTHERNESS Olu Jenzen In his 2003 book on the uncanny Nicholas Royle alerts us to the relationship between the queer and the uncanny, noting that ‘[t]he emergence of “queer” as a cultural, philosophical and political phenomenon, at the end of the twentieth cen- tury, figures as a formidable example of the contemporary “place” and signific- ance of the uncanny’ (2003, 42f). This paper will explore this relationship further by attending to one of the aspects of the uncanny that is linked to the notion of queerness: the trope of the double as manifested in the figure of the narcissistic lesbian couple. The queer uncanny, I suggest, affords new ways of thinking about otherness and facilitates a critique of heterosexist epistemology that pre- sumes a particular relation to the other (Dean 2001, 120). In this discussion I will seek to demonstrate how the image of the narcissistic lesbian may offer itself up as a form of queer resistance by embracing its assumed connection to the death drive and stasis. In order to do so the article will first outline some aspects of contemporary theorisations of the uncanny that can be useful for thinking about sexual otherness and the queer. This discussion takes Freud’s 1919 essay on the uncanny as a reference-point, but is also indebted to more recent theorisations of the uncanny such as Royle’s and also queer theoretical work, framed within...

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