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Relating to Queer Theory

Rereading Sexual Self-Definition with Irigaray, Kristeva, Wittig and Cixous


Sarah Cooper

Can queer theory be written by theorists of any sexual identity? Does the act of reading queer theory form queer readers who do not necessarily claim lesbian, gay, or queer identity? In Relating to Queer Theory the author explores the intimate link between sexual identity and theoretical stance in the energizing work of leading contemporary queer theorists. Drawing on a wide range of poststructuralist theory, this study theorizes previously unarticulated ethical relations between queer theory and readers of different sexual identities. Arguing that (queer) reading takes place in a transformative space that is open to readers of any sexual identity, this book interweaves theory and practice of queer reading by staging a series of encounters between queer theory and the different but related field of French feminism. Texts by Irigaray, Kristeva, Wittig, and Cixous are placed alongside those of their queer theoretical commentators in order to re-view current relations between feminism and queer theory. This study reflects critically on intersecting and divergent positions in feminist theory and queer theory, using each theoretical area to reread the other on issues of sexuality, sexual difference, and gender in relation to reading and writing.