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Temporality in Queer Theory and Continental Philosophy

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Abstract

The connections between the fields of queer theory and continental philosophy are strange and strained: simultaneously difficult and all too easy to ferret out, there is no easy narrative for how the two fields interconnect. Both sides of the relation seem either to disavow or simply repress any relation to the other. For example, despite the impact of Foucault’s History of Sexuality, Volume One on early queer theory, current work in queer of color critique challenges the politics and epistemology of placing this text in such a canonical position, particularly for the adamantly anti-foundational field of queer theory.1 On the other hand, continental philosophy, perhaps in its ongoing beleaguered attempt to form an identity within the analytically dominated discipline of philosophy in the United States,2 seems largely to ignore the growth of queer theory, despite the provocative and invigorating work on some of continental philosophy’s most beloved topics, such as temporality, embodiment, desire, the negative, and radically anti-foundational subjectivity, epistemology, and politics. Setting aside the thorny project of their genealogical connections and disconnections, this essay turns to current trajectories in the field of queer theory, particularly the heated debates about temporality and the future, to indicate how this contemporary scholarship both draws on and exceeds a grounding in continental philosophy.

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