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Feeling Queer/ Queer Feeling as Deviant Modernist Archive

"Oh, Mrs. Honeychurch, the oddest people! The queerest people! For our part we liked them, didn't we?"

As Forster's quotation from A Room With a View suggests, oddness and queerness are often coupled (the odd couple). Queer folk are apparently likable by those with the taste to appreciate their piquancy. Yet those queer characters might refuse efforts to incorporate their deviancy into normative desires. While Mr. Beebe and Mrs. Honeychurch might feel that "for our part we liked them," modernist queers are often different, deviant, and difficult. This circulation of feeling underscores the tangle of pleasures and appeal, of surprise and fascination, of attraction and repulsion in queer relations. As such, this panel looks to how queer authors, texts, and characters imagine themselves as outsiders who feel their difference and evoke different feelings.

During a period when queer still meant "œodd" or "bent" while also newly signifying sexual and gender deviance, how do these categories overlap? How do modernists combine, pair together, or complicate shared feelings of oddity and sexual difference? How might queer feelings of marginality inspire desires beyond the moment of the sexual encounter, leading to new ways of being? Alternatively, how can the figure of the strange-fellow, the queer-bird, and the misfit, be traced within ostensibly ‘straight’ or unbent texts? Found in seemingly unexpected places, how do these queer fictions and feelings reimagine or appropriate normative narratives?

To answer these questions, this panel aims to contribute to recent studies of the modernist archive of queer feeling. Heather Love, for example, has recovered an alternative history of queer "feeling backwards" that was crucial to understanding sexual and "œgender outsiders" in the early modernist period (2007). Conversely, Michael Snediker challenged queer theory by drawing on modern lyric poetry with his "amorous logics"™ of queer optimism (2009), to name but two. This panel will build upon these insights and expand the affective archive to include "the oddest people! The queerest people!" in order to challenge what has become normative in the modernist imaginary. The following are some of the questions animating the proposal:

-What does queerness feel like in modernism?
-Are there specifically queer feelings in the modernist imaginary?
-How do the aesthetic, politics, or histories of gender, sexuality, and queerness intersect with emotion and affect in modernism? What kind of queer becomings are made tangible in the nexus of queerness and affect?
-What challenges to normative aesthetics are made by queer artists?

This CFP is for the MSA conference 2017. Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to Wendy Truran truran2@illinois.edu by Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017. Please include your name, along with a brief scholarly biography, in your email.


Conference Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Conference Starts: August 10, 2017
Conference Ends: August 13, 2017

CFP Submission Deadline: January 05, 2017

For more information, contact: Todd Nordgren

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