Issue 2.1 Homepage

Article Contents
·Not Freud Again!
·Questing for the Question
·What Gave You the Right?
·Quotidian Thesis
·Fill in the Blank
·Space and Place
·Works Cited

Printer Version

Sharon Holland, "The Question of Normal" (page 5 of 6)

Fill in the Blank

But back to the issue of belonging. . . . On several occasions, I have heard from friends and colleagues that Chicago is now the (un)official home of Black Queer Studies. To be honest, I haven't said much in response to such pronouncements. I certainly agree that Chicago is undergoing a Renaissance on several levels; during the last five years the city's academic hubs have been able to attract a cadre of critics, writers, and artists to this place I now call home even in these difficult post-September 11th times. Don't get me wrong; I am honored to be in the company of my (black) queer studies colleagues in Chicago. But I've always wondered what would it take to make Chicago's black queer studies the new "home" for queer studies? I'm sure I'm not the first person to make this observation. I am remembering a famous line from Mr. Baldwin here, "What is the price of the ticket?" I am also aware that at the moment I challenge the "center" of queer studies, I am required to participate in the same kind of demand placed upon me in that California parking lot. Belonging is indeed burdensome. The intersection of race, ethnicity and queer studies is always already crowded and based upon a set of assumed relationships that sets the stage for discord, for the question at the center of the center is always already: "prove to us that you belong;" "that you understand the larger picture;" and "that you do what we do." And if we can't provide the "proof," for we all know that queer studies has not re-envisioned itself from the center out or else we would be have no need for yet another conference on the intersection of (fill in the blank) - then we are called upon to create a separate sphere, whether spontaneous or intentional (let's call this place/space Chicago's black queer studies) so that we can readily recognize the outside of the outside.

S&F Online - Issue 2.1, Public Sentiments - Ann Cvetkovich and Ann Pellegrini, Guest Editors - ©2003.