The Queer Art of Failure

The Queer Art of Failure

By Judith Halberstam

Duke University Press, Paperback, 9780822350453, 211pp.

Publication Date: August 12, 2011

Description
"The Queer Art of Failure" is about finding alternatives to conventional understandings of success in a heteronormative, capitalist society; to academic disciplines that confirm what is already known according to approved methods of knowing; and to cultural criticism that claims to break new ground but cleaves to conventional archives. Judith Halberstam proposes low theory as a mode of thinking and writing that operates at many different levels at once. Low theory is derived from eccentric archives. It runs the risk of not being taken seriously. It entails a willingness to fail and to lose one's way, to pursue difficult questions about complicity, and to find counterintuitive forms of resistance. Tacking back and forth between high theory and low theory, high culture and low culture, Halberstam looks for the unexpected and subversive in popular culture, avant-garde performance, and queer art. She pays particular attention to animated children's films, revealing narratives filled with unexpected encounters between the childish, the transformative, and the queer. Failure sometimes offers more creative, cooperative, and surprising ways of being in the world, even as it forces us to face the dark side of life, love, and libido.


About the Author
Judith Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is the author of In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters, Female Masculinity and co-author with Del LaGrace Volcano of The Drag King Book.