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Jean Genet (1910–1986) resonates, perhaps more than any other canonical queer figure from the pre-Stonewall past, with contemporary queer sensibilities attuned to a defiant non-normativity.
Not only sexually queer, Genet was also a criminal and a social pariah, a bitter opponent of the police state, and an ally of revolutionary anticolonial movements. In Disturbing Attachments, Kadji Amin challenges the idealization of Genet as a paradigmatic figure within queer studies to illuminate the methodological dilemmas at the heart of queer theory. Pederasty, which was central to Genet's sexuality and to his passionate cross-racial and transnational political activism late in life, is among a series of problematic and outmoded queer attachments that Amin uses to deidealize and historicize queer theory. He brings the genealogy of Genet's imaginaries of attachment to bear on pressing issues within contemporary queer politics and scholarship, including prison abolition, homonationalism, and pinkwashing. Disturbing Attachments productively and provocatively unsettles queer studies by excavating the history of its affective tendencies to reveal and ultimately expand the contexts that inform the use and connotations of the term queer.
Author: Kadji Amin
Paperback Published October 2017 272 pages
"An interesting and thought-provoking book on the relationship between modern pederasty and queer history. . . . The book’s most useful insight is at a theoretical level: recognizing that a non-normative sexuality can be complicit with oppressive power structures in other respects, it places a welcome emphasis on the existence of an irreducible tension between the erotic and the political." — Mairéad Hanrahan, H-France, H-Net Reviews
"There is no doubt that Disturbing Attachments is, ?rst and foremost, a work of and about queer studies, a fearless and scholarly probing of its disciplinary norms, its discursive limits, and its most embarrassing relations. It should be read by all those who care about the discipline’s future . . . and, most importantly, by those who care about its past." — Andrew Counter, French Studies