Is Kinship Always Already Queer?

deadline for submissions: 
March 20, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Shannon Draucker and Talia Vestri Croan
contact email: 

Now that many reinterpret 19c “families” as fluid and non-normative, we explore the utility of “queerness” as ideology and method. How does 19c literature disrupt kinship/community/intimacy? Abstracts (350 words) due by 20 March 2017  to Shannon Draucker (sdraucke@bu.edu) and Talia Vestri Croan (tmvcroan@bu.edu).

How does literature of the long nineteenth century conceive of family, kinship, and community in ways that confound social norms? Building on queer theory’s deconstruction of heteronormativity, Romantic, Victorian, and modernist scholars have located alternatives to hegemonic structures underlying literature and culture, including heterosexual marriage, patriarchal inheritance, and biological reproduction. However, turning the title of Judith Butler’s 2002 essay “Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?” on its head, we seek to question the utility of the term “queer” today, now that scholars have re-conceptualized “kinship” and “family” to have always been more fluid, intersectional, unconventional, shifting, and non-traditional than once thought. In other words: was kinship always already queer?