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Save Our Children: Discourses of Queer Futurity in the United States and South Africa, 1977-2010

Jude's book project, Save Our Children: Discourses of Queer Futurity in the United States and South Africa, 1977-2010, asks what queerness can tell us about the future in the rise of the religious right in the United States and in the transition to democracy in South Africa. This project looks at a variety of texts--from literary novels to life-writing, letters, film, and genre fiction. Tracking the various ways in which queerness alternately signals “promise” and “failure,” Save Our Children examines the role of queer subjectivities in imagining and constructing our national and transnational futures. 

(photograph by Carlos Rene Perez, 1977)

gay rights activist holding a sign that says "we are your children"

This article looks at the queerness of "white trash" subjectivities. Considering how Bastard Out of Carolina depicts "white trash" as a product of eugenic thinking, this article examines representations of queerness to (1) understand how poor whiteness solidifies through queer moments of “bad” sex; and (2) reveal the ways in which “bad sex” retards white subjectivity/progressivity.

(photograph by Margaret Bourke-White, 1937)

close-up photograph of a white man and woman

Lauren Beukes’s Zoo City is a central edifice in the ever-growing genre of South African crime fiction. A decidedly post-apartheid literary trend (though not exclusive to it), crime fiction contributes to commentary on South African futurity, which is often portrayed as violent and almost always disappointing. Understanding the ways in which South African literature has been beleaguered with anxieties about the future, this article employs the figure of the queer child as an analytic to explore the generative politics of failure. Taking up queer theory’s anti-social thesis and the concept of the queer child, this article argues that while the queer child may disrupt a narrative of reproductive futurism, it offers an alternative to both a failed future and a rainbow one. 

city scape of Hillbrow Tower, Johannesburg
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