I’ve been wondering how to move this blog along; hence, I’m focusing this conversation and renaming this blog “Queering the Geographical Imagination” (from “The Geographical Imagination”). I aim to not only consider the geographical imagination to analyze the spatialities of everyday life–a theoretical concept and tool I find useful–but to queer that work as well.
Here’s how I defined “Queer Theory” in Encyclopedia of Social Problems (2008) to start this conservation. There are many definitions of queer theory and this is merely one to begin from:
“Queer” is often used as an umbrella term by and for persons who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, and/or transgender, or by and for individuals who use the term as an alternative to LGBTI labels. Some find the term derogatory depending upon their race, class, personal experience, and also their generation. Recently, heterosexuals whose gender or sexuality does not conform to popular expectations have used the term “queer” to define themselves. Thus, queer theory is a framework of ideas that suggests identities are not stable or deterministic, particularly in regard to an individual’s gender, sex, and/or sexuality. Queer theory focuses on critiquing and problematizing previous ways of theorizing identity. While heteronormativity assumes that heterosexuality and the relations of the binary masculine and feminine genders expected within it are secure and constant, queer theory is a discourse model that destabilizes the assumptions and privileges of secure heteronormative models of study and everyday life and politicizes and acknowledges the fluidity and instability of identities. …queer theory can also extend beyond the realm of gender of sexuality; in particular, when studying the politics of racial, ethnic, or class identities, scholars may wish to “queer the subject” by writing about these identities as fluid rather than as rigid or binary subjects.