Monday, March 4, 2013

Possible Repercussions of Terminology

This is partially a response to some of the issues brought up by my fellow classmates, and partially my thoughts on what Stockton had to say during his guest lecture. It is difficult not to agree with his contribution to the opposition towards a fantasized heterosexual romance that Romeo & Juliet is taken granted to be. In pedagogical terms, high school education in both its fundamental teaching methods of literature, as well as obligations to state politics (in public schools) can be held responsible for why the tragedy is taken for granted in the way it is. This neglect, intentional or otherwise, of possible readings is nothing but a limitation of the possibilities that surrounds the production of knowledge, a rebuke of which Stockton's presentist approach assumes. The issue that most of my classmates raised in their blog posts seems to be around his specific application and defense of the term "queer," which poses the question: Where do we draw the line, or should there be a line at all?

 The reason why I signed up to follow a pursuit of literature is that uncomfortable lack of a specific answer that can be obtained through formulaic means, that there can be an exponential amount of possible meanings for a body of work. But what Stockton seems to improve and broaden with his presentist approach to the play, he seems to contradict or counteract with his defense of the "conventionally known application" of "queer." If we were to take "queer" as a term only associated with sexuality, then we accept a certain set of barriers around the amount of theoretical applications of the term, and that prison we fall into illuminates the problems that surrounds terminology. The work of many theorists have contributed to the idea of "queer" as a utopian term which is uniting instead of separating, a term that should be a show of how similar everyone can be (as Jake mentioned the all too familiar scene of a mother telling a child that they are special). Then I end up asking myself, if "queer" was to be strictly attached to the conventional understanding of homosexual, what will the plethora of other conditions that are victims to societal neglect be defined by? Must they also wait for a specific and conventionally understood term before they can achieve recognition? 

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