Murat Aydemir is Associate Professor [universitair hoofddocent] in Literary and Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam.
Indiscretions: At The Intersection of Queer and Postcolonial Studies
In the West, once apparently progressive causes such as sexual equality and lesbian and gay emancipation are increasingly redeployed in order to discipline and ostracize immigrant underclass subjects, primarily Muslims. Gender and sexuality on the one hand and race, culture, and/or ethnicity on the other are more and more forced into separate, mutually exclusive realms. That development cannot but bear on the establishment of queer and postcolonial studies as separate academic specializations, among whom relations usually are as cordial as they are indifferent. This volume inquires into the possibilities and limitations of a parceling out of objects alternative to the common scheme, crude but often apposite, in which Western sexual subjectivity is analyzed and criticized by queer theory, while postcolonial studies takes care of non-Western racial subjectivity. Sex, race: always already distinguished, yet never quite apart.
Roderick A. Ferguson has described liberal pluralism as an ideology of discreteness in that it disavows race, gender and sexuality's mutually formative role in political, social, and economic relations. It is in that spirit that this volume advocates the discreet, hence judicious and circumspect, reconsideration of the (in)discrete realities of race and sex.
Contributors: Jeffrey Geiger, Merill Cole, Jonathan Mitchell and Michael O'Rourke, Jaap Kooijman, Beth Kramer, Maaike Bleeker, Rebecca Fine Romanow, Anikó Imre, Lindsey Green-Simms, Nishant Shahani, Ryan D. Fong, and Murat Aydemir
Migratory Settings proposes a shift in perspective from migration as movement from place to place to migration as installing movement within place. Migration not only takes place between places, but also has its effects on place, in place. In brief, we suggest a view on migration in which place is neither reified nor transcended, but ‘thickened’ as it becomes the setting of the variegated memories, imaginations, dreams, fantasies, nightmares, anticipations, and idealizations of both migrants and native inhabitants that experiences of migration bring into contact with each other. Migration makes place overdetermined, turning it into the mise-en-scène of different histories. Hence, movement does not lead to placelessness, but to the intensification and overdetermination of place, its ‘heterotopicality.’ At the same time, place does not unequivocally authenticate or validate knowledge, but, shot-through with the transnational and the transcultural, exceeds it ceaselessly. Our contributions take us to the migratory settings of a fictional exhibition; a staged political wedding; a walking tour in a museum; African appropriations of Shakespeare and Sophocles; Gollwitz, Germany; Calais, France; the body after a heart transplant; refugees’ family portraiture; a garden in Vermont; the womb.
With contributions by Mieke Bal, Maaike Bleeker, Paulina Aroch, Astrid van Weyenberg, Sarah de Mul, Annette Seidel Arpaci, Sudeep Dasgupta, Wim Staat, Maria Boletsi, Griselda Pollock, Alex Rotas, and Murat Aydemir.
Aristotle believed semen to be the purest of all bodily secretions, a vehicle for the spirit or psyche that gives form to substance. For Proust’s narrator in Swann’s Way, waking to find he has experienced a nocturnal emission, it is the product of “some misplacing of my thigh.” The heavy metal band Metallica used it to adorn an album cover. Beyond its biological function, semen has been applied with surprising frequency to metaphorical and narratological purposes.
In Images of Bliss, Murat Aydemir undertakes an original and extensive analysis of images of male orgasm and semen. In a series of detailed case studies—Aristotle’s On the Generation of Animals; Andres Serrano’s use of bodily fluids in his art; paintings by Holbein and Leonardo; Proust’s In Search of Lost Time; hard-core pornography (both straight and gay); and key texts from the poststructuralist canon, including Lacan on the phallus, Bataille on expenditure, Barthes on bliss, and Derrida on dissemination—Aydemir traces the complex and often contradictory possibilities for imagination, description, and cognition that both the idea and the reality of semen make available. In particular, he foregrounds the significance of male ejaculation for masculine subjectivity. More often than not, Aydemir argues, the event or object of ejaculation emerges as the instance through which identity, meaning, and gender are not so much affirmed as they are relentlessly and productively questioned, complicated, and displaced.
Combining close readings of diverse works with subtle theoretical elaboration and a keen eye for the cultural ideals and anxieties attached to sexuality, Images of Bliss offers a convincing and long overdue critical exploration of ejaculation in Western culture.