Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism

Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism

Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism

Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism

Synopsis

The metropolis has been the near exclusive focus of queer scholars and queer cultures in America. Asking us to look beyond the cities on the coasts, Scott Herring draws a new map, tracking how rural queers have responded to this myopic mindset. Interweaving a wide range of disciplines- art, media, literature, performance, and fashion studies- he develops an extended critique of how metronormativity saturates LGBTQ politics, artwork, and criticism. To counter this ideal, he offers a vibrant theory of queer anti-urbanism that refuses to dismiss the rural as a cultural backwater.

Impassioned and provocative, Another Country expands the possibilities of queer studies beyond its city limits. Herring leads his readers from faeries in the rural Midwest to photographs of white supremacists in the deep South, from Roland Barthes's obsession with Parisian fashion to a graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel set in the Appalachian Mountains, and from cubist paintings in Lancaster County to lesbian separatist communes on the northern California coast. The result is an entirely original account of how queer studies can- and should- get to another country.

Excerpt

Country, country bumpkin, rube, hayseed, Hoosier, hillbilly, clay eater,
redneck, yokel, yooper, hick, Hicksville, backwater, boondocks, trailer
trash, the middle of nowhere, the midwaste, flyover country, the sticks,
the backwoods, the hinterlands, the outskirts, Sticksville, Shitsville,
shitkicker, jerkwater, Podunk, Bumfuck, East Bumfuck, East Bumble
fuck, East Butt-Fuck, bfe, Butt-Fuck Egypt

Urban Legends

I hate New York. It’s not just the oppressive summer heat, or the dearth of affordable housing, or the lack of decent water pressure. It’s not simply the city’s awesome capacity to imagine itself as the be-all and the end-all of modern queer life (no small feat, mind you). What I really hate is the casualness with which this move is dispatched, the taken-for-granted assumption that you want to be on that tiny island (but not some of those outer boroughs) and be there soon. That you want to get there someday, somehow, and get out of this godforsaken town. That the promised land awaits just a hub or two or three away. I hate that no queer in New York has ever had to apologize to other queers for wanting to live there, unlike those of us who did not wash up on its shores. and I hate that the more I hate what New York stands for, the more I feel like the kind of shitkicker its queer denizens have too often defined themselves against.

Here are two small examples of what I am trying to describe, a hazy sense of having missed out on something that turns into an acute feeling of being left out of everything, a feeling I’ve often experienced as a queer form of social death. One is an old club listing from Chelsea, the other a single-line quotation from a prominent queer theorist. Though separated by nearly two decades, they converse in aspiration and intent. My first example is a full-page ad taken from the inside front cover of a 1982 honcho, a Sixth Avenue–based glossy whose subtitle once informed . . .

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