Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries

Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries

Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries

Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries

Excerpt

This book about relocations through space and time—in some situations by choice, and in others through circumstances beyond one’s control— has been guided from the outset by my own circuitous journeys to, through, and between many places, as well as among the many people who made these locations truly significant to me, not only intellectually but also affectively. The way I think the locations in this book, in other words, belongs to those who made me feel these spaces more acutely, even long after “being there” was transposed into memory.

While my enthusiastic and effusive citational practices in Relocations offer certain signposts to the figures who have compelled, enriched, and enlivened this project, I would like in this preface to dispense with some of the more formal methods of mapping academic worlds; instead, I would like to acknowledge not only who has inspired me but also how they have done so. At times their presence is felt through the language I use in this book, in my experiments with an aspirational lyricism that grasps toward “the condition of music” (to invoke Walter Pater), which I hope succeeds as often as it can, considering that such reaching is bound to fail. Their presence is also conjured in the convivial, conversational tone that erupts in the clumsy afterglow of such strivings. I imagine them—imagine you—talking with me as much as through me about the scenes, histories, events, gestures, haunting melodies, and tangled theoretical coincidences that constitute the placeness of a place.

Though located in many institutions, the excursions and sometimes even dead-ends that we’ve shared together have always exceeded the institution-asframework. For this disruption of boundaries and dispensing of formalities, I have many great teachers to thank. First and foremost, I have to acknowledge those who got me in this mess to begin with: the public school teachers of the RUSD (Riverside Unified School District), namely, Kathy Rossi and Keith Lloyd at Sierra Middle School, and Richard McNeil, Richard Zeiner, Rick Woodbury, Katie Mackey, and Robin Speer at Ramona High School. They taught me to love literature, music, performance, and writing. Little did they know what they might ultimately unleash on the world when they indulged this immigrant kid, newly arrived to the suburbs, in my earliest experiments with cultural studies (like the time I brought in a newspaper clipping of Wham!’s arrival in China as a “significant international event” for a history assignment). I share my chapter on the Inland Empire with them, along with the friends who played on those school . . .

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