Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings

Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings

Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings

Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings


Winner of the Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize presented by the GL/Q Caucus of the Modern Language Association
Finalist for the 2015 LGBT Studies Award presented by the Lambda Literary Foundation

Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures and Other Latina Longings proposesa theory of sexual politics that works in the interstices between radical queerdesires and the urgency of transforming public policy, between utopian longings and everyday failures. Considering the ways in which bodily movement is assigned cultural meaning, Juana Maria Rodriguez takes the stereotypes of the hyperbolically gestural queer Latina femme body as a starting point from which to discuss how gestures and forms of embodiment inform sexual pleasures and practices in the social realm.

Centered on the sexuality of racialized queer female subjects, the book's varied archive--which includes burlesque border crossings, daddy play, pornography, sodomy laws, and sovereignty claims--seeks to bring to the fore alternative sexual practices and machinations that exist outside the sightlines of mainstream cosmopolitan gay male culture. Situating articulations of sexual subjectivity between the interpretive poles of law and performance, Rodriguez argues that forms of agency continually mediate among these various structuresof legibility--the rigid confines of the law and the imaginative possibilities of the performative. She reads the strategies of Puerto Rican activists working toward self-determination alongside sexual performances on stage, in commercial pornography, in multi-media installations, on the dance floor, and in the bedroom. Rodriguez examines not only how projections of racialized sexerupt onto various discursive mediums but also how the confluence of racial and gendered anxieties seeps into the gestures and utterances of sexual acts, kinship structures, and activist practices.

Ultimately, Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings reveals --in lyrical style and explicit detail--how sex has been deployed in contemporary queer communities in order to radically reconceptualize sexual politics.


An episode of language which accompanies any amorous
gift, whether real or projected; and more generally, every
gesture, whether actual or interior, by which the subject ded
icates something to the loved being.

Strenuously I calculate whether this object will give you plea
sure, whether it will disappoint, or whether, on the contrary,
seeming too “important,” it will in and of itself betray the
delirium—or the snare in which I am caught. the amorous
gift is a solemn one; swept away by the devouring metonymy
which governs the life of the imagination, I transfer myself
inside it altogether.

—Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse

This book is an amorous gesture, a dedication to another kind of sexual future. It is an episode of language that reaches for the possibility that something else awaits us. This gesture is a kind of touching, a way of sensing what might flow between us. It is sexual in the queerest of ways, meant to inspire intense feeling rather than reproduction; it is multisensory, asynchronic, polysemous, perverse, and full of promise. the “we” in this text is itself a rhetorical gesture of future possibilities, an invitation to sit together in the emotion-laden spaces of meaning making and mystery. Rather than define itself through the exclusion of its others, this “we” is continually coming together and coming undone, a precarious bond that performs its own disarticulation of desire and discontent. in this book, a world surrounds us. Other loves and lovers linger at the edges of our encounter. in memory, we feel the tender traces . . .

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