Cruising Utopia
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Cruising Utopia : The Then and There of Queer Futurity

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The LGBT agenda for too long has been dominated by pragmatic issues like same-sex marriage and gays in the military. It has been stifled by this myopic focus on the present, which is short-sighted and assimilationist. Cruising Utopia seeks to break the present stagnancy by cruising ahead. Drawing on the work of Ernst Bloch, Jose Esteban Munoz recalls the queer past for guidance in presaging its future. He considers the work of seminal artists and writers such as Andy Warhol, LeRoi Jones, Frank O'Hara, Ray Johnson, Fred Herko, Samuel Delany, and Elizabeth Bishop, alongside contemporary performance and visual artists like Dynasty Handbag, My Barbarian, Luke Dowd, Tony Just, and Kevin McCarty in order to decipher the anticipatory illumination of art and its uncanny ability to open windows to the future. In a startling repudiation of what the LGBT movement has held dear, Munoz contends that queerness is instead a futurity bound phenomenon, a "not yet here" that critically engages pragmatic presentism. Part manifesto, part love-letter to the past and the future, Cruising Utopia argues that the here and now are not enough and issues an urgent call for the revivification of the queer political imagination.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 234 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 362.87g
  • New York University Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0814757286
  • 9780814757284
  • 59,513

Review quote

"In this interesting study of queerness and identity politics, Munoz (performance studies, New York Univ.) invites readers to look beyond the immediate present and toward a queer future."-Choice "In the course of an introduction, a conclusion, and the ten lush chapters in between, Cruising Utopia elaborates an archive of queer aesthetic practices from the present and the recent past."-Kevin Floyd,Meditations: The Journal of the Marxist Literary Group "Munoz takes Ernst Bloch as his Virgil as he descends into the dark woods of futurity looking for signposts along the way that will guide him to a place of hope, belonging, queerness and quirkiness. Refusing to simply sign on to the 'anti-relational,' anti-future brand of queer theory espoused by Edelman, Bersani and others, Munoz insists that for some queers, particularly for queers of color, hope is something one cannot afford to lose and for them giving up on futurity is not an option." -Judith Halberstam,author of In a Queer Time and Place "Gay liberation's activist past and pragmatic present are merely prologue to a queer cultural future, Munoz suggests in this critical condemnation of the political status quo. Casting his vision of a radical gay aesthetic through the prisms of literature, photography and performance, the author dismisses commonplace concerns like same-sex marriage as desires for 'mere inclusion' in a 'corrupt' mainstream. More defiantly, he exalts the persistence of commercial sex spaces in the face of 'antisex and homphobic policings,' and celebrates the overlay of punk and queer in performance spaces." -Publishers Weekly "Brilliant, extraordinary, and necessary, Munoz's critical refusal of queer pragmatism, his commitment to the utopian force of the radical attempt-the radical aesthetic, erotic, and philosophical experiment-is indispensable in an historical moment characterized by political surrender and intellectual timidity passing itself off as boldness." -Fred Moten,author of In the Break

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About Jose Esteban Munoz

Jose Esteban Munoz was Professor and past Chair of Performance Studies at New York University. He is the author of Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics and co-editor of Pop Out: Culture and Dance in Latin/o America and Everynight Life: Queer Warhol.

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Table of contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: Feeling Utopia1 Queerness as Horizon: Utopian Hermeneutics in the Face of Gay Pragmatism2 Ghosts of Public Sex: Utopian Longings, Queer Memories 3 The Future Is in the Present: Sexual Avant-Gardes and the Performance of Utopia4 Gesture, Ephemera, and Queer Feeling: Approaching Kevin Aviance5 Cruising the Toilet: LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Radical Black Traditions, and Queer Futurity6 Stages: Queers, Punks, and the Utopian Performative 7 Utopia's Seating Chart: Ray Johnson, Jill Johnston, and Queer Intermedia as System8 Just Like Heaven: Queer Utopian Art and the Aesthetic Dimension9 A Jete Out the Window: Fred Herko's Incandescent Illumination 10 After Jack: Queer Failure, Queer Virtuosity Conclusion: "Take Ecstasy with Me"Notes Bibliography Index About the Author

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