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Dr Rebekah Galbraith

Dr Rebekah Galbraith presents at the Rainbow Studies Now symposium, held on 23 November 2023 at Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington.

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The presentation delves into contemporary queer literature, focusing on queer autoethnographic writing. Dr. Galbraith utilizes Jack Halberstam's concept of perverse presentism, a historical analysis model, to examine contemporary representations of queer identities. This approach avoids projecting modern understandings onto the past while allowing present insights to interpret historical conundrums.

Galbraith explores three key narratives: Paul B. Preciado's "An Apartment on Uranus," Jenn Shapland's "My Autobiography of Carson McCullers," and Selby Wynn Schwartz's "After Sappho." Each text showcases queerness as a cultural journey and underlines the significance of queer self-representation. These works contribute to an expanding corpus of queer and trans counterpublics, challenging the dominant heteronormative paradigm.

Preciado's narrative, set against the backdrop of socio-political and techno-scientific changes, calls for a new framework to understand queer existence. Shaplin's memoir recontextualizes Carson McCullers' queerness within their own narrative, addressing unfinished and misremembered aspects of queer history. Similarly, Schwartz's work reimagines the lives of notable women like Lena Poletti, Colette, Virginia Woolf, and Isadora Duncan, offering a modern perspective on past queer lives.

The presentation also examines the intersection of queer theory, biography, and fiction, drawing upon Virginia Woolf's ideas and Judith Butler's focus on the materialization of the body and its role in forming identities. It highlights the transformative potential of queer and trans bodies in creating alternative temporalities and narratives.

Galbraith's talk culminates in a discussion of queer counterpublics and world-building, as envisioned by Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner. This involves reimagining sexual culture beyond the heteronormative framework, with queer culture emerging as a space of self-cultivation and collective memory. The presentation underscores the dynamic, transformative nature of queer identities and narratives, challenging conventional understandings and opening new possibilities for queer literary and cultural analysis.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:23rd November 2023
Location:Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (reference number to be confirmed).