edited by Burkhard Scherer
Oxford et al.:
Peter Lang. 2010. (pbk.). 350 pp.
Queering Paradigms II: Interrogating Agendas
edited by Burkhard Scherer and Matthew Ball
Oxford et al.:
Peter Lang. 2011. (pbk.). 355 pp.
These two volumes are for the most part based on papers given at the Queering Paradigm conferences, which were held in Canterbury, UK, and Brisbane, Australia in 2009 and 2010. The contributions encompass a broad range of both topics and authors, many of whom are at an early stage in their academic careers. This makes for a welcome variety of voices, all orchestrated to the theme of 'queering paradigms'. In his introduction to the first volume, Religious-Studies scholar and editor Burkhard Scherer explains this theoretical framing. Well-rehearsed arguments, such as the challenge queer theorising poses to heteronormativity, meet points worth remembering (e.g., the non-conformist character of this way--or rather these ways--of thinking and the dangers inherent in a homonormative discourse of identity politics). The plurality of academic disciplines represented in the volume is stressed and also holds true for the second in the series. What binds the chapters together is the idea of 'queering paradigms,' succinctly defined by Scherer as "to challenge the hetero-/homonormative and gender binarist assumptions of any given academic discourse" (QP, page 2). In both volumes, the articles have been grouped into sections, and this arrangement allows us to get a grasp of the project: 'Queered Identities,' 'Queer Politics,' 'Queering Public Discourses,' 'Queering the Classroom,' 'Pop Queer,' and 'Queer Readings' are the sections comprising the first volume. It is not altogether clear why for some areas 'queer' has been chosen as an adjective, while for others it appears in its gerund form, yet this is a minor issue. The second volume, with sections called 'Interrogating Queer,' 'Queer Subjectivities,' 'Queer Spaces,' 'Queer Impacts,' 'Politics and Social Institutions,' and 'Policing, Violence and Justice,' seems to have grown a little tired of the term towards the end. Anyway, there is a lot of queer/ing going on in these books!
A closer look at the first volume reveals that a theoretically sophisticated piece on meanings of 'queer' sets the scene. This is appositely complemented by a chapter on lesbian performances of identity in and through everyday conversations. Burlesque bodies and transgender forms of self-identifications are further subjects dealt with in the identity section. Moving on to 'politics', we...