Nature's Queer Performativity

Nature's Queer Performativity karen barad "Acts against nature"--what beastly images are conjured by this phrase? When "acts against nature" are committed, the crimes are of no small measure. Moral indignation is oozing forth, like amoebas through Texas soil, and lives are at stake (maybe literally).1 What kinds of acts against nature inspire moral outrage? Queer pleasures for sure, even some forms of heterosexual sex, and an assortment of other human practices. Clearly, the nature/culture divide is at issue and at stake, but the logic that tries to hold it in place is quite perverse. On one hand, it is clear that humans are understood to be the actors, the enactors of these "acts against nature." The sense of exteriority is absolute: the crime is against Nature herself, against all that is natural. Nature is the victim, the victimized, the wronged. At the same time, humans who commit "acts against nature" are said to be acting like animals. In other words, the "perpetrator" is seen as damaging nature from the outside, yet at the same time is reviled for becoming part of Nature. Bestiality is surely both a spoken and an unspoken infraction here, but the real crime is the breach of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences University of Nebraska Press

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
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Copyright © University of Nebraska Press
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1938-8020
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Abstract

karen barad "Acts against nature"--what beastly images are conjured by this phrase? When "acts against nature" are committed, the crimes are of no small measure. Moral indignation is oozing forth, like amoebas through Texas soil, and lives are at stake (maybe literally).1 What kinds of acts against nature inspire moral outrage? Queer pleasures for sure, even some forms of heterosexual sex, and an assortment of other human practices. Clearly, the nature/culture divide is at issue and at stake, but the logic that tries to hold it in place is quite perverse. On one hand, it is clear that humans are understood to be the actors, the enactors of these "acts against nature." The sense of exteriority is absolute: the crime is against Nature herself, against all that is natural. Nature is the victim, the victimized, the wronged. At the same time, humans who commit "acts against nature" are said to be acting like animals. In other words, the "perpetrator" is seen as damaging nature from the outside, yet at the same time is reviled for becoming part of Nature. Bestiality is surely both a spoken and an unspoken infraction here, but the real crime is the breach of

Journal

Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: May 6, 2011

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