I initially started my internship at PinkNews in June while working on my Master’s dissertation.
Since that time, I have contributed over 400 articles to the site, including a feature on the history of equal marriage, a report on the 20 most shocking anti-gay events in Russia, and a comment piece on the importance of bisexual visibility day.
My most popular article reached 60,000 hits in the space of a single day, and was re-tweeted by Peter Tatchell and Stephen Fry.
I started as a freelance journalist in August, and currently cover both weekend and holiday periods.
The following Dissertation was submitted as part of my MA Sexual Dissidence in Literature and Culture course at the University of Sussex.
ABSTRACT: Intersectionality is the study of multiple, gridlocked forms of oppression across a wide array of subject-positions. Since its inception into queer and feminist theories, it has been deployed as a general thesis towards bringing together disenfranchised and marginalised groups under the rubric of their mutual emancipation. However, proposing neither a common solution, nor any doctrinal conclusions to this end, the study has hitherto failed to provide a sustainable model for political transformation.
In this series of interventions, I ask not why, but of how marginalised particulars may form that crucial foundation of solidarity they require. In this vein, my approach will be purely phenomenological. Through the study and instrumentation of Lacanian psychoanalysis, I question whether gaze and voice may emerge in this field in order to suture the untranslatable gridlocks between diverse and disparate intersections, asking in what sense our relation to these partial objects may very well hold the key to our understanding of race, sexuality and gender as categories of desire rather than of alienation.
Click here to access the Dissertation on Skydrive
A shadow haunts the world of western sexuality. It is a shadow with no organs, no bones, and no teeth. It is a darkened membrane – transparent and endless – but if you could pierce it, it might scream out. Today we reconcile this shadow under the symbolic mandate ‘Queer,’ but even with this symbol, the shadow is as murky and precarious as ever.
As Cathy J. Cohen argues on the lost radical potential of queer politics, “in its present form queer politics has not emerged as an encompassing challenge to systems of domination and oppression, especially those normalizing processes embedded in heteronormativity. ”And as Cindy Patton in her essay Tremble, Hetero Swine! furthermore reflects, “apparently, hetero swine do not tremble. Instead they arm themselves […] in opposition to what they understand to be a dominant culture in the grip of homosexual activists.” Thus, if it is indeed a shadow, the question remains as to whether this shadow is dense enough to be seen, or whether it is now so much “embedded” that it cannot distinguish itself from assimilationist politics and apolitical activism. In any case, exactly what does it mean for Queer to be ‘radical’ today?
In her essay entitled Purity and Danger, Mary Douglas famously wrote that dirt “is matter out of place.” Through examinations of Renaissance literature and culture we encounter two types of misplaced, alienated, or otherwise distorted materiality. The first is the inaccessible place of the Cartesian Subject, Cogito. As in Montaigne’s Apology for Raymond Sebond, the seminal question of the philosopher playing with his cat interrogates the very status of self-accountability: “who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me?” The second, along the lines of this “pastime,” is the interloping value enjoyment plays in the everyday contingency of one’s reality.
Alenka Zupančič, in this way, extends Douglas’ primary formula to also include Jouissance as a classification for out-of-place dirt: “In order for matter to become dirt, something more is needed.” In relation to the surplus-value entailed in comedy, she thus makes the lateral connection: “Enjoyment is somehow always enjoyment at someone’s expense, even if at first it doesn’t appear so. As in the classic example of being driven mad by someone’s cooking. They enjoy, of course, in the privacy of their kitchen, but since their enjoyment has a smell, they enjoy at their neighbour’s expense.”
The subtraction entailed by this neighbour’s “expense” should not go understated. Mutatis Mutandis, the pivotal relation of Montaigne’s enjoyed “pastime” can be framed in direct homologous relation to this model; alongside the displacement of subject-experience, what is also at stake is the very locus of surplus-enjoyment itself. What either subject, Montaigne or his cat, attempts to claim is authoritative identification with the activity’s implicit value; if the cat enjoys “more than” Montaigne, it is precisely at the expense of Montaigne’s psychic pre-eminence. The object at stake is the very ‘out of place’ kernel that subtracts the ‘human’ particular from the ‘non-human’ universal. Margaret Healy, writing on the Historicity of Renaissance bodily regimen, makes a succinct case for this traumatic material separatism: