Post #10 Quare Theory

Johnson says that if gender (race, class, etc.) are performative as Butler says, then people actually perform them, and we can study those performances. Doing so will force us to recognize that performances are both constrained and enabled by flesh—by the concrete embodiment of the performers. This kind of study—taking account of both the discursive nature of performativity and the fleshy nature of performance—is what Johnson calls quare. Think about your own typical gender, class, and racial performances. How is your behavior or self-presentation limited and enabled by the concrete aspects of your physical embodiment?

Here is an example that I think we talked a little about obliquely two weeks ago in class. I was very nervous about how I should dress for my inauguration day. My anxiety had to do mainly with class performance and to some extent with gender performance. I lack the skills and knowledge to perform “upper-middle class” convincingly, and I feared the situation required me to try.

Are there times when you have anticipated or actually been in a situation where you felt you were at or near the limits of what you could perform (in terms of class, race, gender, etc.)? Where were you? What did it feel like to be there? What did you do? What happened? How might your experience look from the perspective of quare theory?

Continue reading