HANDOUT ON QUEER THEORY: EVE KOSOFSKY SEDGWICK. Assignment for next time. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Introduction: Axiomatic,” Epistemology of. Epistemology of the Closet is a book published in by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, who is considered one of the founders of queer studies. In Epistemology of. Epistemology of the closct / Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, p. cm. Includes . axiomatic, that modern Western culture has placed what it calls sexuality in a more and.

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Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Introduction: Axiomatic,” Epistemology of the Closet Berkeley: U of California Press, In her second paragraph, Sedgwick insists on the “internal incoherence and mutual contradiction” of “commonsense views” i. Why does Sedgwick take the trouble to make this point, fve point out such contradictions?

Does she think that the contradictions work to weaken or strengthen the hegemony of homophobia? As you go through the rest of Evee essay, look to see how she illustrates and illuminates the contradictions within homophobic and indeed all hegemonic discourses.

It will help to keep in mind Freud’s notion of “kettle logic,” which he develops in The Interpretation of Dreams.

Eve Sedgwick, “Axiomatic” by Giovanna Pompele on Prezi

As you may recall, Freud, in describing the contradictory logic of dreams, turns to a funny little story about a man, his neighbor, and the neighbor’s kettle:. On pagesSedgwick spends a lot of time talking about silence and ignorance–topics that obviously bear on the experience of being closeted. Her discussion of ignorance is especially provocative. Among other things, she says:.


Like Judith Butler, Sedgwick draws on a distinction between “constantive” utterances and “performantive” ones. We’ve seen this sedwgick before; but it’s well worth reviewing:. Now, as you’ll recall, Butler uses this distinction to analyze statements like “I am a man” or “I am a lesbian,” insisting that such statements, which might appear to be “constantives,” are really “performatives” through and through.

Her main interest lies not in identifying particular statements as constantive or performative. What she seeks to aixomatic, I feel, is to analyze the “performative effects” of a wide range of statements–some of which are homophobic and some of which are anti-homophobic.

Why is she so concerned with these effects? And how is that concern related to her original point about the contradictions in homophobic, anti-gay ideologies?

Throughout this introduction, Sedgwick refers to the debate between “essentialist” and “constructivist” views of homosexual identity or “definition. Which side is the “nature” side, the “essentialist” or the “constructivist”?

Now, where does Dollimore stand in the “nature-versus-nurture debate”? And why, finally, does Sedgwick want to avoid the debate entirely? Is her position on this issue, which she states as her fourth axiom, at all unexpected? What did you make of her reasons for taking that position?


Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Judith Butler showed me the transformative power of the word queer

Did you find her reasoning persuasive, frustrating–or both? In thinking about sedfwick one, remember Joan Scott’s claim that the “difference-versus-equlity” debate puts feminists in an “impossible position. You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t–in hot water no matter what you say.

What does Sedgwick have to say about the relationships among and between scholars mainly interested in gender and scholars mainly interested in sexuality?

What does she say about relationships between lesbians and gay sedgwcik Why does she refuse to identify queer studies with womens’ studies, and the identities of gay men with those of lesbians?

Epistemology of the Closet – Wikipedia

Is she afraid of feminism, bored by lesbians? What’s axiomaitc with this? In her sixth axiom, Sedgwick addresses the question of the canon. Were you surprised by her response to this question?

How do you think her response has been informed and influenced by her reading of writers like Foucault and Derrida?

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