Who's telling my life?: life writing and the re-signification of culturally contested (queer) subjectivities

Marsh, Victor (2014). Who's telling my life?: life writing and the re-signification of culturally contested (queer) subjectivities. In: Religious Genderings: The Socio-Spiritual [Dis-]Empowerment of Women and Men, Orange, CA, USA, (). 26-28 February, 2014.

Author Marsh, Victor
Title of paper Who's telling my life?: life writing and the re-signification of culturally contested (queer) subjectivities
Conference name Religious Genderings: The Socio-Spiritual [Dis-]Empowerment of Women and Men
Conference location Orange, CA, USA
Conference dates 26-28 February, 2014
Convener Department of Religious Studies, Chapman University
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Published abstract
Open Access Status
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
In Erich Fromm’s analysis, experience can enter awareness only under the condition that it can be perceived and ordered in terms of socially evolved categories, which work like a filter to determine the forms of awareness (Fromm 1960: 99). Religion (like its bedmates Medicine, the Law, and the Family) has tended to queer the relationship of marginalized subjectivities to its embedded heteronormative values, as it strives to drive a wedge between queer folk and their sexuality. Yet there is plenty of evidence that many queer lives are open to diverse bandwidths of ‘spiritual’ inquiry (as I will define it), beyond the heteronormative filters of the standard model.

I will discuss my research into the life and writings of the British expatriate writer Christopher Isherwood and probe the reasons behind the dismissive treatment of his religious life by the literary commentariat. I will also present extracts from my memoir, The Boy in the Yellow Dress, to demonstrate how the practice of life writing (memoir/ biography/ autobiography) can produce versions of subjectivity that are resistant to homophobic constructions, bypassing Fromm’s filter by drawing on sources of knowledge only liminally present in the socialized mind. Such praxis produces texts that multiply sites of political contestation (Halperin 1995: 28) with hostile discourses, working not only to ‘talk back’ to the culture (hooks 1990: 337) but to uncover and reclaim previously unrecognized knowledge resources, detoxified of the homophobia embedded in conventional religion and the pathologising discourses of psychological medicine.
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Authors prepub title: "Who's that, telling my story? Life-writing and the reconfiguration of culturally contested (queer) subjectivities".

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Communication and Arts Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 10 Apr 2014, 09:37:14 EST by Dr Victor Marsh on behalf of School of Communication and Arts