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Questions for Weekly Discussions about Tyson’s Critical Theory Today - Week 8  

2018-02-28 12:04:47|  分类: +文论 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today: A User-friendly Guide. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2006. (洛伊丝·泰森:《当代批评理论实用指南》(第二版),赵国新等译。北京:外研社,2014)

Questions for Weekly Discussions about Tyson’s Critical Theory Today

Week 8: Queer Theory

1.  What is the difference between biological essentialism and social constructionism (Tyson 321)?

2.  How would you define a lesbian or gay identity (Tyson 323-6, 329-31)?

3.  When talking about sexual identity, Judith Butler (10, 23-4) argues that desire is culturally aligned with one’s sexed body, sexual practice, and gender traits as a norm (or otherwise as an anomaly). That is to say, there is no fundamentally natural/biological desire that “follows” from one’s body and determines one’s sexual behavior or gender traits. Any of these terms can form a signifying relationship with any other. Do you agree? Why/why not?

4.  What do you think of a narrative transvestite in a literary work (Tyson 333)?

5.  What is a poststructuralist view on queer theory, one that “displaces” or deconstructs the binary opposition between biological essentialism and social constructionism, or one that emphasizes fluidity and performance (Tyson 335)?

6.  If gender is not meant to be defined in the traditional sense of the term in Butler (11-2), in what way do we understand this new concept “under erasure” (in deconstruction)? Is it possible that Tyson (336-7) has misunderstood Butler’s notion of gender in the traditional sense of the term, in her analysis of William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily”? Explain.

7.  To conclude her point about three simplified studies on works by Faulkner, Whitman, and Morrison, Tyson maintains that

If these examples of queer criticism seem more slippery, more indefinite, and more complicated than the examples of lesbian and gay criticism cited earlier, keep in mind that it is the slippery, indefinite, and complicated quality of human sexuality that queer criticism’s deconstructive project tries to underscore. (338)

What are the slippery, indefinite, and therefore deconstructive elements in her analyses?

8.  What do you think of Tyson’s queer reading of the novel The Great Gatsby (342-53)?

9.  Is it logical for Tyson to argue that sexual transgression “sets the stage for a queer interpretation” (343), that Nick, the narrator of the novel, goes to New York City and stays there like gay soldiers having seen the city in George Chauncey’s study (348), or that the same details in the novel suggest both homosexual and then heterosexual overtones to Nick (348, 350)? Explain.

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