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Dissertation Defense | No Progress: Queer Chronotopes in Late Twentieth Century Fiction

28 October 2022 | 10:00 - 11:00

This dissertation, by Andrés Ibarra Cordero, examines how a corpus of late twentieth-century novels convey literary representations of queer chronotopes. The analyses of this corpus are informed by the critical underpinning of scholars such as Carolyn Dinshaw (1999), Lee Edelman (2004), Heather Love (2007), and Elizabeth Freeman (2010).

I examine how my chosen literary narratives undermine normative views of how queer subjects identify over time, refusing hegemonic processes and rejecting liberal agendas of assimilation, as endorsed by post-Stonewall gay politics. Drawing on Bakhtin’s concept of the chronotope (1996), and Peeren’s critical contribution on Bakhtin’s theorisation (2008), I use the chronotope as the configuration of time-space coordinators which produces narrative meaning and articulate literary identities.

In my critical intervention to re-adapt Bakhtin’s concept, my thesis concludes that queer chronotopes destabilise cultural understandings of time’s linearity, chronology, progress, and reproductive futurity. In doing so, I further examine the productivity of specific cultural concepts, such as, “backwardness”, “coming-out”, “temporal drag”, and “decadence”.

These concepts highlight the chronotope’s capability to shape anachronistic subjectivities, modify genres, subvert traces from a historical past and its memories, and its ability to symbolise a transgressive worldview at odds with modernity’s progress. With their invocation of a regressive past, as a form of cultural memory, queer chronotopes unsettle progressive expectations of gay liberalism and inclusive agendas of equality and assimilation within current sexual politics.


Amsterdam, Netherlands
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