Yannik Thiem, Trans*Formative Philosophy: Queer, Ordinary, Intimate (Perspectives on Ethics)

Perspectives on Ethics

Trans*Formative Philosophy: Queer, Ordinary, Intimate

The “new normal” is a moving target these days. Visible representations of queer people and people of color are becoming more ordinary, but racism, sexism, and all kinds of phobic resentments and violence seem only to crop up in new and different shapes. In this presentation, I will explore how aesthetic practices generally inscribe norms, especially through advertising and the visual discourse that surrounds us and with which we interact in semi-conscious ways. Specifically, I am interested in how as queer bodies of color are given greater force and presence, it becomes often harder to grasp the structural persistence of whiteness as norm and goal.

Examining two commercials that develop “queer aesthetics” around gender, sex, race, and class, I will show that, perhaps counter-intuitively, the centering and privileging of whiteness is often also enshrined in our cultural and political imaginary exactly through the expansion of genderqueer gains and often particularly insidiously when the queer bodies made visible and celebrated as exceptional are queer bodies of color. As a counterpoint I will suggest that visceral expansions of ordinariness, which comprise intimacy and anonymity at the same time, may aid us in fashioning anti-racist queer and trans methods of exploring, learning, and collective world-making.

☛ please register here

Yannik Thiem
Columbia University

Mon, Jan 13, 2020
04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
200 Larkin