Synopses & Reviews
Time Binds is a powerful argument that temporal and sexual dissonance are intertwined, and that the writing of history can be both embodied and erotic. Challenging queer theoryandrsquo;s recent emphasis on loss and trauma, Elizabeth Freeman foregrounds bodily pleasure in the experience and representation of time as she interprets an eclectic archive of queer literature, film, video, and art. She examines work by visual artists who emerged in a commodified, andldquo;postfeminist,andrdquo; and andldquo;postgayandrdquo; world. Yet they do not fully accept the dissipation of political and critical power implied by the idea that various political and social battles have been won and are now consigned to the past. By privileging temporal gaps and narrative detours in their work, these artists suggest ways of putting the past into meaningful, transformative relation with the present. Such andldquo;queer asynchroniesandrdquo; provide opportunities for rethinking historical consciousness in erotic terms, thereby countering the methods of traditional and Marxist historiography. Central to Freemanandrsquo;s argument are the concepts of chrononormativity, the use of time to organize individual human bodies toward maximum productivity; temporal drag, the visceral pull of the past on the supposedly revolutionary present; and erotohistoriography, the conscious use of the body as a channel for and means of understanding the past. Time Binds emphasizes the critique of temporality and history as crucial to queer politics.
andldquo;Blazing and brilliant. Elizabeth Freeman forges claims with texture, rigor, relevance, and grace, giving her masterful, original study a voice of unusual tenderness and depth. Clearly, Freeman stands at the forefront of where queer theory needs to go: into the strangeness, the utter queerness, lying inside the beats of time.andrdquo;andmdash;Kathryn Bond Stockton, author of The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century
andldquo;Despite the queer academyandrsquo;s distance from corporeality and the promotion of more transcendental approaches to historiography, Freeman boldly outlines history as an erotic, embodied experience. . . . Without cleansing their hands of the complicatedness of historyandrsquo;s racial legacies, these theorists explore the messiness of queerness. Freemanandrsquo;s book is centered on queer time and queer historyandrsquo;s exciting and, at times, (corporeally) violent moments. . . . Fierce indeed.andrdquo;
andldquo;Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories offers a valuable resource for students and teachers of philosophy, queer theory, feminism, art history, and gender studies. Freeman's critiques are well founded in relation to contemporary literary theory, and she applies these convincingly to her chosen texts. Freeman's book is timely in the context of an information age which privileges the moving visual image as indisputable evidence. The creative works she examines (especially the films and videos) offer an alternative viewpoint which suggests we need to distrust our eyes, re-examine what we consider natural and normal, and continue to rewrite and recreate our history.andrdquo;
andldquo;[A] fascinating experiment in time travel through non-normative temporalities.andrdquo;
andldquo;In the end, Freeman offers us a queer future in which close reading remains both a practice and a pleasure we might repurpose for our own sexualandndash;textual encounters, as well as a method of doing queer history through which we are able to feel in touch with, and touch, the social. For making pining for pleasurable encounters with the past, lingering over texts and bodies, and andlsquo;lesbianandrsquo; sex hot again in a andlsquo;new nowandrsquo; kind of way, Freemanandrsquo;s book rightly demands we take pause via the sensory, and the sensual, to feel the queerness in this.andrdquo;
andldquo;Freemanandrsquo;s thinking gives further consistency to queer theoryandrsquo;s conceptual shift from the question of queerness as a psychological drive or an identity to the concept of queer as performance. The main question this book poses is how erotic relations and bodily acts are able to unbind time and history from capitalismandrsquo;s regulated tempos in creative ways, unbinding thus our bodies from regulating structures like gender, race, class, and sexual identity themselves as inevitable markers of historical determination.andrdquo;
andldquo;In addition to elegant and radical close readings, Time Binds gives us a way to think about pleasure and temporality in combination. . . . Time Binds provides us with close readings of experimental works of film and literature while simultaneously exposing the political stakes of temporality by foregrounding pleasure and the body on both an individual and collective level.andrdquo;
andldquo;Time Binds is an elegant book bristling with intelligence and wit. A fascinating blend of the familiar and the new, it will have a major hand in opening up queer theory, to its own repressed, to its own dreams, to take its chances.andrdquo;andmdash;Carolyn Dinshaw, author of Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern
andldquo;Positive but not celebratory, exploratory but rigorous, grounded in the messy referentiality of bodies and texts but compellingly speculative, Time Binds
is a pathbreaking book that will have multifarious impacts upon queer and feminist studies.andrdquo;
andquot;Time Binds is perhaps the most compelling argument for the ways non-normative relationships with time and history can be particularly generative for queer politics.andquot;and#160;
A work of queer theory focusing on the relationship between pleasure and time.
By foregrounding bodily pleasure in the experience of time and its representation in queer literature, film, video, and art, Elizabeth Freeman challenges queer theory s recent emphasis on loss and trauma.
About the Author
Elizabeth Freeman is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of The Wedding Complex: Forms of Belonging in Modern American Culture, also published by Duke University Press.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Queer and Not Now 1
1. Junk Inheritances, Bad Timing: Familial Arrhythmia in Three Working-Class Dyke Narratives 21
2. Deep Lez: Temporal Drag and the Specters of Feminism 59
3. Time Binds, or, Erotohistoriography 95
4. Turn the Beat Around: Sadomasochism, Temporality, History 137
Appendix: Distributors for Films and Videos 175