Heroic Desire: Lesbian Identity and Cultural Space
"Lesbians are adept at constructing survival strategies. Our being in this world exacts a cost, and our identities mutate to incorporate and resist that cost. The reality of our world is our relentless demand for presence, an occupation of space which we have colonized for ourselves, in the name of a configuration of desires we call 'lesbian', -- the more reflective we can become about these tactics, the more powerful is our rhetoric of existence".
This book is concerned with the ways contemporary lesbians have taken up imaginative and material space. It describes the mechanics of presence, how modern lesbians have produced a discursive space which offers a refutation to the closet. Identities are produced, expressed, and authenticated by and through space. Understanding "real" and metaphorical spatial structures helps us to discover new sites of presence and resistance. Some famous spaces, such as New York, Paris, and Berlin, have been constitutive of modern gay and lesbian identities. Social spaces teach us something about the relations of domination and subordination around us, and we have seen recently in that struggle "to be", a growing politics of location and locatedness.
Space is also taken imaginatively. Our narratives, which have become moral and political handbooks, provide role models for building and consolidating identities and communities. By processes of interpretation, drawing from literary and cultural theory, the author displays ways in
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Is it possible that underlying the refusal to name the subject (of knowledge and
politics) is a utopian wish for a full, intact, organic experience of self and other? [
my italics] By choosing to consolidate around the rubric of 'queer', young activists
This present is in an important sense utopian: utopian desires attempt to change
the present by integrating possible futures; the ... Utopias are not fixed entities or
static spaces; they generate utopian thinking, or speculations, the reader's own ...
Utopian desires lean into potential futures, and in doing so those futures
elaborate the present and create moments of transition. For the lesbian to put
herself into the present is a utopian act, and that present constantly moves
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