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Queer Kinship, Queer Eugenics: Edith Lees Ellis, Reproductive Futurity, and Sexual Citizenship

01 Jan 2014-Feminist Formations (The Johns Hopkins University Press)-Vol. 26, Iss: 3, pp 122-146
TL;DR: The authors examined early twentieth-century discourses of reproduction, kinship, and citizenship through the lenses of feminist geopolitics and queer temporality, and illustrated how Ellis's articulations of alternative kinships and queer eugenics might move current work in queer theory to consider the embedded structure of racial hierarchies in discussions of futurity, and the relationship of normative and oppositional kinship structures to the geopolitical.
Abstract: Edith Lees Ellis, now remembered most for her marriage to sexologist Havelock Ellis, produced a suite of political essays and fiction at the turn of the twentieth century that explored questions of racial citizenship, reproductive politics, and women’s rights through the discourse of eugenics. Reading Ellis’s 1906 My Cornish Neighbours in relation to current debates surrounding queer theory reveals an important relationship between the history of eugenics and current queer theories of futurity and abjection. By examining early twentieth-century discourses of reproduction, kinship, and citizenship through the lenses of feminist geopolitics and queer temporality, the article illustrates how Ellis’s articulations of alternative kinships and queer eugenics might move current work in queer theory to consider the embedded structure of racial hierarchies in discussions of futurity, and the relationship of normative and oppositional kinship structures to the geopolitical.
Citations
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Journal Article
TL;DR: Havelock Ellis as discussed by the authors investigated the relationship between love and pain and concluded that pain is a powerful sexual stimulant under certain abnormal circumstances; that it does so because pain is the most powerful means of arousing emotion; and that anger and fear are the two emotions most intimately associated with fear, through which the process of natural selection largely works.
Abstract: an impulse of evacuation and also of its being merely a reproductive impulse. Then Moll's dual definition of the impulses of detumescence and of contvacation are considered, especially in relation to Darwin's sexual selection. Finally the author favours a definition of the sexual impulse as consisting of the impulses of tumescence and detumescence, the latter being a powerful instinct but dependent on the former, and it in turn being closely associated with violent motion such as fighting, or vigorous mocion such as dancing or athletics. The argument is fortified by a wealth of examples taken from animal life and from the primitive races, the collection of which evinces a wide reading and a philosophic grasp of the subject. The second essay treats of the relation of love to pain. Mr. Havelock Ellis sets himself the task to answer the questions?why is it that love inflicts, and even seeks to inflict, pain ? Why is it that love suffers pain, and even seeks to suffer it? This leads directly to the consideration of the essential phenomena of courtship in the animal world generally ; next, passing from the normal to the abnormal, he discusses varieties of algolagnia such as sadism, masochism and flagellation. His conclusions are that pain, especially the mental representation of pain, may act as a powerful sexual stimulant under certain abnormal circumstances; that it does so because pain is the most powerful means of arousing emotion ; that anger and fear are the two emotions most intimately associated with fear, and that they are the fundamental animal emotions on the psychic side, through which the process of natural selection largely works. In the third essay the sexual impulse in women is discussed. The relationship of marriage, celibacy and divorce to suicide in the two sexes shows that in men the frequency of suicide increases progressively throughout life ; in women there is a marked diminution after thirty, i.e., when the period of the most intense sexual emotion has been passed, followed by another increase in frequency during the climacteric period from forty to fifty years. Marriage appears, contrary to the common belief, to be less of a protection against suicide amongst women than men, and divorced women are less liable than

275 citations

Book
04 Sep 2011

1 citations

References
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Book
01 Jan 2004
TL;DR: Lee Edelman as discussed by the authors argues that the child, understood as innocence in need of protection, represents the possibility of the future against which the queer is positioned as the embodiment of a relentlessly narcissistic, antisocial, and future-negating drive.
Abstract: In this searing polemic, Lee Edelman outlines a radically uncompromising new ethics of queer theory. His main target is the all-pervasive figure of the child, which he reads as the linchpin of our universal politics of “reproductive futurism.” Edelman argues that the child, understood as innocence in need of protection, represents the possibility of the future against which the queer is positioned as the embodiment of a relentlessly narcissistic, antisocial, and future-negating drive. He boldly insists that the efficacy of queerness lies in its very willingness to embrace this refusal of the social and political order. In No Future , Edelman urges queers to abandon the stance of accommodation and accede to their status as figures for the force of a negativity that he links with irony, jouissance , and, ultimately, the death drive itself. Closely engaging with literary texts, Edelman makes a compelling case for imagining Scrooge without Tiny Tim and Silas Marner without little Eppie. Looking to Alfred Hitchcock’s films, he embraces two of the director’s most notorious creations: the sadistic Leonard of North by Northwest , who steps on the hand that holds the couple precariously above the abyss, and the terrifying title figures of The Birds , with their predilection for children. Edelman enlarges the reach of contemporary psychoanalytic theory as he brings it to bear not only on works of literature and film but also on such current political flashpoints as gay marriage and gay parenting. Throwing down the theoretical gauntlet, No Future reimagines queerness with a passion certain to spark an equally impassioned debate among its readers.

1,974 citations

Book
01 Sep 2009
TL;DR: The Utopian Hermeneutics in the Face of Gay Pragmatism as mentioned in this paper has been studied in the context of queerness as Horizon, a vision of the future in which the future is in the present.
Abstract: Acknowledgments Introduction: Feeling Utopia1 Queerness as Horizon: Utopian Hermeneutics in the Face of Gay Pragmatism2 Ghosts of Public Sex: Utopian Longings, Queer Memories 3 The Future Is in the Present: Sexual Avant-Gardes and the Performance of Utopia4 Gesture, Ephemera, and Queer Feeling: Approaching Kevin Aviance5 Cruising the Toilet: LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Radical Black Traditions, and Queer Futurity6 Stages: Queers, Punks, and the Utopian Performative 7 Utopia's Seating Chart: Ray Johnson, Jill Johnston, and Queer Intermedia as System8 Just Like Heaven: Queer Utopian Art and the Aesthetic Dimension9 A Jete Out the Window: Fred Herko's Incandescent Illumination 10 After Jack: Queer Failure, Queer Virtuosity Conclusion: "Take Ecstasy with Me"Notes Bibliography Index About the Author

1,834 citations


"Queer Kinship, Queer Eugenics: Edit..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Similarly, José Esteban Muñoz (2009) points to the unarticulated whiteness endemic to Edelman’s polemic: “Theories of queer temporality that fail to factor in the relational relevance of race or class merely reproduce a crypto-universal white gay subject that is weirdly atemporal—which is to say a subject whose time is a restricted and restricting hollowed-out present free of the need for the challenge of imagining a futurity that exists beyond the self or the here and now” (94)....

    [...]

  • ...—José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia (2009) What happens when we think about early twentieth-century race, empire, gender, and sexuality through the lens of twenty-first-century queer theories of subjectivity?...

    [...]

  • ...Similarly, José Esteban Muñoz (2009) points to the unarticulated whiteness endemic to Edelman’s polemic: “Theories of queer temporality that fail to factor in the relational relevance of race or class merely reproduce a crypto-universal white gay subject that is weirdly atemporal—which is to say a…...

    [...]

Book
01 Jan 1901
TL;DR: In this article, a bookseller in London was prosecuted by the Commissioners of Police for the sale of vol. i, which it was alleged was issued with the intent to corrupt the morals of the public.
Abstract: ?Sexual Inversion. Pp. xvii., 204. London: The University Press. 1897. Vol.11.?The Evolution of Modesty. The Phenomena of Sexual Periodicity. Ante-Erotism. Pp. vii., 313. Leipzig: The University Press, Limited. Philadelphia: The F. A. Davis Company. 1900. Some interest out of the ordinary attaches to this work, because of an unwise prosecution of a bookseller in London by the Commissioners of Police for the sale of vol. i., which it was alleged was issued with the intent to corrupt the morals of the

504 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: Havelock Ellis as discussed by the authors investigated the relationship between love and pain and concluded that pain is a powerful sexual stimulant under certain abnormal circumstances; that it does so because pain is the most powerful means of arousing emotion; and that anger and fear are the two emotions most intimately associated with fear, through which the process of natural selection largely works.
Abstract: an impulse of evacuation and also of its being merely a reproductive impulse. Then Moll's dual definition of the impulses of detumescence and of contvacation are considered, especially in relation to Darwin's sexual selection. Finally the author favours a definition of the sexual impulse as consisting of the impulses of tumescence and detumescence, the latter being a powerful instinct but dependent on the former, and it in turn being closely associated with violent motion such as fighting, or vigorous mocion such as dancing or athletics. The argument is fortified by a wealth of examples taken from animal life and from the primitive races, the collection of which evinces a wide reading and a philosophic grasp of the subject. The second essay treats of the relation of love to pain. Mr. Havelock Ellis sets himself the task to answer the questions?why is it that love inflicts, and even seeks to inflict, pain ? Why is it that love suffers pain, and even seeks to suffer it? This leads directly to the consideration of the essential phenomena of courtship in the animal world generally ; next, passing from the normal to the abnormal, he discusses varieties of algolagnia such as sadism, masochism and flagellation. His conclusions are that pain, especially the mental representation of pain, may act as a powerful sexual stimulant under certain abnormal circumstances; that it does so because pain is the most powerful means of arousing emotion ; that anger and fear are the two emotions most intimately associated with fear, and that they are the fundamental animal emotions on the psychic side, through which the process of natural selection largely works. In the third essay the sexual impulse in women is discussed. The relationship of marriage, celibacy and divorce to suicide in the two sexes shows that in men the frequency of suicide increases progressively throughout life ; in women there is a marked diminution after thirty, i.e., when the period of the most intense sexual emotion has been passed, followed by another increase in frequency during the climacteric period from forty to fifty years. Marriage appears, contrary to the common belief, to be less of a protection against suicide amongst women than men, and divorced women are less liable than

275 citations