Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity

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NYU Press, Nov 1, 2009 - Social Science - 224 pages
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The LGBT agenda for too long has been dominated by pragmatic issues like same-sex marriage and gays in the military. It has been stifled by this myopic focus on the present, which is short-sighted and assimilationist.

Cruising Utopia seeks to break the present stagnancy by cruising ahead. Drawing on the work of Ernst Bloch, José Esteban Muñoz recalls the queer past for guidance in presaging its future. He considers the work of seminal artists and writers such as Andy Warhol, LeRoi Jones, Frank O’Hara, Ray Johnson, Fred Herko, Samuel Delany, and Elizabeth Bishop, alongside contemporary performance and visual artists like Dynasty Handbag, My Barbarian, Luke Dowd, Tony Just, and Kevin McCarty in order to decipher the anticipatory illumination of art and its uncanny ability to open windows to the future.

In a startling repudiation of what the LGBT movement has held dear, Muñoz contends that queerness is instead a futurity bound phenomenon, a "not yet here" that critically engages pragmatic presentism. Part manifesto, part love-letter to the past and the future, Cruising Utopia argues that the here and now are not enough and issues an urgent call for the revivification of the queer political imagination.


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Great academic work recovering past and future horizons of queer ways of being.


Feeling Utopia
Utopian Hermeneutics in the Face of Gay Pragmatism
Utopian Longings Queer Memories
Sexual AvantGardes and the Performance of Utopia
Approaching Kevin Aviance
LeRoi JonesAmiri Baraka Radical Black Traditions and Queer Futurity
Color illustrations
Queers Punks and the Utopian Performative
Queer Utopian Art and the Aesthetic Dimension
Fred Herkos Incandescent Illumination
Queer Failure Queer Virtuosity
Take Ecstasy with Me
About the Author

Ray Johnson Jill Johnston and Queer Intermedia as System

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About the author (2009)

José Esteban Muñoz (1967–2013) was Professor and Chair of Performance Studies at New York University. His works include Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (1999), Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (2009), as well as the forthcoming The Sense of Brown. He was co-editor of Pop Out: Queer Warhol (1996) and Everynight Life: Culture and Dance in Latin/o America (1997) and founding co-editor of the Sexual Cultures series at NYU Press.

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