Indifference to Difference: On Queer Universalism

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9780816695928: Indifference to Difference: On Queer Universalism
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Indifference to Difference organizes around Alain Badiou’s suggestion that, in the face of increasing claims of identitarian specificity, one might consider the politics and practice of being indifferent to difference. Such a politics would be based on the superabundance of desire and its inability to settle into identity. Madhavi Menon shows that if we turn to another kind of universalism—not one that insists we are all different but one that recognizes we are all similar in our powerlessness to contain desire—then difference no longer becomes the focus of our identity.

Instead, we enter the worlds of desire. Following up on ideas of sameness and difference that have animated queer theory, Menon argues that what is most queer about indifference is not that it gives us queerness as an identity but that it is able to change queerness into a resistance of ontology. Firmly committed to the detours of desire, queer universalism evades identity.

This polemical book demonstrates that queerness is the condition within which we labor. Our desires are not ours to be owned; they are indifferent to our differences.


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About the Author:

Madhavi Menon is professor of English at Ashoka University. She is the author of Wanton Words: Rhetoric and Sexuality in English Renaissance Drama; Unhistorical Shakespeare: Queer Theory in Shakespearean Literature and Film; and editor of Shakesqueer: A Queer Companion to the Complete Works of Shakespeare.

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"Madhavi Menon has written an exhilarating manifesto. The tough-minded courage of Menon's intervention is one of this book's great strengths; the fierce intelligence that shapes her arguments is another. Indifference to Difference pursues a supple, peripatetic, and deeply principled methodology, informed by a nuanced theoretical acumen that declares itself at every turn."—Kathryn Schwarz, Vanderbilt University

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