Queer Phenomenology: 06/10/11
>It's confession time. I like to read books on theory, philosophy and semantics for fun. One of my recent fun reads (and taken off my lengthy wishlist) was Queer Phenomenology by Sara Ahmed. Since I read this book for fun over a three day weekend, this will be an informal post only and not anything meant to be construed as academic.
The cover image of Queer Phenomenology explains quite succinctly what the book is about. Phenomenology is the study of structures and space from first person point of view. It is related to other studies such as ontology and epistemology. So it's the why is this space the way it is and how does it affect me or more generally people in the space.
Sara Ahmed's four chapter book starts with a dining room scene with a table and chair and asks the questions: what does it mean to be oriented? What does it mean to be sexually oriented? What does it mean then to queer? Is it disorientation?
From a casual reader's point of view, the first chapter was fascinating. Looking at a spatial set up often taken for granted, even if the decor may differ from room to room, and applying it to the language of sexual identity was mind blowing. But as the book progressed and the same room and the same table and chair were reevaluated over and over, I began to want something more. I wanted analysis of different rooms, or different interpretations of what a dining room space is or even just a table and chair. I wanted some examples of queer space (if there is such a thing) or be challenged into imagining such a thing.
So for me, the book was a good starting point. I noted down some of the more interesting sounding references and have added them to my wishlist. I hope to get to them as I progress through that list.