Queer adaptation

Authored by: Pamela Demory

The Routledge Companion To Adaptation

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138915404
eBook ISBN: 9781315690254
Adobe ISBN:


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Queer is often used as a handy umbrella term for LGBT identity (as an adjective or noun), but it is also a way of seeing, a way of doing, and a way of being (that is, a verb). In its broadest interpretation, queer denotes “whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant” (Halperin 1995: 62; emphasis in original), but particularly whatever is at odds with normative sexuality and gender identity. And, because sexuality and gender identity are fundamental qualities of being human, queerness has far-reaching implications. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1991: 1) has argued that we cannot understand “virtually any aspect of modern Western culture” unless we also understand how homosexuality and heterosexuality have been constituted and reproduced in our cultural texts. Queer rhetoric scholars Jonathan Alexander and David L. Wallace (2009: 301) argue that “the power of queerness extends beyond exposing and challenging heteronormativity”; queerness “helps us see important connections between our personal stories and the stories that our culture tells about intimacy, identity, and connection” (2009: 303). If, as adaptation scholars, we adopt “the power of queerness,” we might identify how adaptation, similarly, both challenges heteronormativity and connects personal and cultural stories about identity.

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