epilogue
HAUNTED BY THE 1990S:
QUEER THEORY’S AFFECTIVE HISTORIES
Instead of avoiding the failure of Queer Studies’ field imagi-
naries, Disturbing Attachments has instead sought to pursue
the insights to which failure might lead. This has required a
certain respect for my object. Not “respect” in the sense of cel-
ebrating Genet, excusing him, or remaining convinced of his
essential goodness, but in the far different sense of being will-
ing to pursue his wily and sometimes contradictory affective
motivations, the most apparently irredeemable aspects of his
relations, and the disappointments inherent in even his most
oppositional political coalitions. Disturbing Attachments has
demonstrated that politically “bad” relations and modes of at-
tachment, such as pederasty and racial fetishism, may generate
surprising theoretical and historical insights, though these can-
not be counted on to reinforce Queer Studies’ field imaginaries.
It has demonstrated that politically “good” queer objects, such
as political coalition and uninstitutionalized relations, merit a
rich historicization and careful analysis that will, in turn, in-
evitably disturb the utopian aspirations Queer Studies brings
to them. Since one way of redeeming what we find disturbing
or problematic is through a developmental progress narrative
(which, perhaps not incidentally, is the canonical temporal-
ity of the single-­ a uthor study), I have sought to theorize the
multiple and polyphonic temporalities of the erotic and of po-
litical activism. While I have argued that Genet’s “queerness”
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