Presentation by PhD Student Salla Peltonen (Åbo Akademi University): "Queer Love, Literature and Philosophy".
This paper discusses the ways in which Maggie Nelson’s novel The Argonauts (2015) through descriptions of love and kinship articulates moral-existential and queer-philosophical perspectives on the ’messiness’ of everyday life (Love 2016). The novel’s thematic of how ’queer’ and its “other”, the norm and the normal are intertwined in ‘the ordinary’, expresses how theoretical, political and ethical insights are rooted in a shared life. By bringing the ‘I-You’ relationship to the fore of feminist and queertheoretical concerns, the novel challenges established ‘epistemic habits’ of queer-feminist criticism as theorized over the last decades. The novel actualizes the question of how to understand the relationship between theory, philosophy and ‘ordinary language’ (Moi 2017) – a relationship that has been mainly discussed and defined as a matter of cultural critique and criticism (Butler 1990, Sedgwick 2003). In reading The Argonauts as a piece of queer-feminist criticism (Wiegman 2014), this paper argues that the novel presents an understanding of the queertheoretical, the ethical and the political in ways where the personal and moral-existential aspects of our lives become the point of departure for (queerfeminist) criticism and concerns.