I am an adjunct lecturer in English at the City College of New York and a doctoral candidate in nineteenth-century British and American literature at the CUNY Graduate Center, where I’m writing a dissertation entitled “Hungry Reading: The Reparative Gothic in Tennyson and Melville.”
I am delighted and grateful and proud that my first inclusion in someone else’s acknowledges appears in the ever-splendid Roland Betancourt‘s fabulous article “Genre as Medium on YouTube: The Work of Grace Helbig” (Journal of Popular Culture 49.1, 2016). Thank you, Roland!
There’s a splendid review of Queer Victorian Families up on Review 19, and it singles out my chapter, “The Queer, Statistical Kinship of Tennyson and Melville,” for special praise:
[T]he most outstanding piece is Alec Magnet’s beautiful and melancholic reading of Tennyson’s In Memoriam alongside Melville’s Moby Dick. Both works, of course, have prompted queer theoretical readings as well as plenty of others. But in aiming to “demonstrate their affinity, their queer, archival, literary kinship, with each other while at the same time making themselves available to generations of queer readers” (191), Magnet’s reading stunningly exemplifies a return to what reading through a queer lens originally set out to do. Magnet recalls those moments in mainstream literature where the queer reader can quietly stumble upon and gain strength from deep connections that offer a “nourishing, reparative, queer kinship” (191).
Beautiful, stunning, and melancholic — that’s how I’ve always dreamt my writing would be described! I’m so grateful to Ardel Haefele-Thomas for these kind words. And to the book’s editors, Duc Dau and Shale Preston, for including my chapter and making it so much better.
The Writing Instructor‘s special issue on Eve Sedgwick’s “Queer and Now” is up on the internet, and it includes an article I co-wrote with T Meyerhoff, “Teaching/Feeling/Writing: A Theatrical Interlude on Affect, Performativity, and Plagiarism“! You should check it out!
It’s collected in the volume Queer Victorian Families: Curious Relations in Literature, edited by Duc Dau and Shale Preston, just published by Routledge.
There are still a couple of weeks to submit an abstract for the panel I’m co-chairing with Balaka Basu at NeMLA 2015, “Queer/Geek: Theorizing the Convergence of Fandom, Camp, and other Deviances.” Here’s the CFP:
46th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association
April 30 – May 3, 2015
The queer-, trans-, and geek-focused webcomic “Riot Nrrd” once joked about how disorienting it was to be at a geeky convention because there was no way to tell from the attendees’ appearance whether they were queer or just straight nerds. This confusion between identities points toward a much larger convergence of queer and geek cultures. Practices such as cosplay, fanfic (particularly slash), the foundation of homosocial communities (as with gamers) and other forms of geek/fan labor closely resemble those of camp, drag, and what Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick calls “reparative reading.” In fact, Sedgwick paves the way for this convergence with her suggestion that “queer” need not necessarily imply gay or lesbian but perhaps does fundamentally refer to shame, stigma, and practices of responding to those feelings with exuberant, performative adventures and deep attachment to cultural objects as resources of self-making and survival—especially in a world inimical to the people who do not conform to its expectations. Non mainstream sexual and gender expression, as well as creative experiments with post-human and other transformative identities or alter-egos, comprise important elements of various geek cultures. Meanwhile, the canard of the “fake geek girl” (like the pejorative “fag,” when applied to nerds and other outsiders in order to emasculate) reveals the deep strains of misogyny—as well as homophobia and white supremacy—that also run through geek culture. We seek papers that theorize queer and geek subcultures, identities, and practices with regard to their intersecting possibilities.
Please submit 300-500 word abstracts and a brief CV through the NeMLA website here: https://nemla.org/convention/2015/cfp.html#cfp15202
Thanks to Danica Savonick, Duncan Faherty, and Eric Lott for putting together such a wonderful event with Critical Karaoke!
The panel Meridith Kruse and I put together for NeMLA, “Wet Theory: Creative Writing as Affective Lever in Feminist and Queer Criticism,” was a wonderful experience. We lost a couple of presenters on the way, which made room for longer papers and an delightfully rich, convivial discussion during the Q&A. My one-time classmate and all-around fascinating person Balaka Basu asked some great questions about the teachability of fan-ishness in queer theory and the relationship between reparative reading and geekery more broadly.
My one regret was that I didn’t get to talk more with some of the people in the audience, especially the guy with the magnificent beard sitting house right and his companion. So consider this my NeMLA Missed Connections: If by any remote chance either of you ever sees this post, please click the owl on the right and get in touch!
I contributed the entry on shops to Wendy Martin’s All Things Dickinson: An Encyclopedia of Emily Dickinson’s World. ABC-CLIO’s imprint Greenwood Press published it a couple of months ago, and I’ve finally managed to get a page-scan of my article through ILL. You can read it here. This means that my first two official (albeit minor) academic publications are on shopping and drinking. Whee!
Searching for myself on Project MUSE to find my review of Drinking History, I discovered that a paper I gave at the inaugural C19 conference in 2010 was mentioned in ESQ’s “The Year in Conferences.” You have to log in to see the whole thing, but all it says about me is:
In “Camp Encyclopedias and Reparative Imaginings in Moby-Dick,” Alec Magnet used the reparative reading theories of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and the object relations theory of Melanie Klein to explore Ishmael’s “campy” descriptive exuberance in Moby-Dick. Ishmael’s “omniscient exhaustiveness” attempts to defer the void represented by the white whale, modeling vitality and appreciation despite the terror and death ever present on the Pequod.
My review of Andrew F. Smith’s Drinking History: Fifteen Turning Points in the Making of American Beverages has just come out in The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 111.2. The Register is one of the oldest historical journals in the U.S., and I’m excited to appear in it. Read on Project MUSE or as a PDF.