Indiana University Bloomington

Eve Sedgwick's Epistemology of the Closet,

Thirty Years On

When Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Epistemology of the Closet was published in 1990, it was clear right away that it was not yet another book about nineteenth-century literature. This was not criticism as usual. Sedgwick shifts the entire analytic frame and thereby brings to light what had remained unseen in the well-known works she studies. This shift, she writes, consists in putting “a critical analysis of modern homo/heterosexual definition” at the center of her project. The book soon became a landmark in the study of gender and sexuality and helped found queer theory.

Thirty years later, we return to the book to examine the theoretical work it performs and to learn from its movements of thought. The weekly reading group does an intensive study of the book and related writings by Sedgwick. Its work culminates in a symposium, on April 17-18, devoted to the queer legacies of Sedgwick’s work.

 


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