Introduction: What Can Be Queer and What Can Queer Be?



This heterogeneous issue of InterAlia works hard to stretch the meaning of queer in unexpected ways. While it includes the Spanish translations of seminal queer studies essays by Lee Edelman and David M. Halperin, it also contemplates the queerness of the figure of the smoker, the music made by an egg slicer, the adult who refuses to renounce childhood, the talking pine tree that spins a melodramatic tale of the Weimar Republic, and the Montana-born writer who learned her immigrant husband’s language – Ukrainian – well enough to be recognized as a poet in Ukraine, then came out as a lesbian, and went on to publish the first American bestseller about gay men. This issue of InterAlia also worries about the condition and prospects of queer studies in various places, and about the commodification of queer identities as a consequence of feeding preferred gender pronouns and other personal data into the global information economy. Finally, this issue probes the perennial question of the apparent absence of a ground for community among self-identified queers, who have nothing in common but their singular desire. What, ask the contributors to this issue, can queer be/be queer politically, philosophically, aesthetically?