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Using James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time as a point of departure, Alison Reed engages the neoliberal bent in queer studies by highlighting the ways it unwittingly deploys racialized bodies as “spectacular markers of queerness,” the practice of employing race as theoretical fetish. Through what she names as a conflation of race and racism, Reed argues that (white) queer theory often undermines the eradication of institutionalized racism and, instead, buttresses the very oppressive structures it purports to undermine through its co-optation of civil rights strategies, discourses, and theories. Ultimately, Reed gestures toward alternative frames for sustained queer engagements with race, gender, and sexuality that address how racialized embodiment shapes and is shaped by interpersonal and institutional racism, refusing myths of a postracial state.

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