Staging a queer methodological provocation, this essay brings together Julia Kristeva’s abject and Michel Foucault’s genealogy, formulating the concept of “abject genealogy.” By doing so, it argues for pursuing combinations—of ideas, individuals, language, and methodologies—that do not necessarily “fit” with each other. In order to make this theoretical argument, the essay dwells on the figure of Kenneth Halliwell, the boyfriend and eventual murderer of the British playwright, Joe Orton. It examines archival materials in order to construct a microgenealogy of Halliwell, and of particular interest are the library books that Halliwell and Orton defaced in the early 1960s. This essay contends that these artworks dramatize the queer methodological provocation described above. In the spirit of Halliwell and Orton, this essay uses their abject genealogical collage method to think through the political and intellectual potential of the improper, queer, and conflictual juxtapositions their artistic practice enacts.

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