“The Crisis of Kinship: Queer Affiliations in the Sexual Economy of Slavery” reexamines the discourse of queer kinship in order to take up Sharon Holland's call that queer studies has yet to reckon with the institution of slavery. I consider how the crisis of the oedipal drama—namely, unknown parentage and incest—is foundational to the sexual economy of slavery. Rather than a taboo that finds heterosexual resolution, incest is a sexual construct of slavery that paradoxically enables the emergence of queer sexual and kinship affiliations. I ground my reading in the nineteenth-century short story “Le Mulâtre,” by the African American author Victor Séjour. “Le Mulâtre” takes me to unwieldy genealogies of kinship, incest, and same-sex desire. Here, I look to the sexual epistemologies of Vodou religious practices in Haiti; I engage pre-Freudian theories of Oedipus by Johann Jakob Bachofen, who situates Oedipus in the sexually promiscuous space of the swamp. In all, an examination of incest and miscegenation in slavery reveals a repressed racialization of the Oedipus complex.
Lauren Heintz; The Crisis of Kinship: Queer Affiliations in the Sexual Economy of Slavery. GLQ 1 April 2017; 23 (2): 221–246. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-3750437
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