Situating itself in the crosshairs of critical whiteness studies, queer studies, and Black studies, this essay considers the literary production of the (poor) white trash subject in the intersection of two moments of racial upheaval—the civil rights era of the US South and the “focus on the family” during the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s—in which whiteness was under siege. Taking its cue from Toni Morrison's articulation of the white imaginary and W. E. B. Du Bois's history of the (Black) and white working class, this article looks at representations of queerness in Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina to (1) understand the ways in which poor whiteness solidifies through queer moments of “bad” sex; and (2) reveal the ways in which “bad sex” retards white subjectivity/progressivity.
White Trash and the Queer South: Doing Sex Badly in Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina
Jude Hayward-Jansen holds a PhD in English and a graduate certificate in advanced feminist studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Positioned at the intersections of queer and feminist studies, South African studies, and American/Black studies, Hayward-Jansen's book project, “Save Our Children: Queer Discourse Formation in the U.S. and South Africa, 1977–2010,” examines the role of queerness in literature and culture during the rise of the religious right in the United States and the collapse of apartheid in South Africa.
Jude Hayward-Jansen; White Trash and the Queer South: Doing Sex Badly in Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina. GLQ 1 October 2023; 29 (4): 477–500. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-10740469
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