Hand-wringing conversations about queer theory, its continued viability, its expiration date, and its applicability to a range of subjects and objects have been at the heart of the field since its inception in the early 1990s. This essay argues that, fundamentally, queer (as we continue to discuss the term) is an institutional formation, which occasionally and hubristically imagines its reach in other areas, both touching and being touched by “the real.” Thinking with and through the work of José Esteban Muñoz, whose loss has created a rupture in our utopian impulses, this essay also reimagines some of the disciplinary desires—the fundamentals—as well as the reparative relations his being in the world forged.

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