Zooming out of Chapter One

About a week ago I converted my chapter document into a word doc. Until now, I’ve only been engaging with the draft on through the text editor Emacs using Org Mode, an amazing format that allows you to collapse paragraphs and outlines to make writing cleaner and more navigable. As a result, however, I didn’t have a sense of how long my document was until I opened it in Word. Turns out I have 34 pages single spaced. And I still need to draft what I think will take up about one third of the chapter. Clearly, some revision and reorganization is necessary.

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Drafting the Intro

My past two posts have been clarifying the concept of “untouchable” and how it functions in relation to queerness. “Untouchable” denotes a state of suspended knowledge (about queer subjectivity and experience) that allows me to then turn to feeling and affect as epistemological methods. - First, I worked out a definition of “untouchable” as the raw data about queer subjectivity and experience that cannot be quantified. (later in the chapter, I will explain that in order to engage (or “interface”) with this data, we need abstraction and formalization. - Then, I looked for analogies of the “untouchable” in other fields (history and science) that display the impulse to verify, correct, or recover. In literary studies, this impulse for satisfaction is observed in “paranoid” or “suspicious” reading practices, which attempt to find “hidden meaning” in texts in a way that constrains inquiry.

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Untouchable Queerness

In my last post, I started to organize my thoughts on feminist distant reading. My focus was to work out how we might open up the way we interface with queerness as “untouchable,” as the raw data that cannot be quantified. The solution is to abstract and formalize so we can move or “interface” with it.

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Feminist Army II

It’s been difficult to stay focused during the pandemic. Only the past week have I been able to return to my dissertation work, and just to go over my reading notes taken in the weeks prior to march 16, when I left New York. I was working through a mountain of reading and research in response to a tweet I sent out about a month ago asking for examples of non-white-cis-male-het distant reading.

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Feminist Army

Over the past two weeks, I continue to interweave discussions on queer theory and dh methods, focusing on what they share—the sensitivity to textual objects, mediated by the critic’s self-consciousness of her distance from the object.

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Queerness as Data

So I’ve been taking the first stabs at the dissertation, trying to get down a draft of the foundational chapter, which is about methods. The goal is to weave together reading methods from specific strands of Queer Theory and the Digital Humanities, trying to fixate on what they share, which is a sensitivity to the critic’s distance from the textual subject, a relationality. I’m trying to map out this parallelism about the way that these theorists treat the objects of their study—as incapable of being fully figured—and the moment of convergence, which is the act of identification, I think.

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