Queer Eye for a Commie Person: Toward a Queer Left Liberation

Book review of De-centering Queer Theory: Communist Sexuality in the Flow During and After the Cold War by Bogdan Popa

Has queer theory run out of steam? Amid global rising fascism, planetary refugee crises, and crumbling US empire, queer theory is struggling to find a point of intervention in global issues because its first emergence was in 1990s North American anglophone academia. Prominent queer theorists David Eng and Jasbir Puar recently edited a collection foregrounding the future of queer theory: the reconnection between queer theory, materialism, and Marxisms. 1 Their point is well-taken, but the call for reconsidering Marxisms is not a new venture. Queer Marxist critiques of post-structuralism and post-modernism have always haunted queer theory, operating under the shadow of the queer theory proper that deconstructs everything. 2 This systematic neglect of the body of work on queer Marxisms within queer theory signifies a much larger problem, one that Bogdan Popa is able to clearly pinpoint in their new book De-centering Queer Theory.

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  1. David L. Eng and Jasbir K. Puar, “Introduction: Left of Queer,” Social Text 38, no.4 (2020): 6 ↩︎
  2. For example, see Rosemary Hennessy, “Queer Theory, Left Politics,” Rethinking Marxism 7, no.3 (1994): 85–111; Mas’ud Zavarzadeh, T. Ebert and Donald Morton, Marxism, Queer Theory, Gender (Red Factory, 2001); Alan Sears, “Queer Anti-Capitalism: What’s Left of Lesbian and Gay Liberation,” Science & Society 69, no.1 (2005): 92–112. ↩︎