A queer supplement: Reading Spinoza after Grosz

Hypatia 14 (1):1-12 (1999)
Abstract
: This article critiques Elizabeth Grosz's understanding that queer theory is unproductive insofar as it disrupts the specific identities of gay and lesbian. Reconsidering ideas about desire, the body, and identity that Grosz takes from Gilles Deleuze's work on Friedrich Nietzsche and Baruch Spinoza, this essay argues that, despite her productive reworking of homophobia in terms of "active" and "reactive" forces, Grosz's application of Spinoza is only partial. Focusing on Spinoza's evaluation of bodies, the essay both critiques Grosz's approach to experimental desire and observes Spinozist preoccupations in order to talk about the experimental body. It concludes that if Grosz were to attend more seriously to the Spinozist imperative to analyze a body in terms of its capabilities—that is, its power to be affected—the epistemological basis of her argument would change. It would be difficult to dismiss the plurality and sensibility of a queer body or its challenge to lesbian and gay as the source of a primary identity
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