Claustrophobic in the Gaps of Others: Affective Investments from the Queer Margins
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The following essay examines creative responses to tropes of (e)strange(d) affect by marginal individuals within post-Holocaust families. Experiences of emotional displacement, strain, and isolation in relation to family ties and historical trauma reverberate with experiences of contemporary social alienation and subjugation, as well as offer generative pathways for cross-connections and for the preservation of culturally salient Holocaust memory. I situate several queer responses to Holocaust memory in relation to sociological discourse about the increasingly individual and familial character of non-Orthodox Judaism in the twenty-first century, arguing that these perspectives offer routes for maintaining affective legacies of Jewish identity in secular individualist contexts. These examples include Jill Soloway’s Transparent (2014–2019), my own not-yet-published graphic narrative “Part Hole” (2009), a performance by drag artist Mini Horrorwitz (2017), and oral histories collected from grandchildren of survivors in 2011–2012. Contemporary queer perspectives, through their estranged and creative relationships with normative time and social bonds, emphasize embodied, affective investments in family memory and in those narratives at risk of disappearing.
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