• The Signs and Location of a Flight (or Return?) of Time: The Old English WONDERS OF THE EAST and the Gujarat Massacre

    Author(s):
    Eileen Joy (see profile)
    Date:
    2008
    Group(s):
    Historiography, Medieval Studies, Old English / Early Medieval England
    Subject(s):
    Old English literature, Medieval history, Religion and violence, Ethnicity, Gender and queer studies, Queer studies, India
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Tag(s):
    queer temporality, Alexander the Great, genocide
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/tz1r-4q65
    Abstract:
    In this essay, I examine two widely divergent instances of what I understand to be a compulsive and racialized-sexualized violence against women whose bodies have been figured as "foreign"/Eastern (and even, as animal and barbaric) threats within collective national bodies: the real case of a massacre in the modern state of Gujarat in southwestern India in 2002 and the imaginative case of Alexander the Great’s massacre of a "race" of giant, masculinized "women" in the fantasized Babilonia of the Anglo-Saxon "Wonders of the East." Both cases reveal, I believe, certain persistent social anxieties about the racialized female body as, in Elizabeth Grosz’s terms, “a formlessness that engulfs all form, a disorder that threatens all order,” and a “contagion.” Out of the horror and disgust that sometimes arises in the encounter with the female body that is perceived as aggressively monstrous, and which is seen to mark, in the words of William Ian Miller, “a recognition of danger to our purity,” we can trace a very ancient and ritualized type of reactionary (riotous, yet also highly controlled) violence that is both morally condemnatory and sublimely (even sexually) ecstatic, and which can be seen, to a greater and more restrained degree, respectively, in the Gujarat genocide and the Old English text.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
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