by Alex O’Rourke
In his book, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004), literary theorist Lee Edelman concerns himself with the ethics of Queer Theory. Edelman criticizes the figure of the child in Reproductive Futurism, explaining that the idea of an innocent child in need of protection is theoretically and fundamentally pitted against queerness in our cultural imaginaries and consequentially queerness is negatively understood as future disabling. The concept of Reproductive Futurism places all future hope upon children. It is the belief that political science exists upon the fundamental motive to create a better future for the next generation. Reproductive futurism thus believes that through politics we can make a better future and that future is symbolized by children (Edelman 3). This idea essentially is strictly heterosexual and heteronormative, and anything in opposition simply put is against the concept of the aim of politics, children, and the continuation of time. Therefore, queerness ceases to exist in the realm of Reproductive Futurism. In his book No Future, Edelman rejects Reproductive Futurism and homophobia placed upon homosexuals on the ground that they abandon reproduction and the potential for a future. To be a reproductive futurist is to fight for the child, and if you are not reproducing you are not fighting for the child and therefore the future.
Sharon Patricia Holland, in her book The Erotic Life of Racism, utilizes Edelman, Reproductive Futurism, and the idea of an unpredictable future to tether Queer Theory and Critical Race Theory. Holland argues that subscribing to the idea of “the future” submits people to repetition, heteronormativity, and biological belonging. White supremacy and political power’s visions and values cast the individual beyond and condone “racial feeling.”
Edelman, Lee. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. Duke University Press, 2004.
Holland, Sharon Patricia. The Erotic Life of Racism. Duke University Press, 2012.
Hollinger, Veronica. “Make This a Different Future: Reproductive Futurism and Its (Dis)Contents.” Los Angeles Review of Books, 3 Feb. 2018, lareviewofbooks.org/article/make-this-a-different-future-reproductive-futurism-and-its-discontents/. Accessed 25 Mar. 2021.
Fisher, Mark “Reproductive Futurism and the Politics of the Death Drive.” Frieze, 1 Sept. 2007, www.frieze.com/article/reproductive-futurism-and-politics-death-drive. Accessed 25 Mar. 2021.