Jan Monk Lecture 2022: Dr. Jen Jack Gieseking
Jan Monk Lecture 2022:
Homourbanism, Lesbian Bars, & Queering the Myth of Neighborhood Liberation
Dr. Jen Jack Gieseking
Associate Professor of Geography
University of Kentucky
Dr. Jen Jack Gieseking is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Kentucky and Managing Editor of ACME: an International Journal for Critical Geographies. Dr. Gieseking works at the intersections of critical urban, cultural, and digital geographies, and feminist and queer theory. They authored A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbians, Dykes, and Queers, NYU Press (2020) and co-edited The People, Place, and Space Reader, Routledge (2014).
Abstract: How must we think beyond the rights-infused promises of gayborhood to trace the effects of the myth of neighborhood liberation across scales, from the ever-closing lesbian bar to the cosmopolitan city to the US nation-state itself? In A Queer New York, I argued that relying on the “myth of neighborhood liberation” is a false promise whereby lgbtq people believe they can gain acceptance through homonormative narratives of (white and well-off) lives made “better” and “legitimate” through property ownership. In reality, lesbians, queer women, trans people, and gender non-conforming people experience generational cycles as gentrifiers and gentrified. By placing work on lesbian-queer bars and neighborhoods in conversation with the scholarship around homonationalism, I argue that we would also benefit from reading nationalist critiques through the lens of what I call “homourbanism”: the ways mainstream media, politicians, and corporations portray certain white, middle-class lesbians, bisexuals, queers, and trans people as cosmopolitan urban citizens. Homourbanism speaks to the political and economic practices that assert urban cosmopolitanism and civilization alongside tenets of anti-ruralism, and therefore reify the racist, settler, capitalist city and nation-state.