Wednesday 19th February, 4.00pm
Room 106, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T
“No Horizons: Queering the Scottish Devolutionary Moment in Laura Hird’s Born Free”
Kate Turner, University of Westminster
Taken from a broader research project entitled ‘The Queer Moment: Post-devolution Scottish Literature’, this paper seeks to queer the nation which, in Lauren Berlant and Elizabeth Freeman’s words, ‘touts a subliminal sexuality more official than a state flower or national bird’ (‘Queer Nationality’ 195). Specifically, my research explores the queer potential that stems from Scottish devolution in 1999 and tracks this through to the referendum on Scottish independence to be held 18th September 2014. The paper considers Scottish devolution a site of rupture for Scottish nationhood; so often imagined into being with reference to its lack or loss of statehood, it is argued that Scotland finds itself at a disorientating moment of introspection in the wake of its own devolution. Within this context the paper offers a queer reading of Laura Hird’s Born Free (1999) using Lee Edelman’s No Future and Judith Halberstam’s In a Queer Time and Place. This analysis examines the breakdown of the nuclear family, uses Edelman’s term ‘reproductive futurism’ to regard devolution as queerly ‘beyond the horizon’, and uses Halberstam’s ideas to explore Hird’s characters as ‘queer subjects’. Through attention to the Scottish devolutionary setting of the text, the paper then draws links between Born Free’s queer aspects and this moment in order to conceptualise the disorientating impact of devolution, and the queer potential of this.
Tagged as Literature, politics, Scotland
The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture
University of Westminster Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies
32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW. United Kingdom.