March 28: How Soon Is Now?: Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time

How Soon Is Now?: Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time

a roundtable with Carolyn Dinshaw, and Emanuela Bianchi, Carla Freccero, Amy Hollywood, & José Muñoz

plus an interlude with Moe Angelos

Thursday, March 28
5:30 to 7 pm (please note time change)

Department of Social & Cultural Analysis
20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor

Carolyn Dinshaw, Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University

Emanuela Bianchi, Comparative Literature, New York University

Carla Freccero, Literature, History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies, University of California Santa Cruz

Amy Hollywood, Divinity, Harvard Divinity School

José Muñoz, Performance Studies, New York University

How Soon Is Now? performs a powerful critique of modernist temporal regimes through its revelatory exploration of queer ways of being in time as well as of the potential queerness of time itself. Carolyn Dinshaw focuses on medieval tales of asynchrony and on engagements with these medieval temporal worlds by amateur readers centuries later. In doing so, she illuminates forms of desirous, embodied being that are out of sync with ordinarily linear measurements of everyday life, that involve multiple temporalities, that precipitate out of time altogether. Dinshaw claims the possibility of a fuller, denser, more crowded now that theorists tell us is extant but that often eludes our temporal grasp.

Whether discussing Victorian men of letters who parodied the Book of John Mandeville, a fictionalized fourteenth-century travel narrative, or Hope Emily Allen, modern coeditor of the early-fifteenth-century Book of Margery Kempe, Dinshaw argues that these and other medievalists outside the academy inhabit different temporalities than modern professionals operating according to the clock. How Soon Is Now? clears space for amateurs, hobbyists, and dabblers who approach medieval worlds from positions of affect and attachment, from desires to build other kinds of worlds. Unruly, untimely, they urge us toward a disorderly and asynchronous collective.

Carolyn Dinshaw is Professor of English, and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. She is the author of Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern, also published by Duke University Press, and Chaucer’s Sexual Poetics . Dinshaw is a founding coeditor of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies.

Moe Angelos has written and performed six plays and other stuff with her collaborative theatre ensemble The Five Lesbian Brothers. Moe has also worked with The Builders Association since 1999 and is currently peddling Songtag: Reborn, a theatrical adaptation of the early journals of Susan Sontag. She has also appeared in the work of many stars of the Off-Broadway firmament including Brooke O’Harra, Carmelita Tropicana, Anne Bogart, Holly Hughes, Lois Weaver, Marianne Weems and The Ridiculous Theatrical Company. Moe has been a member of the WOW Café since 1981 and to hear more visit and browse the artists.

Emanuela Bianchi received her Ph.D in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research in 2005. She has taught in the departments of Philosophy at Haverford College and UNC Charlotte. She is completing a manuscript, The Feminine Symptom: Aleatory Matter in the Aristotelian Cosmos exploring the intertwining of Aristotle’s metaphysics with tropes of sex and gender, arguing that the traditional understanding of the female as allied with passive matter is inadequate, and should be supplanted by an understanding of the feminine asymptomatic, representing chance and what disrupts the teleological system. She has published numerous articles on sex and gender in ancient metaphysics, and her interests encompass a genealogical approach to understanding matter and bodies, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and the politics of temporality in queer theory and feminism. Her current work engages the thought of Reiner Schürmann to help think through the complex inceptions and destructions of patriarchal kinship in classical Greek literature and philosophy, as well as in various cultural and political present day contexts.

Carla Freccero is Professor and Chair of Literature and History of Consciousness, and Professor of Feminist Studies at UCSC, where she has taught since 1991. Her books include Father Figures (Cornell,1991); Popular Culture (NYU, 1999); and Queer/Early/Modern (Duke, 2006). She co-edited Premodern Sexualities (Routledge, 1996). Her current book project, on nonhuman animals and figuration, is Animate Figures. In 2010 she won the Critical Animal Studies Faculty Paper of the Year. Her fields include early modern European literature and history; critical theory; feminist and queer theories; popular culture and cultural studies; psychoanalysis and animal studies.

Amy Hollywood is the Elizabeth H. Monrad Professor of Christian Studies at Harvard Divinity School. She is the author of The Soul as Virgin Wife: Mechthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart (University of Notre Dame Press, 1995), which received the Otto Grundler Prize for the best book in medieval studies from the International Congress of Medieval Studies; Sensible Ecstasy: Mysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History (University of Chicago Press, 2002); and, forthcoming from Columbia University Press, Acute Melancholia and Other Essays. She is also the co-editor, with Patricia Beckman, of The Cambridge Companion to Christian Mysticism (2012). Professor Hollywood is currently exploring the place of the mystical, often redescribed as enthusiasm, within modern philosopy, theology, and poetry.

José Esteban Muñoz is Professor of Performance Studies at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He teaches courses in comparative ethnic studies, queer theory and aesthetics. He is the author of Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (1999), Cruising Utopia: The Here and Now of Queer Futurity (2009) and the forthcoming The Sense of Brown. His edited and co-edited collections include the volumes Pop Out: Queer Warhol (1996), Everynight Life: Culture and Dance in Latin/o America, (1997) and special issues of the journals of Social Text (“Queer Transextions of Race, Gender, Nation, 1997 and “What’s Queer About Queer About Queer Studies Now,” 2005) and Women and Performance (“Queer Acts,” 1996 and “Between Psychoanalysis and Affect: A Public Feelings Project, 2009”). He co-edits the book series Sexual Cultures for NYU Press.

Co-sponsored by the NYU Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and the Medieval and Renaissance Center.

This event is free and open to the public.  Venue is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, please contact CSGS at 212-992-9540 or email csgs(at)

Facebook event page here.