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Queering the Norm: Reinterpreting the Heterosexual Ideal

Author(s): Katrina C. L. Eichner

Year: 2015

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This paper aims to problematize the concept of heteronormativity through a queer perspective. Too often, heterosexuality is posited as a universal norm against which queer identities can be examined. Through a look at archaeological deposits associated with heterosexual relationships and practices - such as courtship, marriage, and prostitution- this discussion queers the 'normalness' of heterosexuality by showing that an ideal heterosexuality is rarely, if ever, truly performed. Using examples from a 19th c. military fort and community in West Texas, this paper will investigate how a queer framework can produce a more fluid, thus more inclusive, understanding of sexual practice in the past. Moreover, by using performance theory to challenge the concept of a lived normative experience, this investigation engages with progressive politics that aim to reevaluate the social constructiveness of sexual identity. 

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Queering the Norm: Reinterpreting the Heterosexual Ideal. Katrina C. L. Eichner. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 434169)


Temporal Keywords
19th C.

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 269

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America