Queering Agriculture

“The University of California, Berkeley, recently hosted a lecture called ‘Queering Agriculture,’ and it was a fine example of the stream-of-social-consciousness school of academic writing.” National Review

National Review, March 9, 2015, p. 13

BeekmanBoysThe University of California, Berkeley, recently hosted a lecture called “Queering Agriculture,” and it was a fine example of the stream-of-social-consciousness school of academic writing. From the website description: “Queering and trans-ing ideas and practices of agriculture are necessary for more sustainable, sovereign, and equitable food systems for the creatures and systems involved in systemic reproductions that feed humans and other creatures. Since agriculture is literally [i.e., not literally] the backbone of economics, politics, and ‘civilized’ life as we know it, and the manipulation of reproduction and sexuality are a foundation of agriculture, it is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture.” Translation: No one has written about this topic before because sexual preference has nothing to do with agriculture. But that’s no obstacle to a hard-core academic, and soon we can presumably expect “Queering Dentistry,” “Queering Transmission Repair,” and perhaps “Straighting Interior Design.”

UC Berkeley Lecture: It Is ‘Necessary’ to Apply Transgender Studies to Agriculture

Searching high and low for the “queer” angle.

By KATHERINE TIMPF, National Review, February 9, 2015, p. 13

The University of California–Berkeley is hosting a lecture about how it is “necessary” to apply gay and transgender studies to agriculture because agriculture is all about reproduction and our food systems will suffer if we don’t.

“So why queer agriculture? This seems like an odd question . . .” says the description, prompting an “uh, yeah” in my head, before continuing with “. . .but it becomes more obvious with research and analysis.”

That second part I’m not so sure about, however, considering how many times I felt like my brain was going to explode as I continued reading.

“Since agriculture is literally the backbone of economics, politics, and ‘civilized” life as we know it, and the manipulation of reproduction and sexuality are a foundation of agriculture, it is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture,” it states.

You know, food reproduces to make more food so that’s reproduction which means sexuality applies which means we need to talk about how gay and transgender studies apply or something.

I don’t know, I guess I’m still a bit confused.

Perhaps I should fly out to California and learn more. After all, the description states that it viewing agriculture through a transgender lens is “necessary” — yes, necessary — “for more sustainable, sovereign, and equitable food systems for the creatures and systems involved in systemic reproductions that feed humans and other creatures.”

Oh, and apparently 9/11 is also somehow involved.

“By focusing on popular culture representations and government legislation since 9/11, it will become clearer how the growing popularity of sustainable food is laden with anthroheterocentric [sic] assumptions of the ‘good life’ coupled with idealized images ideas of the American farm, and gender, radicalized and normative standards of health, family, and nation.”

So, basically, the farming brand and heterosexual-centric perspective of studying agriculture in this country also give people unrealistic expectations about families and actually our entire country.

Or something. I guess it isn’t as “clear” to me as the lecturer, Ph.D. candidate Bailey Kier, assured me it would be.

I guess I’m just not as intelligent as she is — or maybe I’ve just been so brainwashed by all of the farming microaggressions that I can’t understand her very simple and obvious point.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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