A 10th anniversary edition of this field defining work—an intellectual inspiration for a generation of LGBTQ scholars
Cruising Utopia arrived in 2009 to insist that queerness must be reimagined as a futurity-bound phenomenon, an insistence on the potentiality of another world that would crack open the pragmatic present. Part manifesto, part love-letter to the past and the future, José Esteban Muñoz argued that the here and now were not enough and issued an urgent call for the revivification of the queer political imagination.
On the anniversary of its original publication, this edition includes two essays that extend and expand the project of Cruising Utopia, as well as a new foreword by the current editors of Sexual Cultures, the book series he co-founded with Ann Pellegrini 20 years ago. This 10th anniversary edition celebrates the lasting impact that Cruising Utopia has had on the decade of queer of color critique that followed and introduces a new generation of readers to a future not yet here.
Brilliant, extraordinary, and necessary, Muñoz’s critical refusal of queer pragmatism, his commitment to the utopian force of the radical attempt—the radical aesthetic, erotic, and philosophical experiment—is indispensable in an historical moment characterized by political surrender and intellectual timidity passing itself off as boldness.
Gay liberation's activist past and pragmatic present are merely prologue to a queer cultural future, Muñoz suggests in this critical condemnation of the political status quo. Casting his vision of a radical gay aesthetic through the prisms of literature, photography and performance, the author dismisses commonplace concerns like same-sex marriage as desires for "mere inclusion" in a "corrupt" mainstream. More defiantly, he exalts the persistence of commercial sex spaces in the face of ‘antisex and homphobic policings,’ and celebrates the overlay of punk and queer in performance spaces.