Disidentification offers a Fanon, for that queer and lesbian reader, who would not be sanitized; instead, his homophobia and misogyny would be interrogated while his anticolonial discourse was engaged as a still valuable yet mediated identification. This maneuver resists an unproductive turn toward good dog/bad dog criticism and instead leads to an identification that is both mediated and immediate, a disidentification that enables politics.

José Esteban Muñoz, Disidentifications and the Performance of Politics

For all of you who think dismissing an entire body of work (and people) because it’s not perfect is an acceptable thing.

Minoritarian performance labors to make worlds – worlds of transformative politics and possibilities. Such performance engenders worlds of ideological potentiality that alter the present and map out a future. Performance is thus imbued with a great deal of power. But what is meant […] by “worldmaking”? The concept of worldmaking delineates the ways in which performances – both theatrical and everyday rituals – have the ability to establish alternate views of the world. Theses alternative vistas are more than simply views or perspectives; they are oppositional ideologies that function as critiques of oppressive regimes of “truth” that subjugate Minoritarian people. Oppositional counter publics are enabled by visions, “worldviews,” that reshape as they deconstruct reality. Such counter publics are the aftermath of Minoritarian performance. Such performances transport the performer and the spectator to a vantage point where transformation and politics are imaginable. Worldmaking performances produce these vantage points by slicing into the façade of the real that is the majoritarian public sphere. Disidentificatory performances opt to do more than simply tear down the majoritarian public sphere. They disassemble that sphere […] and use its part to build an alternative reality. Disidentifaction uses the majoritarian culture as raw material to make a new world.
—  José Muñoz, 1999, Disidentifications, 195-96
José Esteban Muñoz (1967–2013)



"José brought to the academy an archive of film, art, and performance that still astonishes readers of his first book, Disidentifications (1999). And he interpreted this archive using a sturdy theoretical apparatus that was never directed toward its own legitimation, but was instead devoted to the value of queer and minoritarian life, and to the mourning of queer and minoritarian loss. For José, experimental art, performance, and poetry were keys to “the practice of survival.”

Full piece: http://artforum.com/passages/id=45540


Forwarded to UT Students by Ann Cvetkovich who said “I feel the need for  public feelings around this giant loss.”  The original author is Ann Pellegrini.

The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality mourns the passing of our brilliant and beloved colleague and friend, José Esteban Muñoz (1967-2013).

José Muñoz was Professor of Performance Studies at NYU, and a long-time intellectual collaborator and frequent speaker at CSGS events. He is the author of two influential books: Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (University of Minnesota Press, 1999) and Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (NYU Press 2009); the co-editor of “Sexual Cultures,” a queer studies book series at NYU Press, co-editor of the volumes Everynight Life: Culture and Dance in Latin/o America (Duke University Press, 1997) and Pop Out: Queer Warhol (Duke University Press, 1996); as well as the author of dozens of influential articles, book chapters, and essays in journals, anthologies, and artist catalogues.

Through his teaching, writing, and deeply loving practices of friendship and care, José Muñoz forged capacious and still-expanding queer worlds. Those who have already encountered his work—and those for whom that deep and challenging pleasure awaits—now carry this torch, his torch. In Cruising Utopia José offered a “flight plan for a collective political belonging” and invited us to travel “out of this time and place to something fuller, vaster, more sensual, and brighter.”

I know my own world is “fuller, vaster, more sensual, and brighter” for José’s presence in it. And I know I am not alone in feeling this queer expansion in being on account of José Muñoz. I have such gratitude for him, to him, and such sorrow at his untimely passing. The straight time of life and death claimed him far too soon. But in another time—a queer time of cruising utopia?—may we yet meet.

– Ann Pellegrini
Director, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality

… depathologizing melancholia and understanding it as a ‘structure of feeling’ that is necessary and not always counterproductive and negative. I am proposing that melancholia, for blacks, queers, or any queers of color, is not a pathology but an integral part of everyday lives… a different understanding of melancholia that does not see it as a pathology or as a self-absorbed mood that inhibits activism. Rather it is a mechanism that helps us (re)construct identity and take our dead with us to the various battles we must wage in their names - and in our names
—  josé muñoz, photographies of mourning, disidentifications

I’ve written before about how the past year, which has seen the deaths of two queer men of color in my life, has had me on edge about the untimely death of members of my community; about the nagging and debilitatingly scary question: who’s next? With queer and trans folks of color facinginterpersonal and systemic violence in addition to the toll of the combined stressors of racism, homophobia, and gender policing and/or transphobia, it is sadly not an unreasonable questionI did not know José personally, but many members of my community did, and his untimely death picks at old wounds and has me mourning the brilliant minds we lose too soon.”

I only met him once, but his work introduced me to myself. I send my love and compassion to those who knew him well.