Contemporary French Civilization

Queering Montreal: counter-publics in Peter Dubé’s The City’s Gates and Zoe Whittall’s Bottle Rocket Hearts

Contemporary French Civilization (2018), 43, (3-4), 403–420.

Abstract

This article examines the representation of the urban space of Montreal and, more specifically, its marginalized communities in two recent Quebec novels. Using Michael Warner’s notion of the “counter-public” as a community brought together by its contestatory political voice, the article suggests that in these novels, public and private spaces intersect with gender/sexual and class identities and allow for new queer forms of assembly, convergence, community, and collective memory that subvert the heteronormative physical and imagined spaces of the capitalist city and nation.

Cet article examine la représentation de l’espace urbain de Montréal et, plus spécifiquement, ses communautés marginalisées à travers deux romans récents du Québec. Utilisant le concept de “counter-public” de Michael Warner, qui renvoie à une communauté rassemblée par sa voix politique contestataire, l’article suggère que dans ces romans, les espaces publics et privés et les identités de classe et de genre/sexualité intersectent et tiennent compte des nouvelles formes queers d’assemblée, de convergence, de communauté, et de mémoire collective qui renversent les espaces physiques et imaginaires de la ville et de la nation capitalistes hétéronormative.

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Batson, Charles. “Dis/locating Dominion: Being at Home with Claude and Re-membering a Queer Montreal.” Contemporary French Civilization, vol. 37, no. 2–3, 2012, pp. 159–175. Dis/locating Dominion: Being at Home with Claude and Re-membering a Queer Montreal. Contemporary French Civilization 37 159 175 Google Scholar

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Benjamin, Walter, and Rolf Tiedemann. The Arcades Project. Belknap, 1999. The Arcades Project Google Scholar

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge, 2006. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity Google Scholar

Christoff, Stefan. “Tactic: carcerolazo.” Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution. http://beautifultrouble.org/tactic/cacerolazo/. Google Scholar

Dubé, Peter. The City’s Gates. Cormorant Books, 2012. The City’s Gates Google Scholar

Edwards, Justin D., and Rune Graulund. The Grotesque. 2013. Internet resource. The Grotesque Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Vintage Books, 1995. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison Google Scholar

Garber, Marjorie B. Vested Interests: Cross-dressing & Cultural Anxiety. Routledge, 1992. Vested Interests: Cross-dressing & Cultural Anxiety Google Scholar

Gaudio, Rudolf P. “Coffeetalk: Starbucks and the Commercialization of Casual Conversation.” Language in Society, vol. 32, no. 5, 2003, pp. 659–691. Coffeetalk: Starbucks and the Commercialization of Casual Conversation. Language in Society 32 659 691 Google Scholar

Grosz, E.A. Space, Time, and Perversion: Essays on the Politics of Bodies. Routledge, 1995. Space, Time, and Perversion: Essays on the Politics of Bodies Google Scholar

Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. MIT Press, 1991. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society Google Scholar

Halberstam, Judith. Female Masculinity. Duke UP, 1998. Female Masculinity Google Scholar

Harel, Simon. Braconnages Identitaires: Un Québec palimpsest. VLB, 2006. Braconnages Identitaires: Un Québec palimpsest Google Scholar

Ingram, Gordon B., Anne-Marie Bouthillette, and Yolanda Retter. Queers in Space: Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance. Bay Press, 1997. Queers in Space: Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance Google Scholar

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Simmel, Georg. “The Metropolis and Mental Life.” The Sociology of Georg Simmel, translated by Kurt Wolff. Free Press, 1950, pp. 409–424. The Metropolis and Mental Life. The Sociology of Georg Simmel 409 424 Google Scholar

Simon, Sherry. Translating Montreal: Episodes in the Life of a Divided City. McGill-Queen’s UP, 2006. Translating Montreal: Episodes in the Life of a Divided City Google Scholar

Simon, Sherry. “Montréal en marge: le boulevard Saint-Laurent revisité.” La lutte pour l’espace: ville, performance, et culture d’en bas, edited by Domenico A. Beneventi, Roxanne Rimstead, and Simon Harel. Presses de l’université Laval, 2017. Montréal en marge: le boulevard Saint-Laurent revisité. La lutte pour l’espace: ville, performance, et culture d’en bas Google Scholar

Pile, Steve, and N.J. Thrift. Mapping the Subject: Geographies of Cultural Transformation. Routledge, 1995. Mapping the Subject: Geographies of Cultural Transformation Google Scholar

Valentine, David. Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category. Duke UP, 2007. Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category Google Scholar

Warner, Michael. The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life. Harvard UP, 2000. The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life Google Scholar

Warner, Michael. Publics and Counterpublics. Zone Books, 2005. Publics and Counterpublics Google Scholar

Whittall, Zoe. Bottle Rocket Hearts: A Novel. Cormorant Books, 2007. Bottle Rocket Hearts: A Novel Google Scholar

Wray, Tim. “The Queer Gaze.” Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Bauhaus, vol. 4, 2003. The Queer Gaze. Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Bauhaus 4 Google Scholar

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Author details

Beneventi, Domenic A.