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Queer TimingThe Emergence of Lesbian Sexuality in Early Cinema$
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Susan Potter

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042461

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042461.001.0001

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Traces, Specks, and Glimmers

Traces, Specks, and Glimmers

Regulating Same-sex Attractions

(p.40) 2. Traces, Specks, and Glimmers
Queer Timing

Susan Potter

University of Illinois Press

The early cinema of attractions evidences a capacity for generating unruly and multivalent forms of erotic attraction and visual pleasure, even as it also registers transformations in sexual knowledge and experiences of embodied desire and erotic identity. The chapter argues that attempts in early films to eroticize sexual difference and establish a gendered scopic hierarchy also represent a discursive effort to transform—by visually de-privileging, suppressing, or eliding—the differently ordered homoerotic visual pleasures and practices of looking of the late nineteenth century. These often forgotten moments of disrupted same-sex intimacy or voyeurism demonstrate the expansion of discourses of sexuality and nascent efforts to discipline the homoerotic, even as their effects remain fleeting and unpredictable.

Keywords:   Cinema of attractions, Homoerotic, Sexual difference, Sexuality, Visual pleasure, Voyeurism

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