Private Affairs: Critical Ventures in the Culture of Social by Phillip Harper


By Phillip Harper

In deepest Affairs, Phillip Brian Harper explores the social and cultural value of the non-public, offering that, faraway from a common correct, privateness is proscribed by means of one's racial-and sexual-minority prestige. Ranging throughout cinema, literature, sculpture, and lived encounters-from Rodin's The Kiss to Jenny Livingston's Paris is Burning-Private Affairs demonstrates how the very thought of privateness creates own and sociopolitical hierarchies in modern the USA.

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Additional resources for Private Affairs: Critical Ventures in the Culture of Social Relations (Sexual Cultures Series)

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I have also postulated the rather different significance of the kiss in representations of a certain type of mixed-race relationship, where, rather than implicating a realm of personal privacy, the kiss expresses a relation of private property wherein the white man’s sov­ ereignty over his private dominion is solidified at the expense of the black woman’s control over her own private realm. Now the 21 P R I VAT E A F F A I R S question before us is, What does the kiss signify in a same-sex in­ stantiation?

All rights reserved. heretofore “innocent” parties—resembles anxiety over the encroach­ ment of alien claims on the domestic sphere. S. culture can be discerned through consideration of one particu­ larly notorious recent legal case. Until 1983, Sharon Kowalski and Karen Thompson maintained a closeted lesbian relationship in St. Cloud, Minnesota, having made no legal provisions by which to protect their attachment. In 1983, Kowalski was in a car accident that left her seriously disabled, unable either to speak or to walk.

Domestic) life. Of course, the theo­ rization of that constitutive function, which is by no means complete, has a history reaching at least as far back as Friedrich Engels (see The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State [1884; New York: International Publish­ ers, 1942]). The ramifications of the particular type of interracial, intergender rela­ tion that I am describing here are compellingly addressed by Patricia J. Williams. See her essay “On Being the Object of Property,” in The Alchemy of Race and Rights (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991) 216–36.

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