Queer narratives of cancer: Eve K. Sedgwick’s “White Glasses”

  • Paola Di Cori
  • Marco Pustianaz
Keywords: cancer, breast turn, E.K. Sedgwick, feminism, queer temporality


Through a reading of “White Glasses”, an essay included in Eve K. Sedgwick’s Tendencies, this paper invites a double perspective: on the one hand, a comparative approach to feminist narratives of cancer (from Audre Lorde to Gayatri Spivak reading and translating Mahasweta Devi); on the other, a reflection on Sedgwick’s contribution to queer thinking on temporality. It is also an attempt to broaden our own perception of Eve K. Sedgwick by turning to her later interest in Buddhism and textile art. Thus, the focus on “White Glasses” shifts between the temporal scale of Sedgwick’s lifetime and the wider cultural history of feminist body politics in the 1980’s and early ‘90s. This is the decade when feminism increasingly became queered, a shift that is followed here through the lens of AIDS, illness and bodily transformation – a nexus powerfully interrogated, and embodied, by Eve K. Sedgwick.