“Why queer agriculture? This seems like an odd question but becomes more obvious with research and analysis.” So begins the description of a lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, dedicated to the peculiar matter of “Queering Agriculture.”
The lecture will be given on Feb. 10 by Bailey Kier, a Ph.D candidate at the University of Maryland. Kier is no rookie when it comes to queer studies, having already written a dissertation on the “queer geography of the Potomac River Basic.”
It is difficult to explain just what it means to “queer” something. But in essence, it amounts to re-evaluating the basic nature of a topic from the perspective of sexuality and reproduction. Helpfully, the event description includes a drawing of a person of uncertain gender passionately kissing an enormous strawberry.
Confusing? Sure, but according to Kier it is also and extremely important matter.
“[Q]ueering and trans-ing ideas and practices of agriculture are necessary for more sustainable, sovereign, and equitable food systems for the creatures and systems involved in systemic reproductions that feed humans and other creatures,” the description continues. “Since agriculture is literally the backbone of economics, politics, and ‘civilized’ life as we know it, and the manipulation of reproduction and sexuality are a foundation of agriculture, it is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture.”
Kier also suggests that, since 9/11 (which is somehow related), the movement toward “sustainable agriculture” has been burdened by unwarranted assumptions that give agriculture a heterosexual, human-centered identity. The summary of the lecture puts it this way:
By focusing on popular culture representations and government legislation since 9/11, it will become clearer how the growing popularity of sustainable food is laden with anthroheterocentric assumptions of the ‘good life’ coupled with idealized images and ideas of the American farm, and gender, radicalized and normative standards of health, family, and nation.
The consequences of such anthroheterocentrism can only be guessed at.
UC Berkeley currently receives over $300 million a year from California taxpayers to aid its operations.
This report, by Blake Neff, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.