There is a widely held understanding of what political art from minoritarian communities looks like: accessible, uplifting, humanizing, unifying. What do scholars and students of gender and sexuality make, then, of politically inclined queer and of color artists who use strategies that seem counterintuitive—that embrace and often embody abstraction, illegibility, and dejection? A useful rubric to help us understand the work of their aesthetic strategies is that of abjection. In everyday use, the word abjection signals debasement and extreme societal rejection. Abjection’s scholarly genealogy reveals a complex dynamic that might help us understand the ways we are constituted as individuals in relation, imbricated in rubrics of power.

This essay may be found on page 11 of the printed volume.

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