In Search of Queer Composure: Queer Temporality, Intimacy and Affect

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter the author draws on the work of queer theorists Elizabeth Freeman and José Esteban Muñoz to draw attention to the role of queer temporality in queer oral history, and to propose the concept of “queer composure”. Through a consideration of an interview where they and the narrator got “lost in queer time”, the author argues for a focus on “trans-temporal intimacies” and affect as routes to queer oral history practices that privilege and value queer lives and queer experience. Moving on to a discussion of “queer joy”, the author proposes that such affective connections in queer oral histories have the radical power to counter and destabilise normative expectations for the structuring themes and experiences of queer life. Arguing that queer oral history encounters have within them an inherent guiding and grounding logic of queer time, the author proposes we can channel that inherent potentiality. First, we can nurture the creation of a queer temporal moment in which the interview takes place. Second, we can attend to the ways in which queer time has shaped the queer lives of our narrators, and, by extension, adopt interviewing approaches that privilege non-hegemonic narratives through a centring of queer time.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Directions in Queer Oral History
Subtitle of host publicationArchives of Disruption
EditorsAmy Tooth Murphy, Emma Vickers, Clare Summerskill
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781003092032
ISBN (Print)9780367551131
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • queer history
  • oral history
  • composure
  • oral history theory

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