The butch on the ferry: The affect and effect of butch longing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter I reflect on the personal affective impact of my current oral history research into butch identity and lived experience in the UK and USA. Self-reflexivity is integral to good oral history practice and has always been at the heart of my research process. As a queer oral historian interviewing LGBTQ people, I am used to the personal affective impact of my research. Nonetheless, I have been struck by how deeply this particular project has touched me. In particular, the project has shone a spotlight on my experience of what I term ‘butch longing’. Tracing the trajectory of my own journey to butch identity and identificatory practices, I utilise work on queer affect by scholars such as Heather Love and Elizabeth Freeman to interrogate the place and power of butch longing in butch research. Ultimately, I argue that centring and embracing affective states, even those that might be considered ‘negative’, such as longing, can bring drive to queer oral history practice as well as provide a direction and focal point for affective states common to queer people living in a heterocentric world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQueering Desire
Subtitle of host publicationLesbians, Gender, and Subjectivity
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Queer
  • lesbian
  • oral history
  • Affect Theory
  • History of Emotions
  • methodology

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