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Fractal Repair: Queer Histories of Modern Jamaica

Fractal Repair: Queer Histories of Modern Jamaica

(Perverse Modernities)

Matthew Chin
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In Fractal Repair, Matthew Chin investigates queerness in Jamaica from early colonial occupation to the present, critically responding to the island's global reputation for extreme homophobia and anti-queer violence. Chin advances a theory and method of queer fractals to bring together genealogies of queer and Caribbean formation. Fractals-a kind of geometry in which patterns repeat but never exactly in the same way-make visible shifting accounts of Caribbean queerness in terms of race, gender, and sexual alterity. Drawing on this fractal orientation, Chin assembles and analyzes multigenre archives, ranging from mid-twentieth-century social science studies of the Caribbean to Jamaica's National Dance Theatre Company to HIV/AIDS organizations, to write reparative histories of queerness. Chin's proposal of a fractal politics of repair invests in the horizon of difference that repetition materializes, and it extends reparations discourses intent on overcoming the past and calculating economic compensation for survivors of violence.


Table of Contents:
Acknowledgments vii
Introduction. Queer Fractals: Making Histories of Repair 1
1. Queer Jamaica 1494-1998 21
Part I. Archival Continuities
2. Knowledge: A "Native" Social Science 39
3. The Body: Responding to HIV/AIDS 63
Part II. Narrative Ruptures
4. Performance: The National Dance Theatre Company 93
5. Politics: The Gay Freedom Movement 119
Epilogue. Fractal Futures 153
Notes 159
Bibliography 197
Index 223

"In Fractal Repair, Matthew Chin contributes significantly to our understanding of the history and the present of queer Jamaican life. Chin fills in the gaps on queer organizing in Jamaica, making use of the archive to piece together a different account of queer Jamaica than usually circulates. It is a lively read, deeply thoughtful, and does what it means to do: repair our understanding of queer Jamaican life and politics."--Rinaldo Walcott, author of "The Long Emancipation: Moving toward Black Freedom"

"Matthew Chin's Fractal Repair is an original and deeply compelling account of five hundred years of Jamaican intimacies. The fractal is a powerful organizing principle for the argument being made here, in which Chin shows how the colony has been central to the imperial rationalization of who counts as fully human and which intimacies are deemed to be socially valid. Archivally innovative, methodologically heterogeneous, and beautifully written, this book will make an important intervention."--Faith Smith, author of "Strolling in the Ruins: The Caribbean's Non-sovereign Modern in the Early Twentieth Century"


Matthew Chin is Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Virginia.


  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (March 22, 2024)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1478030224
  • ISBN-13: 9781478030225
  • Item Weight: 12 ounces
  • Dimensions: 6 x 0.54 x 9 inches
  • BISAC Categories:- Social Science | Cultural & Ethnic Studies | Caribbean & Latin American Studies | LGBTQ+ Studies | General - History | Caribbean & West Indies | Jamaica


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