Thursday, April 28, 2022

On May 31, 2022, E Cram (Communication Studies and GWSS) will launch their new book, Violent Inheritance: Sexuality, Land, and Energy in Making the North American West. Cram, who was the recipient of a Books Ends—Obermann/OVPR Book Completion Workshop award, recently published the book with the University of California Press. 

book cover of dark western landscape

The book deepens the analysis of settler colonialism's endurance in the North American West and how infrastructures that ground sexual modernity are both reproduced and challenged by publics who have inherited them. Cram redefines sexual modernity through extractivism, wherein sexuality functions to extract value from life, including land, air, minerals, and bodies. Analyzing struggles over memory cultures through the region's land use controversies at the turn of and well into the twentieth century, Cram unpacks the consequences of western settlement and the energy regimes that fueled it. Transfusing queer eco-criticism with archival and ethnographic research, they reconstruct the linkages—"land lines"—between infrastructure, violence, sexuality, and energy, showing how racialized sexual knowledges cultivated settler colonial cultures of both innervation and enervation.

From the residential school system to elite health seekers desiring the "electric" climates of the Rocky Mountains to the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans, Cram demonstrates how the environment promised to some individuals access to vital energy and to others the exhaustion of populations through state violence and racial capitalism. Grappling with these land lines, Cram insists, helps to interrogate regimes of value and build otherwise unrealized connections between queer studies and the environmental and energy humanities.

At an online book launch on May 31, 3:00 to 4:15 pm (CT) Cram will read from the work. The reading will be followed by responses from Colin Johnson (Indiana University), author of Just Queer Folks: Gender and Sexuality in Rural America (Temple University Press, 2013) and Gabriel N. Rosenberg (Duke University), author of The 4-H Harvest: Sexuality and the State in Rural America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015). Moderators for the event are Kembrew McLeod, DEO of Communication Studies, University of Iowa, and Rachel Williams, DEO of Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies, University of Iowa. 

This event is free and open to all. Registration is required.