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Cloud Theory


Cloud Theory

Shirock, Luke (2023) Cloud Theory. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Cloud Theory presents a critical, intimate study of post-MeToo masculinity in the form of a novel. Dr. Eli Sabaktani, professor of Speculative History and Myth at Osiris University, finds the diary of Johnny Gray, one of his graduate students, who has recently been called a “known abuser” online. Seeking to understand and redress harm, Eli publishes the diary, not without first gracing its pages with an impassioned preface and copious annotations that flesh out the story’s historical, mythological, and philosophical underpinnings while revealing Eli’s own gender trouble. Johnny’s diary tells the story of a group of friends who attempt to operate a queer-feminist community space in Montréal. Johnny questions his own position and authority within the group, elaborating a “cloud theory” that would replace the rigid impassivity of normative masculinity with a more fluid and cloud-like vulnerability. How might we loosen or “liquefy” the subjective, political, and economic categories that bind, limit, and oppress us, without completely undoing the psychic and social boundaries that nourish and protect us? How to create a safe space that is yet still porous? Johnny attempts to put his ideas into practice, but tensions rise as the group navigates the ensuing COVID pandemic, the protests following the murder of George Floyd, and finally the callout leveled against Johnny that derails the project and sends him into a crisis. Johnny finds momentary reprieve in email exchanges with Eli where they discuss masculinity, shame, power, and perfection, until Eli’s lectures drive him to seek a more pragmatic and compassionate resolution to his story. Cloud Theory seeks to understand the workings of structural power, how it seeps into the body and pries open even our most intimate relationships. Storytelling as methodology allows for a more agile mapping of these liquid dynamics, inflected as they are by personal histories fraught with trauma and shame. In the contested cracks between identity, affect, and power, Cloud Theory attempts to rethink what a male body is, what it can do, and what it might become.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Shirock, Luke
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:20 March 2023
Thesis Supervisor(s):Manning, Erin and Massumi, Brian and Furlani, Andre
ID Code:992397
Deposited By: Luke Shirock
Deposited On:16 Nov 2023 17:03
Last Modified:16 Nov 2023 17:03
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