20th Nov, 2019
We are extremely sad to be sharing the news that Kevin Floyd, a path-breaking theorist of queer Marxism and Professor at Kent State University, has died. Kevin was the author of The Reification of Desire: Towards a Queer Marxism (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) as well as a large number of articles and chapters that together laid the ground for a new theoretical foundation for queer Marxism. He presented at Historical Materialism conferences in London, New York and Toronto and published in the journal. His favourite intellectual milieu was the Marxist Literary Group, where he played a leadership role and published in its journal Mediations.
Kevin’s work clearly saw queer Marxism not as the assimilation of queer theory into a Marxist frame, but as the result of a transformative process that changed our conception of both queer theory and Marxism. He dug deep into the Marxist tool chest to develop approaches to sexuality that drew on concepts such as reification, showing that the understanding of queerness was not just the application of Marxist thinking to a new substantive area, but the critical development of key aspects of historical-materialist theorising. The Reification of Desire, for example, includes an important critique as well as a rich application of Lukacs’s conception of reification.
Along with his important theoretical contributions, Kevin was a truly lovely human being. He was warm, encouraging, open and playful. He engaged with the work of others in a remarkably generous spirit, not drawing back from clear critique yet open to the contributions they made, even where he disagreed. We hope that as well as sharing grief at the loss of a wonderful member of our community, we will also recommit ourselves to engaging with his audacious, challenging, and inspiring work.
In honour of Kevin’s memory, the following piece has been made freely available: https://brill.com/view/journals/hima/24/2/article-p61_4.xml?language=en&fbclid=IwAR2G_30x1jstAtZ66HBo2y_oArJuMYL7rSZ0KIePh5AP1kfUKtKMWSdtKLA
Historical Materialism, Marxist Feminist Stream, HMSPEN