Towards An “Accented” Approach: A Queer Hermeneutic of Listening and Intimacy



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This paper aims to conceptualize “accented” as a reading practice and hermeneutic. Building on Hamid Naficy’s concept of an “accented” cinema, this theory of accented reading practices is a conceptualization of a reading practice that accounts for situatedness, through the theoretical frame of the accent. Working on the sensorial and affective aspects of the accent, a conceptualization of reading as a relational and situational practice allows for a greater range, depth for interpretation, as well as possibilities for building affiliations between a variety of aesthetic practices. Accented cinema is rooted in a discomfort with notions of belonging, home, nationality, and citizenship. This paper examines three texts, Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Paddington, the 2014 film directed by Paul King, and Flee the 2021 animated documentary directed by Jonas Rasmussen. Each of these texts work to expand Naficy’s theory aided by the work of Gayatri Gopinath, the critiques of Asuman Suner, and Jose Muñoz. The first text conceptualizes accented reading away from cinema towards literature, to truly first encounter it as a reading practice. The next chapter turns back towards cinema, but conceptualizes accented reading practice as finding affiliations within popular culture. Finally, the final chapter turns towards documentary and testimony as well as queer subjectivity. In finding affiliations between three vastly different texts, this paper conceptualizes accented reading practices as a site of connection, affiliation, and alternative hermeneutics.



Diaspora, Cultural Studies, Queer Studies, Film, Migration