Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2211-3770
  • E-ISSN: 2211-3789
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


This article explores how language, sexuality, and affect are circuited in New Orleans bounce music. Bounce features lyrics that characterize the performers as queer, describe sex explicitly, celebrate sex between male-bodied people, and expose the hypocrisy of straight-acting men. Bounce lyrics are just one element of bounce performances, however, which consist of the reciprocal relationship between the dancers in the audience, the intensity of the MC’s exhortations, and the rhythm of the backing musical track. Bounce performances create a fleeting community of artists, bodies and music that is less about the expression of discrete sociodemographic categories, and more about a collective affective event. Using ideas of relationality from queer and affect theory, and Stallybrass and White’s “high/low” cultural hierarchies, this article shows how bounce challenges normative ideas about the autonomous ‘speaking subject,’ and supports a messier understanding of the self as affectively relational.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Allen, Jafari
    2012 Black/queer/diaspora at the current conjuncture. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies18(2–3): 211–248. doi: 10.1215/10642684‑1472872
    https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-1472872 [Google Scholar]
  2. Barnard, Ian
    2004Queer Race: Cultural Interventions in the Racial Politics of Queer Theory. New York: Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Berlant, Lauren
    2008 Intuitionists: History and the affective event. American Literary History20(4): 845–860. doi: 10.1093/alh/ajn039
    https://doi.org/10.1093/alh/ajn039 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bersani, Leo
    1987 Is the rectum a grave?October43: 197–222. doi: 10.2307/3397574
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3397574 [Google Scholar]
  5. Besnier, Niko
    1990 Language and affect. Annual Review of Anthropology19: 419–451. doi: 10.1146/annurev.an.19.100190.002223
    https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.an.19.100190.002223 [Google Scholar]
  6. Blackman, Lisa & Venn, Couze
    2010 Affect. Body & Society16(1): 7–28. doi: 10.1177/1357034X09354769
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1357034X09354769 [Google Scholar]
  7. Carby, Hazel
    1992 Policing the Black woman’s body in an urban context. Critical Inquiry18(4): 738–755. doi: 10.1086/448654
    https://doi.org/10.1086/448654 [Google Scholar]
  8. Christmas, Zoe
    2013 Interview with Big Freedia. The Snipe. www.thesnipenews.com/music/interviews/big-freedia/ (December 3, 2014)
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Cohen, Cathy
    1997 Punks, bulldaggers, and welfare queens: The radical potential of queer politics?GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies3(4): 437–465. doi: 10.1215/10642684‑3‑4‑437
    https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-3-4-437 [Google Scholar]
  10. Collins, Patricia Hill
    2006Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism. New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Connolly, William
    2006 Experience & experiment. Daedalus135(3): 67–75. doi: 10.1162/daed.2006.135.3.67
    https://doi.org/10.1162/daed.2006.135.3.67 [Google Scholar]
  12. Coupland, Nikolas
    2001 Language, situation, and the relational self: Theorizing dialect-style in sociolinguistics. InStyle and Sociolinguistic Variation, Penelope Eckert & John R. Rickford (eds), 185–210. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Dee, Jonathan
    2010 Sissy bounce, New Orleans’ gender-bending rap. The New York Times. www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/magazine/25bounce-t.html?mcubz=2&pagewanted=all&_r=0 (October 12, 2012)
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Deumert, Ana
    2016 “We need a new language” – Challenging the coloniality of language. (Paper presented atthe 21st Sociolinguistics Symposium, University of Murcia, Spain)
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Edelman, Lee
    2004No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. doi: 10.1215/9780822385981
    https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822385981 [Google Scholar]
  16. Ellis, Nadia
    2015 New Orleans and Kingston: A beginning, a recurrence. Journal of Popular Music Studies27(4): 387–407. doi: 10.1111/jpms.12147
    https://doi.org/10.1111/jpms.12147 [Google Scholar]
  17. Gottschild, Brenda Dixon
    1998Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts. Westport, CT: Praeger.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Henriques, Julian
    2010 The vibrations of affect and their propagation on a night out on Kingston’s dancehall scene. Body & Society16(1): 57–89. doi: 10.1177/1357034X09354768
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1357034X09354768 [Google Scholar]
  19. 2014 Rhythmic bodies: Amplification, inflection and transduction in the dance performance techniques of the “Bashment Gal.”Body & Society20(3–4): 79–112. doi: 10.1177/1357034X14546878
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1357034X14546878 [Google Scholar]
  20. Henriques, Julian , Tiainen, Milla & Väliaho, Pasi
    2014 Rhythm returns: Movement and cultural theory. Body & Society20(3–4): 3–29. doi: 10.1177/1357034X14547393
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1357034X14547393 [Google Scholar]
  21. Johnson, E. Patrick
    2001 “Quare” studies, or (almost) everything I know about queer studies I learned from my grandmother. Text and Performance Quarterly21(1): 1–25. doi: 10.1080/10462930128119
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10462930128119 [Google Scholar]
  22. Kristeva, Julia
    1986 [1973] The system and the speaking subject. InThe Kristeva Reader, Toril Moi (ed), 25–33. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Leath, Jennifer
    2013 Revising Jezebel politics: Toward a new Black sexual ethic. InBlack Intersectionalities, Monica Michlin & Jean-Paul Rocchi (eds), 195–210. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Levon, Erez
    2017 Situating sociolinguistics: Coupland – Theoretical debates. Journal of Sociolinguistics21(2): 272–288. doi: 10.1111/josl.12233
    https://doi.org/10.1111/josl.12233 [Google Scholar]
  25. Livermon, Xavier
    2012 Queer(y)ing freedom: Black queer visibilities in Postapartheid South Africa. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies18(2–3): 297–323. doi: 10.1215/10642684‑1472908
    https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-1472908 [Google Scholar]
  26. Manning, Erin
    2003 Negotiating influence: Argentine tango and a politics of touch. Borderlands2(1). www.borderlands.net.au/vol2no1_2003/manning_negotiating.html (October 4, 2015)
    [Google Scholar]
  27. 2006Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. 2010 Always more than one: The collectivity of a life. Body & Society16(1): 117–127. doi: 10.1177/1357034X09354128
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1357034X09354128 [Google Scholar]
  29. Massumi, Brian
    1995 The autonomy of affect. Cultural Critique31: 83–109. doi: 10.2307/1354446
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1354446 [Google Scholar]
  30. 2017The Principle of Unrest: Activist Philosophy in the Expanded Field. London: Open Humanities Press. doi: 10.26530/OAPEN_630732
    https://doi.org/10.26530/OAPEN_630732 [Google Scholar]
  31. McElhinny, Bonnie
    2010 The audacity of affect: Gender, race, and history in linguistic accounts of legitimacy and belonging. Annual Review of Anthropology39: 309–328. doi: 10.1146/annurev‑anthro‑091908‑164358
    https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-anthro-091908-164358 [Google Scholar]
  32. Mikdashi, Maya & Puar, Jasbir
    2016 Queer theory and permanent war. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies22(2): 215–222. doi: 10.1215/10642684‑3428747
    https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-3428747 [Google Scholar]
  33. Miller, Matt
    2012Bounce: Rap Music and Local Identity in New Orleans. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Moraga, Cherrie & Anzaldúa, Gloria
    1983This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Motschenbacher, Heiko
    2013 “Now everybody can wear a skirt”: Linguistic constructions of non-heteronormativity at Eurovision Song Contest press conferences. Discourse & Society24: 590–614. doi: 10.1177/0957926513486167
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926513486167 [Google Scholar]
  36. Ochs, Elinor & Schiefflin, Bambi
    1989 Language has a heart. Text9(1): 7–25. doi: 10.1515/text.1.1989.9.1.7
    https://doi.org/10.1515/text.1.1989.9.1.7 [Google Scholar]
  37. Patel, Puja
    2013 Bouncing back: The street Kings (and Queens) of New Orleans. Pitchfork. pitchfork.com/thepitch/138-bounding-back-the-street-kings-and-queens-of-new-orleans/ (December 4, 2014)
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Pérez, Elizabeth
    2015 The ontology of twerk: From “sexy” Black movement style to Afro-Diasporic sacred dance. African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal9(1): 16–31. doi: 10.1080/17528631.2015.1055650
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17528631.2015.1055650 [Google Scholar]
  39. Phillips, Layli & Stewart, Marla
    2009 Nontraditional, nonconforming, and transgressive gender expression and relationship modalities in Black communities. InBlack Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies, Juan Battle & Sandra L. Barnes (eds), 17–36. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Postcolonial Studies Research Network
    Postcolonial Studies Research Network 2015 Relationality: A symposium. University of Otago, New Zealand. https://relationality2015.com/ (January 15, 2017)
  41. Riggs, Damian
    2010 On accountability: Towards a white middle-class queer “post identity politics identity politics.”Ethnicities10(3): 344–357. doi: 10.1177/1468796810372300
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1468796810372300 [Google Scholar]
  42. Schoux Casey, Christina & Eberhardt, Maeve
    . forthcoming. “She don’t need no help”: Deconsolidating gender, sex, and sexuality in New Orleans bounce music. Gender and Language.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Seigworth, Gregory J.
    2010 An inventory of shimmers. InThe Affect Theory Reader, Melissa Gregg & Gregory J. Seigworth (eds), 1–28. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Shouse, Eric
    2005 Feeling, emotion, affect. M/C Journal8(6). journal.media-culture.org.au/0512/03-shouse.php (September 10, 2013)
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Stallybrass, Peter & White, Allen
    1993The Politics and Poetics of Transgression. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Wetherell, Margaret
    2015 Trends in the turn to affect: A social psychological critique. Body & Society21(2): 1–29. doi: 10.1177/1357034X14539020
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1357034X14539020 [Google Scholar]
  47. Zerilli, Linda
    2015 The turn to affect and the problem of judgment. New Literary History46(2): 261–286. doi: 10.1353/nlh.2015.0019
    https://doi.org/10.1353/nlh.2015.0019 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): affect; binarism; dance; hip hop; New Orleans bounce; queer theory; relationality; sexuality
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error