Scott Jackshaw is a Ph.D. student in English at Brown University. His research convenes queer theory, critical race theory, and political theology to analyze configurations of difference, subjectivity, and being in contemporary poetry. His academic and creative work foregrounds poetry as a way of performing theoretical inquiry and the possibilities that research-creation and formally innovative poetry present for queer and otherwise thinking. His essays and poetry have appeared in a number of journals, including Jacket2, The Capilano Review, and Contemporary Verse 2.
Kenosis, the self-emptying of divinity in the incarnation, offers an account of evacuated being that might refigure the epistemological and ontological constraints of the subject and its body in queer theories and theologies. In the leaking body of a crucified Christ, the promise and problem of queer blood finds its most porous theological urtext, one that both subtends and threatens prevailing theopolitical imaginaries in which spilled blood suggests both salvific power and viral load. Amid the increasing regulation of bodily fluids in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, I argue that self-emptying offers a relationality grounded in the giving and givenness of the self, which does not precede but rather appears only in its giving. In doing so, my aim is to interrogate the political ontologies and temporalities produced by particular arrangements of blood, subjectivity, and difference. I introduce kenosis as a key term for the study of queer political life, in which the queer subject that insists on its dissolution does not pre-exist its emptying, but rather is constituted in bodied movements out of itself. The relations such a kenosis makes possible figure an otherwise way of being-with, centered on giving up the self, on having already given up the self, and on the givenness of giving up. A queer kenosis thus provides a resource for a self-risking queer politics, in which self-evacuation might reveal strategies of relation and survival already taking place under theopolitical regimes of revered and restricted blood.