I is for Impasse

I is for Impasse, refers to the feeling of being stuck in a dead end street. A feeling of not moving forward or backward, emotional situtations that often originate in social inequality, marginalization. This assumed starting point give emergence to questions in queer theory and politics and the various practices in which these questions are addressed.1

In her critical memoir Depression: A Public Feeling Ann Cvetkovich stresses the theoretical importance of impasse (as “a singular place that’s a cluster of non-coherent but proximate attachments that can be approached awkwardly, described around, shifted”2), because it illuminates how it works with and connects blockages created by critique, by political circumstance and by the ordinary.

Cvetkovich argues that, “If depression is conceived of as a blockage or impasse or being stuck, then its cure might lie in forms of flexibility or creativity more so than in pills or a different genetic structure”3. Thus, impasse must be understood as a state that has productive potential.4



1 Halberstam, Jack, and Et al. I is for Impasse. Berlin: B_Books, 2015.

2 Cvetkovich, Ann. Depression: A Public Feeling. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.


“Reading Summary: Ann Cvetkovich on Affect, Depression, Creativity (I).” Salvaged Skin: A PhD Blog. Last modified May 1, 2013. https://salvagedskinphd.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/reading-summary-ann-cvetkovichs-introduction-depression-a-public-feeling/.