Bobby Benedicto

Bobby Benedicto's research interests lie at the intersections of queer theory, critical race theory, urban studies, and theories of death and temporality. His first book, Under Bright Lights: Gay Manila and the Global Scene (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), received an Honorable Mention for the 2015 Ruth Benedict Prize for Queer Anthropology and was a finalist for the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Studies. He is currently working on two major research projects: Fatal Sex, a book-length study examining the role of necro-aesthetics (the aesthetics of death) in 21st century queer art and media, and Queer Afterlives, a series of ethnographic essays on queer performances set in the decaying Brutalist buildings erected in Metropolitan Manila during the Marcos dictatorship (1965-1986).

Fatal Sex

This project tracks the evolving relationship of non-normative sexuality to death and mortality through a series of studies on 21st century art and media. From images of murderous homosexuality, to cinematic representations of queer suicide, to the digital afterlives of pre-AIDS photography and pornography, to underground techno’s aesthetics of decay, the project examines how queer attachments to an erotics of death endure in the face of present-day structures of violence and the politics of survival they have come to engender. By bringing together an archive of aesthetic and cultural practices that draw force from sexuality’s desubjectivizing negativity and yet bespeak the real horrors of loss and fatality, the project stages an encounter between psychoanalytic and necropolitical accounts of the lethal nature of perverse sexuality.

In so doing, it draws attention to the precarity of distinctions made between psychic dissolution and biological death, the figurative and the literal, and fantasy and reality and to the varied ways such distinctions operate to withhold an erotics of death from those who are marked for death and who are subsequently bound to notions of hope, generativity, and life itself.

Selected Publications:


Under Bright Lights: Gay Manila and the Global Scene (University of Minnesota Press, 2014).

Journal Articles:

"Agents and Objects of Death: Gay Murder, Boyfriend Twins, and Queer of Color Negativity," GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 25, no. 2 (2019): 273-296.

"The Queer Afterlife of the Postcolonial City: (Trans)gender Performance and the War of Beautification," Antipode 47, no. 3 (2015): 580-597.

"Queer Space in the Ruins of Dictatorship Architecture," Social Text 117 (2013): 25-47.

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