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Peculiar Places: A Queer Crip History of White Rural Nonconformity
by Ryan Lee Cartwright
University of Chicago Press, 2020
Cloth: 978-0-226-69691-1 | Paper: 978-0-226-69688-1 | eISBN: 978-0-226-69707-9
Library of Congress Classification GT3471.U6C37 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 307.7209730904

Peculiar Places narrates queer and disability histories of white social nonconformity in twentieth-century rural United States. Ryan Lee Cartwright contends that, during the last hundred years, rural American gossip about queer and peculiar white neighbors crystallized into a national optic of white social degeneracy. Cartwright points to a tension between the idyll (rooted in the national myth of the Jeffersonian yeoman farmer and his idealized family) and the anti-idyll (the aberrant sexuality, gender transgression, and anomalous bodies and minds that are associated with rural white populations). Cartwright examines the anti-idyll in different genres from the 1910s through the 1990s: popular science in the 1910s and early ’20s, documentary photography in the ’30s, news media in the ’50s, poverty tours in the ’60s, horror films in the ’70s and early ’80s, and documentary films in the 1990s.

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