"Greek drama demands a story of origins," writes Karen Bassi in Acting Like Men. Abandoning the search for ritual and native origins of Greek drama, Bassi argues for a more secular and less formalist approach to the emergence of theater in ancient Greece. Bassi takes a broad view of Greek drama as a cultural phenomenon, and she discusses a wide variety of texts and artifacts that include epic poetry, historical narrative, philosophical treatises, visual media, and the dramatic texts themselves.
In her discussion of theaterlike practices and experiences, Bassi proposes new conceptual categories for understanding Greek drama as a cultural institution, viewing theatrical performance as part of what Foucault has called a discursive formation. Bassi also provides an important new analysis of gender in Greek culture at large and in Athenian civic ideology in particular, where spectatorship at the civic theater was a distinguishing feature of citizenship, and where citizenship was denied women.
Acting Like Men includes detailed discussions of message-sending as a form of scripted speech in the Iliad, of disguise and the theatrical body of Odysseus in the Odyssey, of tyranny as a theaterlike phenomenon in the narratives of Herodotus, and of Dionysus as the tyrannical and effeminate god of the theater in Euripides' Bacchae and Aristophanes' Frogs. Bassi concludes that the validity of an idealized masculine identity in Greek and Athenian culture is highly contested in the theater, where--in principle--citizens become passive spectators. Thereafter the author considers Athenian theater and Athenian democracy as mutually reinforcing mimetic regimes.
Acting Like Men will interest those interested in the history of the theater, performance theory, gender and cultural studies, and feminist approaches to ancient texts.
Karen Bassi is Associate Professor of Classics, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Focused on the intimate effects of large-scale economic transformations, After Love illuminates the ways that everyday efforts to imagine, resist, and enact market reforms shape sexual desires and subjectivities. Anthropologist Noelle M. Stout arrived in Havana in 2002 to study the widely publicized emergence of gay tolerance in Cuba but discovered that the sex trade was dominating everyday discussions among gays, lesbians, and travestis. Largely eradicated after the Revolution, sex work, including same-sex prostitution, exploded in Havana when the island was opened to foreign tourism in the early 1990s. The booming sex trade led to unprecedented encounters between Cuban gays and lesbians, and straight male sex workers and foreign tourists. As many gay Cuban men in their thirties and forties abandoned relationships with other gay men in favor of intimacies with straight male sex workers, these bonds complicated ideas about "true love" for queer Cubans at large. From openly homophobic hustlers having sex with urban gays for room and board, to lesbians disparaging sex workers but initiating relationships with foreign men for money, to gay tourists espousing communist rhetoric while handing out Calvin Klein bikini briefs, the shifting economic terrain raised fundamental questions about the boundaries between labor and love in late-socialist Cuba.
In Cherokee Asegi udanto refers to people who either fall outside of men’s and women’s roles or who mix men’s and women’s roles. Asegi, which translates as “strange,” is also used by some Cherokees as a term similar to “queer.” For author Qwo-Li Driskill, asegi provides a means by which to reread Cherokee history in order to listen for those stories rendered “strange” by colonial heteropatriarchy.
As the first full-length work of scholarship to develop a tribally specific Indigenous Queer or Two-Spirit critique, Asegi Stories examines gender and sexuality in Cherokee cultural memory, how they shape the present, and how they can influence the future.
The theoretical and methodological underpinnings of Asegi Stories derive from activist, artistic, and intellectual genealogies, referred to as “dissent lines” by Maori scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith. Driskill intertwines Cherokee and other Indigenous traditions, women of color feminisms, grassroots activisms, queer and Trans studies and politics, rhetoric, Native studies, and decolonial politics. Drawing from oral histories and archival documents in order to articulate Cherokee-centered Two-Spirit critiques, Driskill contributes to the larger intertribal movements for social justice.
The image of biologically male people dancing while dressed in the traditional, colorful attire of Zapotec, Juchiteca, females stands in sharp contrast to the prevailing view of Mexico as the land of charros, machismo, and unbridled ranchero masculinity. These indigenous people are called los muxes, and they are neither man nor woman, but rather a hybrid third gender.
After seeing a video of a muxe vela, or festival, sociologist Alfredo Mirandé was intrigued by the contradiction between Mexico’s patriarchal reputation and its warm acceptance of los muxes. Seeking to get past traditional Mexican masculinity, he presents us with Behind the Mask, which combines historical analysis, ethnographic field research, and interviews conducted with los muxes of Juchitán over a period of seven years. Mirandé observed community events, attended muxe velas, and interviewed both muxes and other Juchitán residents. Prefaced by an overview of the study methods and sample, the book challenges the ideology of a male-dominated Mexican society driven by the cult of machismo, featuring photos alongside four appendixes.
Delving into many aspects of their lives and culture, the author discusses how the muxes are perceived by others, how the muxes perceive themselves, and the acceptance of a third gender status among various North American indigenous groups. Mirandé compares traditional Mexicano/Latino conceptions of gender and sexuality to modern or Western object choice configurations. He concludes by proposing a new hybrid model for rethinking these seemingly contradictory and conflicting gender systems.
In recent years, the economy of the Caribbean has become almost completely dependent on international tourism. And today one of the chief ways that foreign visitors there seek pleasure is through prostitution. While much has been written on the female sex workers who service these tourists, Caribbean Pleasure Industry shifts the focus onto the men. Drawing on his groundbreaking ethnographic research in the Dominican Republic, Mark Padilla discovers a complex world where the global political and economic impact of tourism has led to shifting sexual identities, growing economic pressures, and new challenges for HIV prevention. In fluid prose, Padilla analyzes men who have sex with male tourists, yet identify themselves as “normal” heterosexual men and struggle to maintain this status within their relationships with wives and girlfriends. Padilla’s exceptional ability to describe the experiences of these men will interest anthropologists, but his examination of bisexuality and tourism as much-neglected factors in the HIV/AIDS epidemic makes this book essential to anyone concerned with health and sexuality in the Caribbean or beyond.
Changing Sex takes a bold new approach to the study of transsexualism in the twentieth century. By addressing the significance of medical technology to the phenomenon of transsexualism, Bernice L. Hausman transforms current conceptions of transsexuality as a disorder of gender identity by showing how developments in medical knowledge and technology make possible the emergence of new subjectivities. Hausman’s inquiry into the development of endocrinology and plastic surgery shows how advances in medical knowledge were central to the establishment of the material and discursive conditions necessary to produce the demand for sex change—that is, to both "make" and "think" the transsexual. She also retraces the hidden history of the concept of gender, demonstrating that the semantic distinction between "natural" sex and "social" gender has its roots in the development of medical treatment practices for intersexuality—the condition of having physical characteristics of both sexes— in the 1950s. Her research reveals the medical institution’s desire to make heterosexual subjects out of intersexuals and indicates how gender operates semiotically to maintain heterosexuality as the norm of the human body. In critically examining medical discourses, popularizations of medical theories, and transsexual autobiographies, Hausman details the elaboration of "gender narratives" that not only support the emergence of transsexualism, but also regulate the lives of all contemporary Western subjects. Changing Sex will change the ways we think about the relation between sex and gender, the body and sexual identity, and medical technology and the idea of the human.
Acclaimed since its original publication, Coming on Strong has become a much-cited touchstone in scholarship on women and sports. In this new edition, Susan K. Cahn updates her detailed history of women's sport and the struggles over gender, sexuality, race, class, and policy that have often defined it. A new chapter explores the impact of Title IX and how the opportunities and interest in sports it helped create reshaped women's lives even as the legislation itself came under sustained attack.
We live in a society obsessed with tracing the cause of homosexuality. Is there a gene that can be identified? Or do the origins lie outside of biology in the cultural context of childhood or adolescence? Most importantly, should we care about any of these questions?
Drawing on their own work with gays, lesbians, and bisexuals as well as other pertinent studies, psychoanalysts Bertram J. Cohler and Robert Galatzer-Levy have written a groundbreaking work that examines how psychological development and clinical intervention as well as social and historical change across generations contribute to how we think about sexuality. The authors argue that there is little support for assuming that homosexuality has a biological basis. Recognizing the many pathways that lead to same-gender sexual orientation, the authors conclude that the cause is much less important than understanding the meaning of being homosexual. They consider the destructive nature of an intolerant society that fosters so-called conversion psychotherapy and stress the importance of helping to rebuild a sense of coherence and personal integrity among homosexuals.
“Gender systems pervade and regulate human lives—in law courts and operating rooms, ballparks and poker clubs, hair-dressing salons and kitchens, classrooms and playgroups. . . . Exactly how gender works varies from culture to culture, and from historical period to historical period, but gender is very rarely not at work. Nor does gender operate in isolation. It is linked to other social structures and sources of identity.”
So write women’s studies pioneer Catharine R. Stimpson and anthropologist Gilbert Herdt in their introduction to Critical Terms for the Study of Gender, laying out the wide-ranging nature of this interdisciplinary and rapidly changing field. The sixth in the series of “Critical Terms” books, this volume provides an indispensable introduction to the study of gender through an exploration of key terms that are a part of everyday discourse in this vital subject.
Following Stimpson and Herdt’s careful account of the evolution of gender studies and its relation to women’s and sexuality studies, the twenty-one essays here cast an appropriately broad net, spanning the study of gender and sexuality across the humanities and social sciences. Written by a distinguished group of scholars, each essay presents students with a history of a given term—from bodies to utopia—and explains the conceptual baggage it carries and the kinds of critical work it can be made to do. The contributors offer incisive discussions of topics ranging from desire, identity, justice, and kinship to love, race, and religion that suggest new directions for the understanding of gender studies. The result is an essential reference addressed to students studying gender in very different disciplinary contexts.
Crossing: A Memoir
Deirdre N. McCloskey University of Chicago Press, 1999 Library of Congress HQ77.8.M39A3 1999 | Dewey Decimal 305.9066
We have read the stories of those who have "crossed" lines of race and class and culture. But few have written of crossing—completely and entirely—the gender line. Crossing is the story of Deirdre McCloskey (formerly Donald), once a golden boy of conservative economics and a child of 1950s and 1960s privilege, and her dramatic and poignant journey to becoming a woman. McCloskey's account of her painstaking efforts to learn to "be a woman" unearth fundamental questions about gender and identity, and hatreds and anxieties, revealing surprising answers.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
“I visited womanhood and stayed. It was not for the pleasures, though I discovered many I had not imagined, and many pains too. But calculating pleasures and pains was not the point. The point was who I am.”
Once a golden boy of conservative economics and a child of 1950s privilege, Deirdre McCloskey (formerly Donald) had wanted to change genders from the age of eleven. But it was a different time, one hostile to any sort of straying from the path—against gays, socialists, women with professions, men without hats, and so on—and certainly against gender transition. Finally, in 1995, at the age of fifty-three, it was time for McCloskey to cross the gender line.
Crossing is the story of McCloskey’s dramatic and poignant transformation from Donald to Dee to Deirdre. She chronicles the physical procedures and emotional evolution required and the legal and cultural roadblocks she faced in her journey to womanhood. By turns searing and humorous, this is the unflinching, unforgettable story of her transformation—what she lost, what she gained, and the women who lifted her up along the way.
Between 1919-1938, contact between Asia and America forced a reassessment of the normative boundaries of race, sex, gender, class, home, and nation. Karen Kuo’s provocative East Is West and West Is East looks closely at these global shifts to modernity.
In her analysis of five forgotten texts—the 1930 film East Is West, Frank Capra’s 1937 version of Lost Horizon and its 1973 remake, Younghill Kang's novel East Goes West, and Baroness Ishimoto’s memoir/manifesto, Facing Both Ways—Kuo elucidates how “Asia” played a role in shaping American gender and racial identities and how Asian authors understood modern America and its social, political, and cultural influence on Asia.
Kuo asserts that while notions of white and Asian racial difference remain salient, sexual and gendered constructions of Asians and whites were at times about similarity and intersections as much as they were about establishing differences.
For many, the word “emo” calls to mind angsty teenagers, shaggy black haircuts, and skinny jeans. A popular music phenomenon in the early 2000s, emo is short for “emotional hardcore,” and refers to both a music genre and a youth scene notable for its androgynous style. Judith May Fathallah pushes beyond the stereotypes and social stigma to explore how online fandom has shaped the definition of emo, with significant implications both for millennial constructs of gender and for contemporary fan studies.
First laying out the debate over what emo is, Fathallah walks superfans and newcomers through the culture surrounding thegenre’s major bands, including the emo holy trinity: My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, and Panic! At the Disco. Next she examines fans’ main mode of participation in the emo subculture—online communities such as LiveJournal, Tumblr, MySpace, and band websites. Taking a hard look at the gender politics that dominated those spaces, she unearths a subculture that simultaneously defines itself by its sensitivity and resistance to traditional forms of masculinity, yet ruthlessly enforces homophobic and sexist standards. Fathallah demonstrates fandom’s key role in defining emo as a concept and genre after 2001, with probing insight into its implications for gender constructions through popular music.
From the dagger mistress Ezili Je Wouj and the gender-bending mermaid Lasiren to the beautiful femme queen Ezili Freda, the Ezili pantheon of Vodoun spirits represents the divine forces of love, sexuality, prosperity, pleasure, maternity, creativity, and fertility. And just as Ezili appears in different guises and characters, so too does Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley in her voice- and genre-shifting, exploratory book Ezili's Mirrors. Drawing on her background as a literary critic as well as her quest to learn the lessons of her spiritual ancestors, Tinsley theorizes black Atlantic sexuality by tracing how contemporary queer Caribbean and African American writers and performers evoke Ezili. Tinsley shows how Ezili is manifest in the work and personal lives of singers Whitney Houston and Azealia Banks, novelists Nalo Hopkinson and Ana Lara, performers MilDred Gerestant and Sharon Bridgforth, and filmmakers Anne Lescot and Laurence Magloire—none of whom identify as Vodou practitioners. In so doing, Tinsley offers a model of queer black feminist theory that creates new possibilities for decolonizing queer studies.
It has long been said that clothes make the man (or woman), but is it still true today? If so, how has the information clothes convey changed over the years? Using a wide range of historical and contemporary materials, Diana Crane demonstrates how the social significance of clothing has been transformed.
Crane compares nineteenth-century societies—France and the United States—where social class was the most salient aspect of social identity signified in clothing with late twentieth-century America, where lifestyle, gender, sexual orientation, age, and ethnicity are more meaningful to individuals in constructing their wardrobes. Today, clothes worn at work signify social class, but leisure clothes convey meanings ranging from trite to political. In today's multicode societies, clothes inhibit as well as facilitate communication between highly fragmented social groups.
Crane extends her comparison by showing how nineteenth-century French designers created fashions that suited lifestyles of Paris elites but that were also widely adopted outside France. By contrast, today's designers operate in a global marketplace, shaped by television, film, and popular music. No longer confined to elites, trendsetters are drawn from many social groups, and most trends have short trajectories. To assess the impact of fashion on women, Crane uses voices of college-aged and middle-aged women who took part in focus groups. These discussions yield fascinating information about women's perceptions of female identity and sexuality in the fashion industry.
An absorbing work, Fashion and Its Social Agendas stands out as a critical study of gender, fashion, and consumer culture.
"Why do people dress the way they do? How does clothing contribute to a person's identity as a man or woman, as a white-collar professional or blue-collar worker, as a preppie, yuppie, or nerd? How is it that dress no longer denotes social class so much as lifestyle? . . . Intelligent and informative, [this] book proposes thoughtful answers to some of these questions."-Library Journal
What do our clothes say about who we are or who we think we are? How does the way we dress communicate messages about our identity? Is the desire to be "in fashion" universal, or is it unique to Western culture? How do fashions change? These are just a few of the intriguing questions Fred Davis sets out to answer in this provocative look at what we do with our clothes—and what they can do to us.
Much of what we assume to be individual preference, Davis shows, really reflects deeper social and cultural forces. Ours is an ambivalent social world, characterized by tensions over gender roles, social status, and the expression of sexuality. Predicting what people will wear becomes a risky gamble when the link between private self and public persona can be so unstable.
Jack Halberstam Duke University Press, 1998 Library of Congress HQ75.5.H33 1998 | Dewey Decimal 305.489664
Masculinity without men. In Female Masculinity Judith Halberstam takes aim at the protected status of male masculinity and shows that female masculinity has offered a distinct alternative to it for well over two hundred years. Providing the first full-length study on this subject, Halberstam catalogs the diversity of gender expressions among masculine women from nineteenth-century pre-lesbian practices to contemporary drag king performances. Through detailed textual readings as well as empirical research, Halberstam uncovers a hidden history of female masculinities while arguing for a more nuanced understanding of gender categories that would incorporate rather than pathologize them. She rereads Anne Lister’s diaries and Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness as foundational assertions of female masculine identity. She considers the enigma of the stone butch and the politics surrounding butch/femme roles within lesbian communities. She also explores issues of transsexuality among “transgender dykes”—lesbians who pass as men—and female-to-male transsexuals who may find the label of “lesbian” a temporary refuge. Halberstam also tackles such topics as women and boxing, butches in Hollywood and independent cinema, and the phenomenon of male impersonators. Female Masculinity signals a new understanding of masculine behaviors and identities, and a new direction in interdisciplinary queer scholarship. Illustrated with nearly forty photographs, including portraits, film stills, and drag king performance shots, this book provides an extensive record of the wide range of female masculinities. And as Halberstam clearly demonstrates, female masculinity is not some bad imitation of virility, but a lively and dramatic staging of hybrid and minority genders.
Jack Halberstam Duke University Press, 1998 Library of Congress HQ75.5.H33 2018
In this quintessential work of queer theory, Jack Halberstam takes aim at the protected status of male masculinity and shows that female masculinity has offered a distinct alternative to it for well over two centuries. Demonstrating how female masculinity is not some bad imitation of virility, but a lively and dramatic staging of hybrid and minority genders, Halberstam catalogs the diversity of gender expressions among masculine women from nineteenth-century pre-lesbian practices to contemporary drag king performances.
Through detailed textual readings as well as empirical research, Halberstam uncovers a hidden history of female masculinities while arguing for a more nuanced understanding of gender categories that would incorporate rather than pathologize them. He rereads Anne Lister's diaries and Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness as foundational assertions of female masculine identity; considers the enigma of the stone butch and the politics surrounding butch/femme roles within lesbian communities; and explores issues of transsexuality among “transgender dykes”—lesbians who pass as men—and female-to-male transsexuals who may find the label of “lesbian” a temporary refuge. Halberstam also tackles such topics as women and boxing, butches in Hollywood and independent cinema, and the phenomenon of male impersonators.
Featuring a new preface by the author, this twentieth anniversary edition of Female Masculinity remains as insightful, timely, and necessary as ever.
What happens when a baby is born with “ambiguous” genitalia or a combination of “male” and “female” body parts? Clinicians and parents in these situations are confronted with complicated questions such as whether a girl can have XY chromosomes, or whether some penises are “too small” for a male sex assignment. Since the 1950s, standard treatment has involved determining a sex for these infants and performing surgery to normalize the infant’s genitalia. Over the past decade intersex advocates have mounted unprecedented challenges to treatment, offering alternative perspectives about the meaning and appropriate medical response to intersexuality and driving the field of those who treat intersex conditions into a deep crisis. Katrina Karkazis offers a nuanced, compassionate picture of these charged issues in Fixing Sex, the first book to examine contemporary controversies over the medical management of intersexuality in the United States from the multiple perspectives of those most intimately involved.
Drawing extensively on interviews with adults with intersex conditions, parents, and physicians, Karkazis moves beyond the heated rhetoric to reveal the complex reality of how intersexuality is understood, treated, and experienced today. As she unravels the historical, technological, social, and political forces that have culminated in debates surrounding intersexuality, Karkazis exposes the contentious disagreements among theorists, physicians, intersex adults, activists, and parents—and all that those debates imply about gender and the changing landscape of intersex management. She argues that by viewing intersexuality exclusively through a narrow medical lens we avoid much more difficult questions. Do gender atypical bodies require treatment? Should physicians intervene to control the “sex” of the body? As this illuminating book reveals, debates over treatment for intersexuality force reassessment of the seemingly natural connections between gender, biology, and the body.
"Fortune is a woman, and if you want to keep her under, you've got to knock her around some."—Niccolò Machiavelli
Hanna Pitkin's provocative and enduring study of Machiavelli was the first to systematically place gender at the center of its exploration of his political thought. In this edition, Pitkin adds a new afterword, in which she discusses the book's critical reception and situates the book's arguments in the context of recent interpretations of Machiavelli's thought.
"A close and often brilliant exegesis of Machiavelli's writings."—The American Political Science Review
One of the twentieth century’s most controversial sexologists—or “fuckologists,” to use his own memorable term—John Money was considered a trailblazing scientist and sexual libertarian by some, but damned by others as a fraud and a pervert. Money invented the concept of gender in the 1950s, yet fought its uptake by feminists. He backed surgical treatments for transsexuality, but argued that gender roles were set by reproductive capacity. He shaped the treatment of intersex, advocating experimental sex changes for children with ambiguous genitalia. He pioneered drug therapy for sex offenders, yet took an ambivalent stance towards pedophilia. In his most publicized case study, Money oversaw the reassignment of David Reimer as female following a circumcision accident in infancy. Heralded by many as proof that gender is pliable, the case was later discredited when Reimer revealed that he had lived as a male since his early teens.
In Fuckology, the authors contextualize and interrogate Money's writings and practices. The book focuses on his three key diagnostic concepts, “hermaphroditism,” “transsexualism,” and “paraphilia,” but also addresses his lesser-known work on topics ranging from animal behavior to the philosophy of science. The result is a comprehensive collection of new insights for researchers and students within cultural, historical, and gender studies, as well as for practitioners and activists in sexology, psychology, and patient rights.
How are culturally constructed stereotypes about appropriate sex-based behavior formed? If a person who is biologically female behaves in a stereotypically masculine manner, what are the social, political, and cultural forces that may police her behavior? And how will she manage her gendered image in response to that policing? Finally, how do race, ethnicity, or sexuality inform the way that sex-based roles are constructed, policed, or managed?
The chapters in this book address such questions from social science perspectives and then examine personal stories of reinvention and transformation, including discussions of the lives of dancers Isadora Duncan and Bill T. Jones, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, and surrealist artist Claude Cahun.Writers from fields as diverse as history, art, psychology, law, literature, sociology, and the activist community look at gender nonconformity from conceptual, theoretical, and empirical perspectives. They emphasize that gender nonconformists can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or anyone else who does not fit a model of Caucasian heterosexual behavior characterized by binary masculine and feminine roles.
Comparing various European and American historiographies from the past two hundred years, Gendering Historiography provides insights into the establishment and cultivation of gendered power relations in different societies and outlines the devastating effects that exclusionary practices can have on each national canon. This detailed and revealing book will change the face of history writing, bringing overlooked and previously excluded histories back into modern historiography.
In Going Stealth Toby Beauchamp demonstrates how the enforcement of gender conformity is linked to state surveillance practices that identify threats based on racial, gender, national, and ableist categories of difference. Positioning surveillance as central to our understanding of transgender politics, Beauchamp examines a range of issues, from bathroom bills and TSA screening practices to Chelsea Manning's trial, to show how security practices extend into the everyday aspects of our gendered lives. He brings the fields of disability, science and technology, and surveillance studies into conversation with transgender studies to show how the scrutinizing of gender nonconformity is motivated less by explicit transgender identities than by the perceived threat that gender nonconformity poses to the U.S. racial and security state. Beauchamp uses instances of gender surveillance to demonstrate how disciplinary power attempts to produce conformist citizens and regulate difference through discourses of security. At the same time, he contends that greater visibility and recognition for gender nonconformity, while sometimes beneficial, might actually enable the surveillance state to more effectively track, measure, and control trans bodies and identities.
How have major civilizations of the last two millennia treated people who were attracted to their own sex? In a narrative tour de force, Louis Crompton chronicles the lives and achievements of homosexual men and women alongside a darker history of persecution, as he compares the Christian West with the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, Arab Spain, imperial China, and pre-Meiji Japan.
Ancient Greek culture celebrated same-sex love in history, literature, and art, making high claims for its moral influence. By contrast, Jewish religious leaders in the sixth century B.C.E. branded male homosexuality as a capital offense and, later, blamed it for the destruction of the biblical city of Sodom. When these two traditions collided in Christian Rome during the late empire, the tragic repercussions were felt throughout Europe and the New World.
Louis Crompton traces Church-inspired mutilation, torture, and burning of "sodomites" in sixth-century Byzantium, medieval France, Renaissance Italy, and in Spain under the Inquisition. But Protestant authorities were equally committed to the execution of homosexuals in the Netherlands, Calvin's Geneva, and Georgian England. The root cause was religious superstition, abetted by political ambition and sheer greed. Yet from this cauldron of fears and desires, homoerotic themes surfaced in the art of the Renaissance masters--Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Sodoma, Cellini, and Caravaggio--often intertwined with Christian motifs. Homosexuality also flourished in the court intrigues of Henry III of France, Queen Christina of Sweden, James I and William III of England, Queen Anne, and Frederick the Great.
Anti-homosexual atrocities committed in the West contrast starkly with the more tolerant traditions of pre-modern China and Japan, as revealed in poetry, fiction, and art and in the lives of emperors, shoguns, Buddhist priests, scholars, and actors. In the samurai tradition of Japan, Crompton makes clear, the celebration of same-sex love rivaled that of ancient Greece.
Sweeping in scope, elegantly crafted, and lavishly illustrated, Homosexuality and Civilization is a stunning exploration of a rich and terrible past.
Table of Contents:
1. Early Greece: 776-480 BCE A Millennium of Greek Love Homer's Iliad Crete, Sparta, Chalcis Athletics and the Cult of Beauty Sappho Alcaeus, Ibycus, Anacreon Theognis of Megara Athens' Rulers The Tyrannicides
2. Judea: 900 BCE-600 CE The Judgment of Leviticus The Threat to Population Sodom's Gold Who Were the Kedeshim? Philo of Alexandria The Talmud
3. Classical Greece: 480-323 BCE Pindar's Odes Greek Tragedy Phidias The Comedies of Aristophanes Plato's Symposium The Phaedrus and the Laws Xenophon Aristotle's Dicta Zeno and the Stoics Aeschines' Against Timarchus The Sacred Band of Thebes Philip and Alexander
4. Rome and Greece: 200 BCE-138 CE Sexuality and Empire Cicero and Roman Politics Greek Love in the Aeneid Meleager and Callimachus Catullus and Tibullus Theocritus and "Corydon" Horace Ovid's Myths Lesbianism Petronius' Satyricon Suetonius and the Emperors Statius, Martial, Juvenal Hadrian and Antinous
5. Christians and Pagans: 1-565 CE The Gospels Intertestamental Judaism and Paul "Moses" and the Early Church Greek Love in Late Antiquity Plutarch's Dialogue on Love The Lucianic Dialogue Two Romances and an Epic Roman Law before Constantine The Edicts of 342 and 390 Sodom Transformed Saint John Chrysostom The Persecutions of Justinian
6. Darkness Descends: 476-1049 The Fall of Rome Visigothic Spain Church Councils and Penitentials The Carolingian Panic Love in Arab Spain The Growth of Canon Law The Book of Gomorrah
7. The Medieval World: 1050-1321 The Fortunes of Ganymede Scandal in High Places The Theological Assault The Inquisition and Its Allies The Fate of the Templars Secular Laws: The Sowing The Harvest Begins Poets for the Prosecution Dante's Admirable Sinners
8. Imperial China: 500 BCE-1840 A Peach, a Fish, and a Sleeve The Han Emperors Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism Poets and Lovers From Tang to Song Ming China: The West Reacts Feng Menglong's Anatomy of Love Fiction and Drama The Qing Dynasty The Peking Stage
9. Italy in the Renaissance: 1321-1609 A New Ethos and an Old Repression in the Italian City States Death in Venice Florence: The Price of Love Donatello, Botticelli, Leonardo Michelangelo: Love, Art, and Guilt Sodoma and Cellini Rome and Caravaggio
10. Spain and the Inquisition: 1506-1700 The Spanish Inquisition Subcultures in Valencia and Madrid The Inquisition in Portugal Spain and the New World
11. France from Calvin to Louis XIV: 1517-1715 Outings, Protestant and Catholic Calvinism and Repression Henry III and the "Mignons" The Poets' Revolt 9. Queen Christina Louis XIII, "The Just" Monsieur and Madame Six Generals Les Lesbiennes
12. England from the Reformation to William III: 1533-1702 Silence and Denial Monasteries and the Law Elizabethan Literature Christopher Marlowe The Tragedy of Edward II Shakespeare's Sonnets James VI and I Francis Bacon Puritanism and the Restoration Between Women William III in England
13. Pre-Meiji Japan: 800-1868 Europe Discovers Japan The Buddhist Priesthood Samurai and Shoguns No Drama and Kabuki A Debate and an Anthology Saikaku's Great Mirror Tokugawa Finale
14. Patterns of Persecution: 1700-1730 Policing Paris "Reforming" Britain Souls in Exile Witch Hunt in the Netherlands
15. Sapphic Lovers: 1700-1793 Law and Religion Romance and Innuendo A Nun and an Actress An Ill-Fated Queen
16. The Enlightenment: 1730-1810 Montesquieu and Beccaria Frederick the Great The Vagaries of Voltaire Diderot and Sade Toward Reform Bentham vs. Blackstone
Conclusion Notes Bibliography Acknowledgments Illustration Credits Index
Reviews of this book: In [this book], impressive for its breadth and readability, an early pioneer of gay and lesbian studies attempts the Herculean task of chronicling the history of homosexuality in Europe and parts of Asia from Homer to the 18th century. In a series of short vignettes, Crompton...relates the 'rich and terrible' stories of men and women who have been immortalized, celebrated, shunned or executed for the special attention they paid to members of their own sex. Two chapters on China and Japan are a welcome addition to the usual Eurocentric focus. --Publishers Weekly
Reviews of this book: Brilliantly researched...Crompton, drawing on his immense erudition, contrasts Christianity and its barbaric cruelty toward same-sex love with more benign traditions in Moorish Spain...[He] also discusses the cult of romantic homosexuality in traditional Japan, where relationships of intense loyalty and idealism sprang up between the samurai and their pages. --Edmund White, Los Angeles Times
Reviews of this book: In Louis Crompton's sober, searching and somber new history, Homosexuality and Civilization, homosexuality is associated with the inner workings of civilization itself...It begins in the gladness of early Greece, where homosexuality had an 'honored place' for more than a millennium, and concludes with the madness of 19th-century Europe. In between is what Mr. Crompton calls a 'kaleidoscope of horrors' lasting more than 1,500 years...This is a restrained, careful, clear book of scholarly exposition." --Edward Rothstein, New York Times
Reviews of this book: Beginning where one would suspect--the ancient Greeks--Crompton puts a particular emphasis on Eastern social history in pursuing his narrative of the evolving place of homosexuality all the way to the Enlightenment. A key Crompton theme is that while much of Western civilization officially persecuted homosexuals throughout the ages, whatever the hypocrisy involved, in many Eastern cultures--including pre-modern China and samurai Japan--'the celebration of same-sex love rivaled that of ancient Greece.' --Toronto Star
Reviews of this book: Even after the explosion of literature on gay issues since the 1970s, comprehensive examinations of homosexuality in history have been few. An exception is Louis Crompton's new Homosexuality and Civilization, a sweeping account that was 18 years in the making. Crompton, a professor emeritus of English at the University of Nebraska, presents both a catalog of horrific abuse and persecution in the West and a surprising history of tolerance in some Eastern cultures, such as Japan, where homosexuality was 'an honored way of life among the country's religious and military leaders.' --Julian Sanchez, Reason
Reviews of this book: Based on the best recent scholarship and providing an overview of homosexuality from the Greeks to the end of the 18th century, this levelheaded, easy-to-read volume confirms the fact that homosexuality has had a long history (with periods of greater or less tolerance)...The result is the best historical overview of the topic that this reviewer has read. --V. L. Bullough, Choice
Reviews of this book: When Europeans first arrived in the Americas they found men engaged in erotic entanglements virtually on the quayside. They responded with the horror their religion had implanted in them, holding out their bibles and shouting 'Abomination! Devilry! Witchcraft!' The problem was they found the same thing almost everywhere they set foot in East Asia. China and Japan both looked on this kind of activity with a cool shrug of the shoulders. But as the Europeans' colonizing push gathered force, the hangings, disembowelment by mastiffs and burnings alive (especially popular) began to appear in these regions as well...This is a major work...It will be the first book future researchers in the topic turn to, and what they will find is a magisterial survey that delivers the fruits of a lifetime's study. Everything in the field is touched on and weighed in the balance. --Bradley Winterton, Taipei Times
An encyclopedic survey of homosexuality in Western and non-Western civilizations. Crompton's writing is lively, vivid and refreshing--a pleasure to read. Anyone interested in looking at homosexuality from a comparative and historical point of view will want to own this book. --David Greenberg, author of The Construction of Homosexuality
A minor masterpiece. Each chapter is a small work of art in itself. Crompton's discussion of Sapphic love is the best general treatment of lesbian suffering that I have seen. Though passionate, Homosexuality and Civilization is articulate, balanced, and theoretically sound--accessible to beginners and informative for specialists as well. --William A. Percy, coeditor of Encyclopedia of Homosexuality
A master work of interpretive scholarship. Before this exhaustive and exhilarating study, a long shelf of books considered the intersection of homosexuality and civilization. Now there is one that does it all. Crompton's lifetime of academic gay activism powers this erudite, entertaining distillation of same-sex politics, practices, and passions across centuries and through cultures. He was born to write this book; generations yet unborn will draw knowledge and strength from it. --Richard Labonte, Q Syndicate columnist and former general manager, A Different Light bookstores
A one-of-a-kind, page-turning tour through gay history--one of the richest reading experiences in recent memory. This magnificent book educates us, startles us, and, by turns, reassures us as it traces the widespread cultural wellsprings of the changing forces of homosexuality. Crompton has crafted an utterly thrilling tour de force that succeeds in reinventing what we know about gay life across cultures and ages. This impressively detailed, eminently illuminating, and thoroughly enjoyable book should be on every gay person's--and every thinking person's--must-read list. --David Rosen, Editor-in-Chief, InsightOutBooks
A treasure trove of compelling information. This marvelous book, covering not simply the Western tradition but China and Japan as well, is sure to become fundamental reading in gay and lesbian studies. Crompton dazzles the reader with his exhaustive research and incisive analyses. Not since the work of the late John Boswell has a scholar brought such a brilliant light to bear on earlier evidence of same-sex affections. --Karla Jay, author of Tales of the Lavender Menace
In seemingly exhaustive arguments about identity as a category of analysis, we have made a critical error—one that Michael Hames-García sets out to correct in this revisionary look at the making and meaning of social identities. We have asked how separate identities—of race, class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality—come to intersect. Instead, Hames-García proposes, we should begin by understanding such social identities as mutually constituting one another.
Grounded in both theoretical and political practices—in the lived realities of people’s experience—Identity Complex reinvigorates identity as a key concept and as a tool for the pursuit of social justice. Hames-García draws on a wide range of examples to show that social identities are central to how exploitation works, such as debates about the desirability of sexual minority identities in postcolonial contexts, questions about the reality of race, and the nature of the U.S. prison crisis.
Unless we understand precisely how identities take shape in relation to each other and within contexts of oppression, he contends, we will never be able to eradicate discrimination and social inequality. By analyzing the social interdependence of identities, Hames-García seeks to enable the creation of deep connections of solidarity across differences.
Imagining Transgender is an ethnography of the emergence and institutionalization of transgender as a category of collective identity and political activism. Embraced by activists in the early 1990s to advocate for gender-variant people, the category quickly gained momentum in public health, social service, scholarly, and legislative contexts. Working as a safer-sex activist in Manhattan during the late 1990s, David Valentine conducted ethnographic research among mostly male-to-female transgender-identified people at drag balls, support groups, cross-dresser organizations, clinics, bars, and clubs. However, he found that many of those labeled “transgender” by activists did not know the term or resisted its use. Instead, they self-identified as “gay,” a category of sexual rather than gendered identity and one rejected in turn by the activists who claimed these subjects as transgender. Valentine analyzes the reasons for and potential consequences of this difference, and how social theory is implicated in it.
Valentine argues that “transgender” has been adopted so rapidly in the contemporary United States because it clarifies a model of gender and sexuality that has been gaining traction within feminism, psychiatry, and mainstream gay and lesbian politics since the 1970s: a paradigm in which gender and sexuality are distinct arenas of human experience. This distinction and the identity categories based on it erase the experiences of some gender-variant people—particularly poor persons of color—who conceive of gender and sexuality in other terms. While recognizing the important advances transgender has facilitated, Valentine argues that a broad vision of social justice must include, simultaneously, an attentiveness to the politics of language and a recognition of how social theoretical models and broader political economies are embedded in the day-to-day politics of identity.
Over the course of a distinguished career, critic Leo Bersani has tackled a range of issues in his writing, and this collection gathers together some of his finest work. Beginning with one of the foundations of queer theory—his famous meditation on how sex leads to a shattering of the self, “Is the Rectum a Grave?”—this volume charts the inspired connections Bersani has made between sexuality, psychoanalysis, and aesthetics.
Over the course of these essays, Bersani grapples with thinkers ranging from Plato to Descartes to Georg Simmel. Foucault and Freud recur as key figures, and although Foucault rejected psychoanalysis, Bersani contends that by considering his ideas alongside Freud’s, one gains a clearer understanding of human identity and how we relate to one another. For Bersani, art represents a crucial guide for conceiving new ways of connecting to the world, and so, in many of these essays, he stresses the importance of aesthetics, analyzing works by Genet, Caravaggio, Proust, Almodóvar, and Godard.
Documenting over two decades in the life of one of the best minds working in the humanities today, Is the Rectum a Grave? and Other Essays is a unique opportunity to explore the fruitful career of a formidable intellect.
Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender
edited by Olga Gershenson and Barbara Penner, foreword by Judith Plaskow, afterword by Peter Greenaway Temple University Press, 2009 Library of Congress GT476.L34 2009 | Dewey Decimal 628.4508
Public toilets provide a unique opportunity for interrogating how conventional assumptions about the body, sexuality, privacy, and technology are formed in public spaces and inscribed through design across cultures. This collection of original essays from international scholars is the first to explore the cultural meanings, histories, and ideologies of public toilets as gendered spaces.
Ladies and Gents consists of two sets of essays. The first, "Potty Politics: Toilets, Gender and Identity," establishes the importance of accessible, secure public toilets to the creation of inclusive cities, work, and learning environments. The second set of essays, "Toilet Art: Design and Cultural Representations," discusses public toilets as spaces of representation and representational spaces, with reference to architectural design, humor, film, theater, art, and popular culture. Compelling visual materials and original artwork are included throughout, depicting subjects as varied as female urinals, art installations sited in public restrooms, and the toilet in contemporary art.
Taken together, these seventeen essays demonstrate that public toilets are often sites where gendered bodies compete for resources and recognition—and the stakes are high.
Contributors include: Nathan Abrams, Jami L. Anderson, Johan Andersson, Kathryn H. Anthony, Kathy Battista, Andrew Brown-May, Ben Campkin, Meghan Dufresne, Peg Fraser, Deborah Gans, Clara Greed, Robin Lydenberg, Claudia Mitchell, Alison Moore, Frances Pheasant-Kelly, Bushra Rehman, Alex Schweder, Naomi Stead, and the editors.
Lessons from the Intersexed
Kessler, Suzanne J Rutgers University Press, 1998 Library of Congress RC883.K47 1998 | Dewey Decimal 616.694
From the moment intersexuality-the condition of having physical gender markers (genitals, gonads, or chromosomes) that are neither clearly female nor male-is suspected and diagnosed, social institutions are mobilized in order to maintain the two seemingly objective sexual categories. Infants' bodies are altered, and what was "ambiguous" is made "normal." Kessler's interviews with pediatric surgeons and endocrinologists reveal how the intersex condition is normalized for parents and she argues that the way in which intersexuality is managed by the medical and psychological professions displays our culture's beliefs about gender and genitals.
Parents of intersexed children are rarely heard from, but in this book they provide another perspective on reasons for genital surgeries and the quality of medical and psychological management. Although physicians educate parents about how to think about their children's condition, Kessler learned from parents of intersexed children that some parents are able to accept atypical genitals. Based on analysis of the medical literature and interview with adults who had received treatment as interesexed children, Kessler proposes new approaches for physicians to use in talking with parents and children. She also evaluates the appearance of a politicized vanguard, many of who are promoting an intersexual identity, who seek to alter the way physicians respond to intersexuality.
Kessler explores the possibilities and implications of suspending a commitment to two "natural" genders and addresses gender destabilization issues arising from intersexuality. She thus compels readers to re-think the meaning of gender, genitals, and sexuality.
Despite its centrality to much of contemporary personal and public discourse, sexuality remains infrequently discussed in most composition courses, and in our discipline at large. Moreover, its complicated relationship to discourse, to the very languages we use to describe and define our worlds, is woefully understudied in our discipline. Discourse about sexuality, and the discourse of sexuality, surround us—circulating in the news media, on the Web, in conversations, and in the very languages we use to articulate our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It forms a core set of complex discourses through which we approach, make sense of, and construct a variety of meanings, politics, and identities.
In Literacy, Sexuality, Pedagogy, Jonathan Alexander argues for the development of students' "sexual literacy." Such a literacy is not just concerned with developing fluency with sexuality as a "hot" topic, but with understanding the intimate interconnectedness of sexuality and literacy in Western culture. Using the work of scholars in queer theory, sexuality studies, and the New Literacy Studies, Alexander unpacks what he sees as a crucial--if often overlooked--dimension of literacy: the fundamental ways in which sexuality has become a key component of contemporary literate practice, of the stories we tell about ourselves, our communities, and our political investments.
Alexander then demonstrates through a series of composition exercises and writing assignments how we might develop students' understanding of sexual literacy. Examining discourses of gender, heterosexuality, and marriage allows students (and instructors) a critical opportunity to see how the languages we use to describe ourselves and our communities are saturated with ideologies of sexuality. Understanding how sexuality is constructed and deployed as a way to "make meaning" in our culture gives us a critical tool both to understand some of the fundamental ways in which we know ourselves and to challenge some of the norms that govern our lives. In the process, we become more fluent with the stories that we tell about ourselves and discover how normative notions of sexuality enable (and constrain) narrations of identity, culture, and politics. Such develops not only our understanding of sexuality, but of literacy, as we explore how sexuality is a vital, if vexing, part of the story of who we are.
After the Great War, British men and women grappled with their ignorance about sexuality and desire. Seeking advice and information from doctors, magazines, and each other, they wrote tens of thousands of letters about themselves as sexual subjects. In these letters, they disclosed their uncertainties, their behaviors, and the role of sexuality in their lives. Their fascinating narratives tell how people sought to unleash their imaginations and fashion new identities.
Making Modern Love shows how readers embraced popular media—self-help books, fetish magazines, and advice columns—as a source of information about sexuality and a means for telling their own stories. From longings for transcendent marital union to fantasies of fetish-wear, cross-dressing, and whipping, men and women revealed a surprising range of desires and behaviors (queer and otherwise) that have been largely disregarded until now.
Lisa Sigel mines these provocative narratives to understand how they contributed to new subjectivities and the development of modern sexualities.
Daring new theories of masculinity, built from a large and geographically diverse interview study of transgender men
American masculinity is being critiqued, questioned, and reinterpreted for a new era. In Men in Place Miriam J. Abelson makes an original contribution to this conversation through in-depth interviews with trans men in the U.S. West, Southeast, and Midwest, showing how the places and spaces men inhabit are fundamental to their experiences of race, sexuality, and gender.
Men in Place explores the shifting meanings of being a man across cities and in rural areas. Here Abelson develops the insight that individual men do not have one way to be masculine—rather, their ways of being men shift between different spaces and places. She reveals a widespread version of masculinity that might be summed up as “strong when I need to be, soft when I need to be,” using the experiences of trans men to highlight the fundamental construction of manhood for all men.
With an eye to how societal institutions promote homophobia, transphobia, and racism, Men in Place argues that race and sexuality fundamentally shape safety for men, particularly in rural spaces, and helps us to better understand the ways that gender is created and enforced.
Micro-Politics was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Patricia S. Mann explains our current period as a time of social transformation resulting from an "unmooring" of women, men, and children from the nuclear family, gender relations having replaced economic relations as the primary site of social tension and change in our lives. The feminist movement has evolved, according to Mann, into a popularly based postfeminist struggle to reconstruct relationships between women and men within everyday contexts of work, family, education, and politics.
Mann formulates a "postmodern" theory of political agency, utilizing it to explain political events such as the Hill-Thomas Senate hearings and their social aftermath. While liberal and progressive theories have explained political agency in terms of individual or group forms of identity, Mann suggests another alternative. Individuals such as Anita Hill are drawn into socially meaningful struggles in the context of their daily lives-as we all are potentially participating in micro-political forms of activism in a variety of institutional contexts. These dynamic micropolitical situations involve intersecting dimensions of race, class, and sexuality, as well as gender. Within specific conflicts, individuals rearticulate their notions of desire and responsibility, and their expectations for recognition and reward; according to Mann political agency resides in these choices. Addressing some of the most important controversies in political philosophy, Mann weaves together strands of the "participatory politics" of the 1960s and the multicultural politics of the 1990s. In doing so, she offers a new basis for understanding social change.
This groundbreaking collection of LGBTQ prayers, poems, liturgy, and rituals is both a spiritual resource and a celebratory affirmation of Jewish diversity. Giving voice to the private and public sectors of queer Jewish experience, Mishkan Ga'avah is also a commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of both the Stonewall Riots and the first pride march, reflecting the longtime advocacy of the Reform Movement for full LGBTQ inclusion.
Descendants of indentured laborers brought from India to the Caribbean between 1845 and 1917 comprise more than forty percent of Trinidad’s population today. While many Indo-Trinidadians identify themselves as Indian, what “Indian” signifies—about nationalism, gender, culture, caste, race, and religion—in the Caribbean is different from what it means on the subcontinent. Yet the ways that “Indianness” is conceived of and performed in India and in Trinidad have historically been, and remain, intimately related. Offering an innovative analysis of how ideas of Indian identity negotiated within the Indian diaspora in Trinidad affect cultural identities “back home,” Tejaswini Niranjana models a necessary project: comparative research across the global South, scholarship that decenters the “first world” West as the referent against which postcolonial subjects understand themselves and are understood by others.
Niranjana draws on nineteenth-century travel narratives, anthropological and historical studies of Trinidad, Hindi film music, and the lyrics, performance, and reception of chutney-soca and calypso songs to argue that perceptions of Indian female sexuality in Trinidad have long been central to the formation and disruption of dominant narratives of nationhood, modernity, and normative sexuality in India. She illuminates debates in India about “the woman question” as they played out in the early-twentieth-century campaign against indentured servitude in the tropics. In so doing, she reveals India’s disavowal of the indentured woman—viewed as morally depraved by her forced labor in Trinidad—as central to its own anticolonial struggle. Turning to the present, Niranjana looks to Trinidad’s most dynamic site of cultural negotiation: popular music. She describes how contested ideas of Indian femininity are staged by contemporary Trinidadian musicians—male and female, of both Indian and African descent—in genres ranging from new hybrids like chutney-soca to the older but still vibrant music of Afro-Caribbean calypso.
The follow-up to the groundbreaking Black Queer Studies, the edited collection No Tea, No Shade brings together nineteen essays from the next generation of scholars, activists, and community leaders doing work on black gender and sexuality. Building on the foundations laid by the earlier volume, this collection's contributors speak new truths about the black queer experience while exemplifying the codification of black queer studies as a rigorous and important field of study. Topics include "raw" sex, pornography, the carceral state, gentrification, gender nonconformity, social media, the relationship between black feminist studies and black trans studies, the black queer experience throughout the black diaspora, and queer music, film, dance, and theater. The contributors both disprove naysayers who believed black queer studies to be a passing trend and respond to critiques of the field's early U.S. bias. Deferring to the past while pointing to the future, No Tea, No Shade pushes black queer studies in new and exciting directions.
Contributors. Jafari S. Allen, Marlon M. Bailey, Zachary Shane Kalish Blair, La Marr Jurelle Bruce, Cathy J. Cohen, Jennifer DeClue, Treva Ellison, Lyndon K. Gill, Kai M. Green, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Kwame Holmes, E. Patrick Johnson, Shaka McGlotten, Amber Jamilla Musser, Alison Reed, Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, Tanya Saunders, C. Riley Snorton, Kaila Story, Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley, Julia Roxanne Wallace, Kortney Ziegler
Pretty in Punk combines autobiography, interviews, and sophisticated analysis to create the first insider’s examination of the ways punk girls resist gender roles and create strong identities.
Why would an articulate, intelligent, thoughtful young women shave off most of her hair, dye the remainder green, shape it into a mohawk, and glue it onto her head? What attracts girls to male-dominated youth subcultures like the punk movement? What role does the subculture play in their perceptions of themselves, and in their self-esteem? How do girls reconcile a subcultural identity that is deliberately coded “masculine” with the demands of femininity?
Research has focused on the ways media and cultural messages victimize young women, but little attention has been paid to the ways they resist these messages. In Pretty in Punk, Lauraine Leblanc examines what happens when girls ignore these cultural messages, parody ideas of beauty, and refuse to play the games of teenage femininity. She explores the origins and development of the punk subculture, the processes by which girls decide to “go punk,” patterns of resistance to gender norms, and tactics girls use to deal with violence and harassment.
Pretty in Punk takes readers into the lives of girls living on the margins of contemporary culture. Drawing on interviews with 40 girls and women between the ages of 14-37, Leblanc examines the lives of her subjects, illuminating their forms of rebellion and survival. Pretty in Punk lets readers hear the voices of these women as they describe the ways their constructions of femininity—from black lipstick to slamdancing—allow them to reject damaging cultural messages and build strong identities. The price they pay for resisting femininity can be steep—girls tell of parental rejection, school expulsion, institutionalization, and harassment. Leblanc illuminates punk girls’ resistance to adversity, their triumphs over tough challenges, and their work to create individual identities in a masculine world.
Since the mid-1980s, the Islamic Republic of Iran has permitted, and partially subsidized, sex reassignment surgery. In Professing Selves, Afsaneh Najmabadi explores the meaning of transsexuality in contemporary Iran. Combining historical and ethnographic research, she describes how, in the postrevolutionary era, the domains of law, psychology and psychiatry, Islamic jurisprudence, and biomedicine became invested in distinguishing between the acceptable "true" transsexual and other categories of identification, notably the "true" homosexual, an unacceptable category of existence in Iran. Najmabadi argues that this collaboration among medical authorities, specialized clerics, and state officials—which made transsexuality a legally tolerated, if not exactly celebrated, category of being—grew out of Iran's particular experience of Islamicized modernity. Paradoxically, state regulation has produced new spaces for non-normative living in Iran, since determining who is genuinely "trans" depends largely on the stories that people choose to tell, on the selves that they profess.
"A major contribution in women's studies and in other disciplines
dealing with issues of agency. The authors raise issues that are very
important . . . and they raise them as they must be raised--by bridging
theory and action." -- Kathryn Pine Addelson, author of Moral Passages: Toward a Collectivist Moral Theory
Both the women's liberation movement and those who have studied it characterize
agency as the capacity to make change in individual consciousness, personal
lives, and society. The seventeen contributors to Provoking Agents
explore whether--and how--feminist theory, writing, and other social practices
can help readers move beyond seeing women as a powerless group to effecting
changes in their own lives and, ultimately, becoming social activists.
Topics in this multi-disciplinary collection range from maternal surrogacy
to writing, from consciousness-raising to AIDS activism, from pornography
to local organizing
Pills replaced the couch; neuroscience took the place of talk therapy; and as psychoanalysis faded from the scene, so did the castrating mothers and hysteric spinsters of Freudian theory. Or so the story goes. In Prozac on the Couch, psychiatrist Jonathan Michel Metzl boldly challenges recent psychiatric history, showing that there’s a lot of Dr. Freud encapsulated in late-twentieth-century psychotropic medications. Providing a cultural history of treatments for depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses through a look at the professional and popular reception of three “wonder drugs”—Miltown, Valium, and Prozac—Metzl explains the surprising ways Freudian gender categories and popular gender roles have shaped understandings of these drugs.
Prozac on the Couch traces the notion of “pills for everyday worries” from the 1950s to the early twenty-first century, through psychiatric and medical journals, popular magazine articles, pharmaceutical advertisements, and popular autobiographical "Prozac narratives.” Metzl shows how clinical and popular talk about these medications often reproduces all the cultural and social baggage associated with psychoanalytic paradigms—whether in a 1956 Cosmopolitan article about research into tranquilizers to “cure” frigid women; a 1970s American Journal of Psychiatry ad introducing Jan, a lesbian who “needs” Valium to find a man; or Peter Kramer’s description of how his patient “Mrs. Prozac” meets her husband after beginning treatment.
Prozac on the Couch locates the origins of psychiatry’s “biological revolution” not in the Valiumania of the 1970s but in American popular culture of the 1950s. It was in the 1950s, Metzl points out, that traditional psychoanalysis had the most sway over the American imagination. As the number of Miltown prescriptions soared (reaching 35 million, or nearly one per second, in 1957), advertisements featuring uncertain brides and unfaithful wives miraculously cured by the “new” psychiatric medicines filled popular magazines. Metzl writes without nostalgia for the bygone days of Freudian psychoanalysis and without contempt for psychotropic drugs, which he himself regularly prescribes to his patients. What he urges is an increased self-awareness within the psychiatric community of the ways that Freudian ideas about gender are entangled in Prozac and each new generation of wonder drugs. He encourages, too, an understanding of how ideas about psychotropic medications have suffused popular culture and profoundly altered the relationship between doctors and patients.
Children are thoroughly, shockingly queer, as Kathryn Bond Stockton explains in The Queer Child, where she examines children’s strangeness, even some children’s subliminal “gayness,” in the twentieth century. Estranging, broadening, darkening forms of children emerge as this book illuminates the child queered by innocence, the child queered by color, the child queered by Freud, the child queered by money, and the grown homosexual metaphorically seen as a child (or as an animal), alongside the gay child. What might the notion of a “gay” child do to conceptions of the child? How might it outline the pain, closets, emotional labors, sexual motives, and sideways movements that attend all children, however we deny it?
Engaging and challenging the work of sociologists, legal theorists, and historians, Stockton coins the term “growing sideways” to describe ways of growing that defy the usual sense of growing “up” in a linear trajectory toward full stature, marriage, reproduction, and the relinquishing of childish ways. Growing sideways is a mode of irregular growth involving odd lingerings, wayward paths, and fertile delays. Contending that children’s queerness is rendered and explored best in fictional forms, including literature, film, and television, Stockton offers dazzling readings of works ranging from novels by Henry James, Radclyffe Hall, Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, and Vladimir Nabokov to the movies Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Hanging Garden, Heavenly Creatures, Hoop Dreams, and the 2005 remake of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The result is a fascinating look at children’s masochism, their interactions with pedophiles and animals, their unfathomable, hazy motives (leading them at times into sex, seduction, delinquency, and murder), their interracial appetites, and their love of consumption and destruction through the alluring economy of candy.
In The Queer Games Avant-Garde, Bonnie Ruberg presents twenty interviews with twenty-two queer video game developers whose radical, experimental, vibrant, and deeply queer work is driving a momentous shift in the medium of video games. Speaking with insight and candor about their creative practices as well as their politics and passions, these influential and innovative game makers tell stories about their lives and inspirations, the challenges they face, and the ways they understand their places within the wider terrain of video game culture. Their insights go beyond typical conversations about LGBTQ representation in video games or how to improve “diversity” in digital media. Instead, they explore queer game-making practices, the politics of queer independent video games, how queerness can be expressed as an aesthetic practice, the influence of feminist art on their work, and the future of queer video games and technology. These engaging conversations offer a portrait of an influential community that is subverting and redefining the medium of video games by placing queerness front and center.
Interviewees: Ryan Rose Aceae, Avery Alder, Jimmy Andrews, Santo Aveiro-Ojeda, Aevee Bee, Tonia B******, Mattie Brice, Nicky Case, Naomi Clark, Mo Cohen, Heather Flowers, Nina Freeman, Jerome Hagen, Kat Jones, Jess Marcotte, Andi McClure, Llaura McGee, Seanna Musgrave, Liz Ryerson, Elizabeth Sampat, Loren Schmidt, Sarah Schoemann, Dietrich Squinkifer, Kara Stone, Emilia Yang, Robert Yang
“This book is an imagining.” So begins this collection examining critical, Indigenous-centered approaches to understanding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and Two-Spirit (GLBTQ2) lives and communities and the creative implications of queer theory in Native studies. This book is not so much a manifesto as it is a dialogue—a “writing in conversation”—among a luminous group of scholar-activists revisiting the history of gay and lesbian studies in Indigenous communities while forging a path for Indigenouscentered theories and methodologies.
The bold opening to Queer Indigenous Studies invites new dialogues in Native American and Indigenous studies about the directions and implications of queer Indigenous studies. The collection notably engages Indigenous GLBTQ2 movements as alliances that also call for allies beyond their bounds, which the co-editors and contributors model by crossing their varied identities, including Native, trans, straight, non-Native, feminist, Two-Spirit, mixed blood, and queer, to name just a few.
Rooted in the Indigenous Americas and the Pacific, and drawing on disciplines ranging from literature to anthropology, contributors to Queer Indigenous Studies call Indigenous GLBTQ2 movements and allies to center an analysis that critiques the relationship between colonialism and heteropatriarchy. By answering critical turns in Indigenous scholarship that center Indigenous epistemologies and methodologies, contributors join in reshaping Native studies, queer studies, transgender studies, and Indigenous feminisms.
Based on the reality that queer Indigenous people “experience multilayered oppression that profoundly impacts our safety, health, and survival,” this book is at once an imagining and an invitation to the reader to join in the discussion of decolonizing queer Indigenous research and theory and, by doing so, to partake in allied resistance working toward positive change.
Employing rootedness as a way of understanding identity has increasingly been subjected to acerbic political and theoretical critiques. Politically, roots narratives have been criticized for attempting to police identity through a politics of purity—excluding anyone who doesn’t share the same narrative. Theoretically, a critique of essentialism has led to a suspicion against essence and origins regardless of their political implications.
The central argument of Queer Roots for the Diaspora is that, in spite of these debates, ultimately the desire for roots contains the “roots” of its own deconstruction. The book considers alternative root narratives that acknowledge the impossibility of returning to origins with any certainty; welcome sexual diversity; acknowledge their own fictionality; reveal that even a single collective identity can be rooted in multiple ways; and create family trees haunted by the queer others patrilineal genealogy seems to marginalize.
The roots narratives explored in this book simultaneously assert and question rooted identities within a number of diasporas—African, Jewish, and Armenian. By looking at these together, one can discern between the local specificities of any single diaspora and the commonalities inherent in diaspora as a global phenomenon. This comparatist, interdisciplinary study will interest scholars in a diversity of fields, including diaspora studies, postcolonial studies, LGBTQ studies, French and Francophone studies, American studies, comparative literature, and literary theory.
Queering the Color Line transforms previous understandings of how homosexuality was “invented” as a category of identity in the United States beginning in the late nineteenth century. Analyzing a range of sources, including sexology texts, early cinema, and African American literature, Siobhan B. Somerville argues that the emerging understanding of homosexuality depended on the context of the black/white “color line,” the dominant system of racial distinction during this period. This book thus critiques and revises tendencies to treat race and sexuality as unrelated categories of analysis, showing instead that race has historically been central to the cultural production of homosexuality. At about the same time that the 1896 Supreme Court Plessy v. Ferguson decision hardened the racialized boundary between black and white, prominent trials were drawing the public’s attention to emerging categories of sexual identity. Somerville argues that these concurrent developments were not merely parallel but in fact inextricably interrelated and that the discourses of racial and sexual “deviance” were used to reinforce each other’s terms. She provides original readings of such texts as Havelock Ellis’s late nineteenth-century work on “sexual inversion,” the 1914 film A Florida Enchantment, the novels of Pauline E. Hopkins, James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, and Jean Toomer’s fiction and autobiographical writings, including Cane. Through her analyses of these texts and her archival research, Somerville contributes to the growing body of scholarship that focuses on discovering the intersections of gender, race, and sexuality. Queering the Color Line will have broad appeal across disciplines including African American studies, gay and lesbian studies, literary criticism, cultural studies, cinema studies, and gender studies.
Although in recent years scholars have explored the cultural construction of masculinity, they have largely ignored the ways in which masculinity intersects with other categories of identity, particularly those of race and ethnicity. The essays in Race and the Subject of Masculinities address this concern and focus on the social construction of masculinity—black, white, ethnic, gay, and straight—in terms of the often complex and dynamic relationships among these inseparable categories. Discussing a wide range of subjects including the inherent homoeroticism of martial-arts cinema, the relationship between working-class ideologies and Elvis impersonators, the emergence of a gay, black masculine aesthetic in the works of James Van der Zee and Robert Mapplethorpe, and the comedy of Richard Pryor, Race and the Subject of Masculinities provides a variety of opportunities for thinking about how race, sexuality, and "manhood" are reinforced and reconstituted in today’s society. Editors Harry Stecopoulos and Michael Uebel have gathered together essays that make clear how the formation of masculine identity is never as obvious as it might seem to be. Examining personas as varied as Eddie Murphy, Bruce Lee, Tarzan, Malcolm X, and Andre Gidé, these essays draw on feminist critique and queer theory to demonstrate how cross-identification through performance and spectatorship among men of different races and cultural backgrounds has served to redefine masculinity in contemporary culture. By taking seriously the role of race in the making of men, Race and the Subject of Masculinities offers an important challenge to the new studies of masculinity.
Contributors. Herman Beavers, Jonathan Dollimore, Richard Dyer, Robin D. G. Kelly, Christopher Looby, Leerom Medovoi, Eric Lott, Deborah E. McDowell, José E. Muñoz, Harry Stecopoulos, Yvonne Tasker, Michael Uebel, Gayle Wald, Robyn Wiegman
This book offers a fresh interpretation of the connection between the West German Catholic Church and post-1950s political debates on women’s reproductive rights and the protection of life in West Germany. According to Tichenor, Catholic women in West Germany, influenced by the culture of consumption, the sexual revolution, Vatican II reforms, and feminism, sought to renegotiate their relationship with the Church. They demanded a more active role in Church ministries and challenged the Church’s hierarchical and gendered view of marriage and condemnation of artificial contraception. When the Church refused to compromise, women left en masse. In response, the Church slowly stitched together a new identity for a postsecular age, employing an elaborate nuptial symbolism to justify its stance on celibacy, women’s ordination, artificial contraception, abortion, and reproductive technologies. Additionally, the Church returned to a radical interventionist agenda that embraced issue-specific alliances with political parties other than the Christian parties. In her conclusion, Tichenor notes more recent setbacks to the German Catholic Church, including disappointment with the reactionary German Pope Benedict XVI and his failure in 2010 to address over 250 allegations of sexual abuse at twenty-two of Germany’s twenty-seven dioceses. How the Church will renew itself in the twenty-first century remains unclear. This closely observed case study, which bridges religious, political, legal, and women’s history, will interest scholars and students of twentieth-century European religious history, modern Germany, and the intersection of Catholic Church practice and women’s issues.
In The Right to Maim Jasbir K. Puar brings her pathbreaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to bear on our understanding of disability. Drawing on a stunning array of theoretical and methodological frameworks, Puar uses the concept of “debility”—bodily injury and social exclusion brought on by economic and political factors—to disrupt the category of disability. She shows how debility, disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations. Puar's analysis culminates in an interrogation of Israel's policies toward Palestine, in which she outlines how Israel brings Palestinians into biopolitical being by designating them available for injury. Supplementing its right to kill with what Puar calls the right to maim, the Israeli state relies on liberal frameworks of disability to obscure and enable the mass debilitation of Palestinian bodies. Tracing disability's interaction with debility and capacity, Puar offers a brilliant rethinking of Foucauldian biopolitics while showing how disability functions at the intersection of imperialism and racialized capital.
From concerns over the bullying of LGBTQ youth and battles over sex education to the regulation of sexual activity and the affirmation of queer youth identity, sexuality saturates the school day. Rather than understand these conflicts as an interruption to the work of education, Jen Gilbert explores how sexuality comes to bear on and to enliven teaching and learning.
Gilbert investigates the breakdowns, clashes, and controversies that flare up when sexuality enters spaces of schooling. Education must contain the volatility of sexuality, Gilbert argues, and yet, when education seeks to limit the reach of sexuality, it risks shutting learning down. Gilbert penetrates this paradox by turning to fiction, film, legal case studies, and personal experiences. What, she asks, can we learn about school from a study of sexuality?
By examining the strange workings of sexuality in schools, Gilbert draws attention to the explosive but also compelling force of erotic life in teaching and learning. Ultimately, this book illustrates how the most intimate of our experiences can come to shape how we see and act in the world.
The essays in Skin Deep, Spirit Strong: The Black Female Body in American Culture chart the ways that the simultaneous interrogation of gender, race, and corporeality shape the construction of black female representation. Kimberly Wallace-Sanders has enlisted a wide variety of scholarly perspectives and critical approaches about the place of black women's bodies within the American cultural consciousness. An impressive gathering of essays and visual art by feminist scholars and artists, the book presents a persuasive argument for broadening the ongoing scholarly conversations about the body. It makes clear that the most salient discourses in poststructuralist and feminist theory are made richer and more complex when the black female body is considered.
The collection blends original and classic essays to reveal the interconnections among art, literature, public policy, the history of medicine, and theories about sexuality with regard to bodies that are both black and female. Contributors include Rachel Adams, Elizabeth Alexander, Lisa Collins, Bridgette Davis, Lisa E.Farrington, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Evelynn Hammonds, Terri Kapsalis, Jennifer L. Morgan, Siobhan B. Somerville, Kimberly Wallace-Sanders, Carla Williams, and Doris Witt.
Skin Deep, Spirit Strong: The Black Female Body in American Culture will appeal to both the academic reader attempting to integrate race into discussion about the female body and to the general reader curious about the history of black female representation.
Kimberly Wallace-Sanders is Assistant Professor, Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts and Institute of Women's Studies, Emory University.
The typical female sports fan remains very different from her male counterparts. In their insightful and engaging book, Sportista, Andrei S. Markovits and Emily Albertson examine the significant ways many women have become fully conversant with sports—acquiring a knowledge of and passion for them as a way of forging identities that until recently were quite alien to women.
Sportista chronicles the relationship that women have developed with sports in the wake of the second wave of feminism of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The changes women athletes have achieved have been nothing short of revolutionary. But, as Markovits and Albertson argue, women’s identities as sports fans, though also changed in recent decades, remain notably different from that of men. Sportista highlights the impediments to these changes that women have faced and the reality that, even as bona fide fans, they “speak” sports differently from and remain largely unaccepted by men.
In the series Politics, History and Social Change, edited by John C. Torpey
Toby Miller Temple University Press, 2002 Library of Congress GV706.2.M55 2001 | Dewey Decimal 306.483
Sportsex examines the landscape of sports writ globally. And it is about the way sport allows men and women—but mostly men—to consider their looks, their vitality, and their relationship to their gender in ways that would be considered taboo in any other context.Miller pays particular attention to the way celebrity is considered around the world through a number of different athletic activities. Along the way he also offers his own personal connection to sport as both a researcher and recipient of its abuses and pleasures.In a world where everything is considered in its relationship to globalization, sport is one of the few arenas of social life that can be concretely seen in international terms. Sportsex opens that world up in a way that is accessible and significant for anyone interested in the shape of our emerging world culture.
Representing some of the most exciting work in critical ethnic studies, the essays in this collection examine the production of racialized, gendered, and sexualized difference, and the possibilities for progressive coalitions, or the “strange affinities,” afforded by nuanced comparative analyses of racial formations. The nationalist and identity-based concepts of race underlying the mid-twentieth-century movements for decolonization and social change are not adequate to the tasks of critiquing the racial configurations generated by neocolonialism and contesting its inequities. Contemporary regimes of power produce racialized, gendered, and sexualized violence and labor exploitation, and they render subjects redundant and disposable by creating new, nominally nonracialized categories of privilege and stigma. The editors of Strange Affinities contend that the greatest potential for developing much-needed alternative comparative methods lies in women of color feminism, and the related intellectual tradition that Roderick A. Ferguson has called queer of color critique. Exemplified by the work of Audre Lorde, Cherríe Moraga, Barbara Smith, and the Combahee River Collective, these critiques do not presume homogeneity across racial or national groups. Instead, they offer powerful relational analyses of the racialized, gendered, and sexualized valuation and devaluation of human life.
Contributors Victor Bascara Lisa Marie Cacho M. Bianet Castellanos Martha Chew Sánchez Roderick A. Ferguson Grace Kyungwon Hong Helen H. Jun Kara Keeling Sanda Mayzaw Lwin Jodi Melamed Chandan Reddy Ruby C. Tapia Cynthia Tolentino
This book takes the process of "reading the body" into the fields at the forefront of culture—the vast spaces mapped by science and technology—to show that the body in high-tech is as gendered as ever. From female body building to virtual reality, from cosmetic surgery to cyberpunk, from reproductive medicine to public health policies to TV science programs, Anne Balsamo articulates the key issues concerning the status of the body for feminist cultural studies in a postmodern world. Technologies of the Gendered Body combines close readings of popular texts—such as Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, the movie Pumping Iron II: The Women, cyberpunk magazines, and mass media—with analyses of medical literature, public policy documents, and specific technological practices. Balsamo describes the ways in which certain biotechnologies are ideologically shaped by gender considerations and other beliefs about race, physical abilities, and economic and legal status. She presents a view of the conceptual system that structures individuals’ access to and participation in these technologies, as well as an overview of individuals’ rights and responsibilities in this sometimes baffling area. Examining the ways in which the body is gendered in its interactions with new technologies of corporeality, Technologies of the Gendered Body counters the claim that in our scientific culture the material body has become obsolete. With ample evidence that the techno-body is always gendered and marked by race, this book sets the stage for a renewed feminist engagement with contemporary technological narratives.
Marquis Bey’s debut collection, Them Goon Rules, is an un-rulebook, a long-form essayistic sermon that meditates on how Blackness and nonnormative gender impact and remix everything we claim to know.
A series of essays that reads like a critical memoir, this work queries the function and implications of politicized Blackness, Black feminism, and queerness. Bey binds together his personal experiences with social justice work at the New York–based Audre Lorde Project, growing up in Philly, and rigorous explorations of the iconoclasm of theorists of Black studies and Black feminism. Bey’s voice recalibrates itself playfully on a dime, creating a collection that tarries in both academic and nonacademic realms.
Fashioning fugitive Blackness and feminism around a line from Lil’ Wayne’s “A Millie,” Them Goon Rules is a work of “auto-theory” that insists on radical modes of thought and being as a refrain and a hook that is unapologetic, rigorously thoughtful, and uncompromising.
Winner of the 2017 Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies from the Center for LGBTQ Studies (CLAGS)
From Caitlyn Jenner to Laverne Cox, transgender people have rapidly gained public visibility, contesting many basic assumptions about what gender and embodiment mean. The vibrant discipline of Trans Studies explores such challenges in depth, building on the insights of queer and feminist theory to raise provocative questions about the relationships among gender, sexuality, and accepted social norms.
Trans Studies is an interdisciplinary essay collection, bringing together leading experts in this burgeoning field and offering insights about how transgender activism and scholarship might transform scholarship and public policy. Taking an intersectional approach, this theoretically sophisticated book deeply grounded in real-world concerns bridges the gaps between activism and academia by offering examples of cutting-edge activism, research, and pedagogy.
Winner of the 2017 Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies from the Center for LGBTQ Studies (CLAGS)
From Caitlyn Jenner to Laverne Cox, transgender people have rapidly gained public visibility, contesting many basic assumptions about what gender and embodiment mean. The vibrant discipline of Trans Studies explores such challenges in depth, building on the insights of queer and feminist theory to raise provocative questions about the relationships among gender, sexuality, and accepted social norms.
Trans Studies is an interdisciplinary essay collection, bringing together leading experts in this burgeoning field and offering insights about how transgender activism and scholarship might transform scholarship and public policy. Taking an intersectional approach, this theoretically sophisticated book deeply grounded in real-world concerns bridges the gaps between activism and academia by offering examples of cutting-edge activism, research, and pedagogy.
In Unsettling Assumptions, editors Pauline Greenhill and Diane Tye examine how tradition and gender come together to unsettle assumptions about culture and its study.
Contributors explore the intersections of traditional expressive culture and sex/gender systems to question, investigate, or upset concepts like family, ethics, and authenticity. Individual essays consider myriad topics such as Thanksgiving turkeys, rockabilly and bar fights, Chinese tales of female ghosts, selkie stories, a noisy Mennonite New Year’s celebration, the Distaff Gospels, Kentucky tobacco farmers, international adoptions, and more.
In Unsettling Assumptions, folkloric forms express but also counteract negative aspects of culture like misogyny, homophobia, and racism. But expressive culture also emerges as fundamental to our sense of belonging to a family, an occupation, or friendship group and, most notably, to identity performativity and the construction and negotiation of power.
Focusing on the historical and contemporary narration of the Partition of India, Violent Belongings examines transnational South Asian culture from 1947 onwards. Spanning the Indian subcontinent and its diasporas in the United Kingdom and the United States, it asks how postcolonial/diasporic literature (eg., Rushdie, Mistry, Sidwa and Lahiri), Bollywood film, personal testimonies and journalism represent the violence, migration and questions of national belonging unleashed by that pivotal event during which two million people died and sixteen million were displaced.
In addition to challenging the official narratives of independence and Partition, these narratives challenge our contemporary understanding of gender and ethnicity in history and politics. Violent Belongings argues that both male and female bodies, and heterosexual coupledom, became symbols of the nation in public life. In the newly independent Indian nation both men and women were transformed into ideal citizens or troubling bodies, immigrants or refugees, depending on whether they were ethnically Hindu, Muslim, Jewish or Sikh. The divisions set in motion during Partition continue into our own time and account for ethnic violence in South Asia.
This collection breaks new ground in the area of gender studies both because it creates a name for gender fantasy--virtual gender--that introduces a new understanding of the concept, and in expanding the idea of virtuality to include people and events in history. The essays in Virtual Gender help identify and name the persistent cultural desire for an imaginative space in which to "put on" alternative gender identities, while examining as well the equally persistent and consequent critique of that desire.
The sweep of the volume's coverage is impressive, ranging across historical periods and academic disciplines, as contributors consider the place of the body in gender fantasy and the consequences of gender fantasy for real people and real bodies. The essays investigate figures and topics including Amelia Earhart, soap-opera chat groups, Elizabeth I, mesmerism, lesbianism in the early modern period, cybergames, women in the federalist period, the transgendered body, and performance art. Also examined are the status of embodiment, the origins of gender, gender politics, the pains of subjectivity, the uses of utopian fantasy, technological advances and information technology, the experience of gendered communities, and the role of gender in global politics.
Contributors include Harriette Andreadis, Seyla Benhabib, Charlotte Canning, Bernice Hausman, Janel Mueller, Mary Ann O'Farrell, Kay Schaffer, Sidonie Smith, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Helen F. Thompson, Lynne Vallone, and Robyn Warhol. The book will appeal to an interdisciplinary audience of scholars, critics, and students with interests in gender, identity, and cyberculture.
Mary Ann O'Farrell is Associate Professor of English, Texas A & M University. Lynne Vallone is Associate Professor of English, Texas A & M University.
With Respect to Sex is an intimate ethnography that offers a provocative account of sexual and social difference in India. The subjects of this study are hijras or the "third sex" of India—individuals who occupy a unique, liminal space between male and female, sacred and profane.
Hijras are men who sacrifice their genitalia to a goddess in return for the power to confer fertility on newlyweds and newborn children, a ritual role they are respected for, at the same time as they are stigmatized for their ambiguous sexuality. By focusing on the hijra community, Gayatri Reddy sheds new light on Indian society and the intricate negotiations of identity across various domains of everyday life. Further, by reframing hijra identity through the local economy of respect, this ethnography highlights the complex relationships among local and global, sexual and moral, economies.
This book will be regarded as the definitive work on hijras, one that will be of enormous interest to anthropologists, students of South Asian culture, and specialists in the study of gender and sexuality.