The relationship between religious belief and sexuality as personal attributes exhibits some provocative comparisons. Despite the nonestablishment of religion in the United States and the constitutional guarantee of free exercise, Christianity functions as the religious and moral standard in America. Ethical views that do not fit within this consensus often go unrecognized as moral values. Similarly, in the realm of sexual orientation, heterosexuality is seen as the yardstick by which sexual practices are measured. The notion that "alternative" sexual practices like homosexuality could possess ethical significance is often overlooked or ignored.
In her new book, An Argument for Same-Sex Marriage, political scientist Emily Gill draws an extended comparison between religious belief and sexuality, both central components of one’s personal identity. Using the religion clause of the First Amendment as a foundation, Gill contends that, just as US law and policy ensure that citizens may express religious beliefs as they see fit, it should also ensure that citizens may marry as they see fit. Civil marriage, according to Gill, is a public institution, and the exclusion of some couples from a state institution is a public expression of civic inequality.
An Argument for Same-Sex Marriage is a passionate and timely treatment of the various arguments for and against same-sex marriage and how those arguments reflect our collective sense of morality and civic equality. It will appeal to readers who have an interest in gay and lesbian studies, political theory, constitutional law, and the role of religion in the contemporary United States.
This new book for scholars and university administrators offers a provocative critique of sexual justice language and policy in higher education around the concept of consent. Complicating the idea that consent is plain common sense, Campuses of Consent shows how normative and inaccurate concepts about gender, gender identity, and sexuality erase queer or trans students’ experiences and perpetuate narrow, regressive gender norms and individualist frameworks for understanding violence.
Theresa A. Kulbaga and Leland G. Spencer prove that consent in higher education cannot be meaningfully separated from larger issues of institutional and structural power and oppression. While sexual assault advocacy campaigns, such as It’s On Us, federal legislation from Title IX to the Clery Act, and more recent affirmative-consent measures tend to construct consent in individualist terms, as something “given” or “received” by individuals, the authors imagine consent as something that can be constructed systemically and institutionally: in classrooms, campus communication, and shared campus spaces.
Winner of the 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Over the past two decades, same-sex couples raising children have become more visible within US political and popular culture. Thanks to widely circulated images of well-mannered, well-dressed, and well-off two-parent families, a select number of LGBT-identified parents have gained recognition as model American citizens. In Familiar Perversions, Liz Montegary shows how this seemingly progressive view of same-sex parenting has taken shape during a period of growing racial inequality and economic insecurity in the United States. This book evaluates the recent successes of the “family equality” movement, while asking important questions about its relationship to neoliberalism, the policing of sexual cultures, and the broader context of social justice organizing at the turn of the twenty-first century.
Montegary’s investigation of the politics of LGBT family life takes us on a journey that includes not only activist events and the courtrooms where landmark decisions about same-sex families were made, but also parenting workshops, cruise ships, and gay resort towns. Through its sustained historical analysis, Familiar Perversions lays critical groundwork for imagining a queer family movement that can support and strengthen the diverse networks of care, kinship, and intimacy on which our collective survival depends.
The first full-length study of same-sex love in any period of Russian or Soviet history, Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia investigates the private worlds of sexual dissidents during the pivotal decades before and after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Using records and archives available to researchers only since the fall of Communism, Dan Healey revisits the rich homosexual subcultures of St. Petersburg and Moscow, illustrating the ambiguous attitude of the late Tsarist regime and revolutionary rulers toward gay men and lesbians. Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia reveals a world of ordinary Russians who lived extraordinary lives and records the voices of a long-silenced minority.
Intricate Relations charts the development of the novel in and beyond the early republic in relation to these two thematic and intricately connected centers: sexuality and economics. By reading fiction written by Americans between 1789 and 1814 alongside medical theory, political and economic tracts, and pedagogical literature of all kinds, Karen Weyler recreates and illuminates the larger, sometimes opaque, cultural context in which novels were written, published, and read.
In 1799, the novelist Charles Brockden Brown used the evocative phrase “intricate relations” to describe the complex imbrication of sexual and economic relations in the early republic. Exploring these relationships, he argued, is the chief job of the “moral historian,” a label that most novelists of the era embraced. In a republic anxious about burgeoning individualism in the 1790s and the first two decades of the nineteenth century, the novel foregrounded sexual and economic desires and explored ways to regulate the manner in which they were expressed and gratified.
In Intricate Relations, Weyler argues that understanding how these issues underlie the novel as a genre is fundamental to understanding both the novels themselves and their role in American literary culture. Situating fiction amid other popular genres illuminates how novelists such as Charles Brockden Brown, Hannah Foster, Samuel Relf, Susanna Rowson, Rebecca Rush, and Sally Wood synthesized and iterated many of the concerns expressed in other forms of public discourse, a strategy that helped legitimate their chosen genre and make it a viable venue for discussion in the decades following the revolution.
Weyler’s passionate and persuasive study offers new insights into the civic role of fiction in the early republic and will be of great interest to literary theorists and scholars in women’s and American studies.
During Prohibition, “Harlem was the ‘in’ place to go for music and booze,” recalled the African American chanteuse Bricktop. “Every night the limousines pulled up to the corner,” and out spilled affluent whites, looking for a good time, great jazz, and the unmatchable thrill of doing something disreputable.
That is the indelible public image of slumming, but as Chad Heap reveals in this fascinating history, the reality is that slumming was far more widespread—and important—than such nostalgia-tinged recollections would lead us to believe. From its appearance as a “fashionable dissipation” centered on the immigrant and working-class districts of 1880s New York through its spread to Chicago and into the 1930s nightspots frequented by lesbians and gay men, Slumming charts the development of this popular pastime, demonstrating how its moralizing origins were soon outstripped by the artistic, racial, and sexual adventuring that typified Jazz-Age America. Vividly recreating the allure of storied neighborhoods such as Greenwich Village and Bronzeville, with their bohemian tearooms, rent parties, and “black and tan” cabarets, Heap plumbs the complicated mix of curiosity and desire that drew respectable white urbanites to venture into previously off-limits locales. And while he doesn’t ignore the role of exploitation and voyeurism in slumming—or the resistance it often provoked—he argues that the relatively uninhibited mingling it promoted across bounds of race and class helped to dramatically recast the racial and sexual landscape of burgeoning U.S. cities.
Packed with stories of late-night dance, drink, and sexual exploration—and shot through with a deep understanding of cities and the habits of urban life—Slumming revives an era that is long gone, but whose effects are still felt powerfully today.