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In a Queer Time and Place

Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives

Judith Halberstam

Publication Year: 2005

In her first book since the critically acclaimed Female Masculinity, Judith Halberstam examines the significance of the transgender body in a provocative collection of essays on queer time and space. She presents a series of case studies focused on the meanings of masculinity in its dominant and alternative forms’especially female and trans-masculinities as they exist within subcultures, and are appropriated within mainstream culture.

In a Queer Time and Place opens with a probing analysis of the life and death of Brandon Teena, a young transgender man who was brutally murdered in small-town Nebraska. After looking at mainstream representations of the transgender body as exhibited in the media frenzy surrounding this highly visible case and the Oscar-winning film based on Brandon's story, Boys Don’t Cry, Halberstam turns her attention to the cultural and artistic production of queers themselves. She examines the “transgender gaze,” as rendered in small art-house films like By Hook or By Crook, as well as figurations of ambiguous embodiment in the art of Del LaGrace Volcano, Jenny Saville, Eva Hesse, Shirin Neshat, and others. She then exposes the influence of lesbian drag king cultures upon hetero-male comic films, such as Austin Powers and The Full Monty, and, finally, points to dyke subcultures as one site for the development of queer counterpublics and queer temporalities.

Considering the sudden visibility of the transgender body in the early twenty-first century against the backdrop of changing conceptions of space and time, In a Queer Time and Place is the first full-length study of transgender representations in art, fiction, film, video, and music. This pioneering book offers both a jumping off point for future analysis of transgenderism and an important new way to understand cultural constructions of time and place.

Published by: NYU Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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p. v


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pp. vii-viii

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1 Queer Temporality and Postmodern Geographies

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pp. 1-21

"This book makes the perhaps overly ambitious claim that there is such a thing as 'queer time' and 'queer space.' Queer uses of time and space develop, at least in part, in opposition to the institutions of family, heterosexuality, and reproduction. They also develop according to other logics of location, movement, and identification. If we try to think about queerness as..."

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2 The Brandon Archive

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pp. 22-46

"Our relations to place, like our relations to people, are studded with bias, riven with contradictions, and complicated by opaque emotional responses. I am one of those people for whom lonely rural landscapes feel laden with menace, and for many years nonurban areas were simply 'out there,' strange and distant horizons populated by hostile populations. It is still true that a..."

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3 Unlosing Brandon

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pp. 47-75

"The act of remembering, says poet and essayist Anne Carson, 'connects what is lost to what is here.' And to be unlost is to exist in that space between retrieval and obliteration where erasure waits on one side and something well short of salvation waits on the other side. In many ways, Brandon exists among the unlost; he is actively remembered by people who never knew..."

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4 The Transgender Look

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pp. 76-96

"In the last two chapters, we have seen how an archive of print and visual materials have accumulated around the figure of Brandon Teena, a young transgender man who defied the social mandate to be and to have a singular gender identity. Here, I continue to build on that archive with a consideration of the feature film Boys Don’t Cry, but I also try to expand the archive of visual..."

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5 Technotopias

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pp. 97-124

"Contemporary images of gender-ambiguous bodies by artists like Del La-Grace Volcano, Linda Besemer, and Jenny Saville, when considered in conjunction with the surprising success of the transgender film Boys Don’t Cry and the subcultural popularity of By Hook or by Crook, imply that the transgender body represents something particular about the historical moment..."

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6 Oh Behave!

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pp. 125-151

"There has been much ink spilled in popular media and popular queer culture about the intimate relations shared between gay men and straight women. The 'fag hag' role has indeed become a staple of popular film, and at least part of the explanation for how gay male culture and gay male images have so thoroughly penetrated popular film and television cultures has to do with..."

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7 What’s That Smell?

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pp. 152-187

"In the last chapter, I examined relays of influence between dominant and minority representations of eccentric gendering. Mainstream films like The Full Monty and Austin Powers might borrow or even pilfer an aesthetics of drag and gender construction from subcultural sources, and they then tend to..."


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pp. 189-192


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pp. 193-201


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pp. 203-212

About the Author

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p. 213

E-ISBN-13: 9780814790892
E-ISBN-10: 0814790895
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814735848
Print-ISBN-10: 0814735843

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2005

OCLC Number: 835382481
MUSE Marc Record: Download for In a Queer Time and Place

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Transgender people in literature.
  • Marginality, Social.
  • Gender identity.
  • Sex role.
  • Transgender people in motion pictures.
  • Teena, Brandon, 1972-1993.
  • Transgenderism.
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