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Medievalism and the Myth of White Masculinity in Southern Literature
For the U.S. South, the myth of chivalric masculinity dominates the cultural and historical landscape. Visions of white southern men as archetypes of honor and gentility run throughout regional narratives with little regard for the actions and, at times, the atrocities committed by such men. In Queer Chivalry, Tison Pugh exposes the inherent contradictions in these depictions of cavalier manhood, investigating the foundations of southern gallantry as a reincarnated and reauthorized version of medieval masculinity. Pugh argues that the idea of masculinity -- particularly as seen in works by prominent southern authors from Mark Twain to Ellen Gilchrist -- constitutes a cultural myth that queerly demarcates accepted norms of manliness, often by displaying the impossibility of its achievement.
Beginning with Twain's famous critique of "the Sir Walter disease" that pilloried the South, Pugh focuses on authors who questioned the code of chivalry by creating protagonists whose quests for personal knighthood prove quixotic. Through detailed readings of major works -- including Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Flannery O'Connor's short fiction, John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, Robert Penn Warren's A Place to Come To, Walker Percy's novels, and Gilchrist's The Annunciation -- Pugh demonstrates that the hypermasculinity of white-knight ideals only draws attention to the ambiguous gender of the literary southern male.
Employing insights from gender and psychoanalytic theory, Queer Chivalry contributes to recent critical discussions of the cloaked anxieties about gender and sexuality in southern literature. Ultimately, Pugh uncovers queer limits in the cavalier mythos, showing how facts and fictions contributed to the ideological formulation of the South.
Gay Modernists, American Music, and National Identity
In this vibrant and pioneering book, Nadine Hubbs shows how a gifted group of Manhattan-based gay composers were pivotal in creating a distinctive "American sound" and in the process served as architects of modern American identity. Focusing on a talented circle that included Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Leonard Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, Paul Bowles, David Diamond, and Ned Rorem, The Queer Composition of America's Sound homes in on the role of these artists' self-identification—especially with tonal music, French culture, and homosexuality—in the creation of a musical idiom that even today signifies "America" in commercials, movies, radio and television, and the concert hall.
Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi
In September 1897 Yone Noguchi (1875–1947) contemplated crafting a poem to his new love, western writer Charles Warren Stoddard. Recently arrived in California, Noguchi was in awe of the established writer and the two had struck up a passionate correspondence. Still, he viewed their relationship as doomed—not by the scandal of their same-sex affections, but their introverted dispositions and differences in background. In a poem dedicated to his “dearest Charlie,” Noguchi wrote: “Thou and I, O Charles, sit alone like two shy stars, east and west!” While confessing his love to Stoddard, Noguchi had a child (future sculptor Isamu Noguchi) with his editor, Léonie Gilmour; became engaged to Washington Post reporter Ethel Armes; and upon his return to Japan married Matsu Takeda—all within a span of seven years. According to author Amy Sueyoshi, Noguchi was not a dedicated polyamorist: He deliberately deceived the three women, to whom he either pretended or promised marriage while already married. She argues further that Noguchi’s intimacies point to little-known realities of race and sexuality in turn-of-the-century America and illuminate how Asian immigrants negotiated America’s literary and arts community. As Noguchi maneuvered through cultural and linguistic differences, his affairs additionally assert how Japanese in America could forge romantic fulfillment during a period historians describe as one of extreme sexual deprivation and discrimination for Asians, particularly in California. Moreover, Noguchi’s relationships reveal how individuals who engaged in seemingly defiant behavior could exist peaceably within prevailing moral mandates. His unexpected intimacies in fact relied upon existing social hierarchies of race, sexuality, gender, and nation that dictated appropriate and inappropriate behavior. In fact, Noguchi, Stoddard, Gilmour, and Armes at various points contributed to the ideological forces that compelled their intimate lives. Through the romantic life of Yone Noguchi, Queer Compulsions narrates how even the queerest of intimacies can more provocatively serve as a reflection of rather than a revolt from existing social inequality. In unveiling Noguchi’s interracial and same-sex affairs, it attests to the complex interaction between lived sexualities and socio-legal mores as it traces how one man negotiated affection across cultural, linguistic, and moral divides to find fulfillment in unconventional yet acceptable ways. Queer Compulsions will be a welcome contribution to Asian American, gender, and sexuality studies and the literature on male and female romantic friendships. It will also forge a provocative link between these disciplines and Asian studies.
Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire
Treating such issues as animal sex, species politics, environmental justice, lesbian space and "gay" ghettos, AIDS literatures, and queer nationalities, this lively collection asks important questions at the intersections of sexuality and environmental studies. Contributors from a wide range of disciplines present a focused engagement with the critical, philosophical, and political dimensions of sex and nature. These discussions are particularly relevant to current debates in many disciplines, including environmental studies, queer theory, critical race theory, philosophy, literary criticism, and politics. As a whole, Queer Ecologies stands as a powerful corrective to views that equate "natural" with "straight" while "queer" is held to be against nature.
Gender, Sexuality, and Class in the Fairy-Tale Cinema of Jacques Demy
To the uninitiated, the films of French New Wave director Jacques Demy can seem strange and even laughable, with their seemingly gaudy color schemes and sung dialogue. Yet since the late 1990s, a generation of queer filmmakers in France have found new inspiration in Demy's cinema. In this volume, author Anne E. Duggan examines Jacques Demy's queer sensibility in connection with another understudied characteristic of his oeuvre: his recurrent use of the fairy tale. In Queer Enchantments: Gender, Sexuality, and Class in the Fairy-Tale Cinema of Jacques Demy, Duggan demonstrates that Demy uses fairy-tale devices to explore and expand the identity categories of his characters, while he broadens the possibilities of the genre of the fairy tale through his cinematic revisions. In each chapter, Duggan examines how Demy strategically unfolds, challenges, and teases out the subversive qualities of fairy-tale paradigms. In chapter 1, Duggan reads Demy's Lola and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg through the lens of "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty," while in chapter 2, she explores Demy's revision of Charles Perrault's "Donkey Skin" from the particular angle of gay aesthetics. In chapter 3, Duggan situates Demy's rendition of The Pied Piper in relation to a specifically Franco-American tradition of the legend, which thus far has not received critical attention. Finally, in Chapter 4, she examines the ways in which Demy's Lady Oscar represents the undoing of the figure of the maiden warrior. An epilogue reads Demy's fairy-tale cinema as exemplary of the postmodern tale. Duggan shows that Demy's cinema heightens the inherent tensions and troubles that were always already present in fairy-tale texts and uses them to illustrate both the constraints and utopian possibilities of the fairy tale. Both film and fairy-tale studies scholars will enjoy Duggan's fresh look at the distinctive cinema of Jacques Demy.
Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism
Globalization has a taste for queer cultures. Whether in advertising, film, performance art, the internet, or in the political discourses of human rights in emerging democracies, queerness sells and the transnational circulation of peoples, identities and social movements that we call "globalization" can be liberating to the extent that it incorporates queer lives and cultures. From this perspective, globalization is seen as allowing the emergence of queer identities and cultures on a global scale.
The essays in Queer Globalizations bring together scholars of postcolonial and lesbian and gay studies in order to examine from multiple perspectives the narratives that have sought to define globalization. In examining the tales that have been spun about globalization, these scholars have tried not only to assess the validity of the claims made for globalization, they have also attempted to identify the tactics and rhetorical strategies through which these claims and through which global circulation are constructed and operate.
Contributors include Joseba Gabilondo, Gayatri Gopinath, Janet Ann Jakobsen, Miranda Joseph, Katie King, William Leap, Lawrence LaFountain-Stokes, Bill Maurer, Cindy Patton, Chela Sandoval, Ann Pellegrini, Silviano Santiago, and Roberto Strongman.
Interraciality, Same Sex Desire, and Contemporary African American Culture
This book analyzes representative works of African American fiction, film, and music in which interracial desire appears in the context of same sex desire. In close readings of these "texts," Stefanie K. Dunning explores the ways in which the interracial intersects with queerness, blackness, whiteness, class, and black national identity. She shows that representations of interracial desire do not follow the logic of racial exclusion. Instead they are metaphorical and anti-biological. Rather than diluting race, interracial desire makes race visible. By invoking the interracial, black gay and lesbian artists can remake our conception of blackness.
Viewing contemporary Latin American films through the lens of queer studies reveals that many filmmakers are exploring issues of gender identity and sexual difference, as well as the homophobia that attempts to defeat any challenge to the heterosexual norms of patriarchal culture. In this study of queer issues in Latin American cinema, David William Foster offers highly perceptive queer readings of fourteen key films to demonstrate how these cultural products promote the principles of an antiheterosexist stance while they simultaneously disclose how homophobia enforces the norms of heterosexuality. Foster examines each film in terms of the ideology of its narrative discourse, whether homoerotic desire or a critique of patriarchal heterosexism and its implications for Latin American social life and human rights. His analyses underscore the difficulties involved in constructing a coherent and convincing treatment of the complex issues involved in critiquing the patriarchy from perspectives associated with queer studies. The book will be essential reading for everyone working in queer studies and film studies.
Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces
According to the 2000 census, Latinos/as have become the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. Images of Latinos and Latinas in mainstream news and in popular culture suggest a Latin Explosion at center stage, yet the topic of queer identity in relation to Latino/a America remains under examined.
Juana Mar'a Rodr'guez attempts to rectify this dearth of scholarship in Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces, by documenting the ways in which identities are transformed by encounters with language, the law, culture, and public policy. She identifies three key areas as the project’s case studies: activism, primarily HIV prevention; immigration law; and cyberspace. In each, Rodríguez theorizes the ways queer Latino/a identities are enabled or constrained, melding several theoretical and methodological approaches to argue that these sites are complex and dynamic social fields.
As she moves the reader from one disciplinary location to the other, Rodríguez reveals the seams of her own academic engagement with queer latinidad. This deftly crafted work represents a dynamic and innovative approach to the study of identity formation and representation, making a vital contribution to a new reformulation of gender and sexuality studies.
Black Lesbian Literature and Irresolution
The Queer Limit of Black Memory: Black Lesbian Literature and Irresolution identifies a new archive of Black women’s literature that has heretofore been on the margins of literary scholarship and African diaspora cultural criticism. It argues that Black lesbian texts celebrate both the strategies of resistance used by queer Black subjects and the spaces for grieving the loss of queer Black subjects that dominant histories of the African diasporas often forget. Matt Richardson has gathered an understudied archive of texts by LaShonda Barnett, S. Diane Adamz-Bogus, Dionne Brand, Sharon Bridgforth, Laurinda D. Brown, Jewelle Gomez, Jackie Kay, and Cherry Muhanji in order to relocate the queerness of Black diasporic vernacular traditions, including drag or gender performance, blues, jazz, and West African spiritual and religious practices. Richardson argues that the vernacular includes queer epistemologies, or methods for accessing and exploring the realities of Black queer experience that other alternative archives and spaces of commemoration do not explore. The Queer Limit of Black Memory brings together several theorists whose work is vital within Black studies—Fred Moten, Saidiya Hartman, Hortense Spillers, Frantz Fanon, and Orlando Patterson—in service of queer readings of Black subjectivity.