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Critical Readings from Kant to Adorno
In Queer Social Philosophy, Randall Halle analyzes key texts in the tradition of German critical theory from the perspective of contemporary queer theory, exposing gender and sexuality restrictions that undermine those texts' claims of universal truth. Addressing such figures as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Adorno, and Habermas, Halle offers a unique contribution to contemporary debates about sexuality, civil society, and politics.
Queer theory essays on time and becoming in the fields of literature, philosophy, film, and performance. 'If queer theorists have agreed on anything, it is that for queer thought to have any specificity at all, it must be characterized by becoming, the constant breaking of habits. Queer Times, Queer Becomings explores queer articulations of time and becoming in literature, philosophy, film, and performance. Whether in the contexts of psychoanalysis, the nineteenth-century discourses of evolution and racial sciences, or the daily rhythms of contemporary, familially oriented communities, queerness has always been marked by a peculiar untimeliness, by a lack of proper orientation in terms of time as much as social norms. Yet it is the skewed relation to the temporal norm that also gives queerness its singular hope. This is demonstrated by the essays collected here as they consider the ways in which queer theory has acknowledged, resisted, appropriated, or refused divergent models of temporality.
From Franco to LA MOVIDA
Gema Pérez-Sánchez argues that the process of political and cultural transition from dictatorship to democracy in Spain can be read allegorically as a shift from a dictatorship that followed a self-loathing “homosexual” model to a democracy that identified as a pluralized “queer” body. Focusing on the urban cultural phenomenon of la movida, she offers a sustained analysis of high queer culture, as represented by novels, along with an examination of low queer culture, as represented by comic books and films. Pérez-Sánchez shows that urban queer culture played a defining role in the cultural and political processes that helped to move Spain from a premodern, fascist military dictatorship to a late-capitalist, parliamentary democracy. The book highlights the contributions of women writers Ana María Moix and Cristina Peri Rossi, as well as comic book artists Ana Juan, Victoria Martos, Ana Miralles, and Asun Balzola. Its attention to women’s cultural production functions as a counterpoint to its analysis of the works of such male writers as Juan Goytisolo and Eduardo Mendicutti, comic book artists Nazario, Rubén, and Luis Pérez Ortiz, and filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar.
Identities, Sexualities, and the Theater of Gender
More than any other area of late-twentieth-century thinking, gender theory and its avatars have been to a large extent a Franco-American invention. In this book, a leading Franco-American scholar traces differences and intersections in the development of gender and queer theories on both sides of the Atlantic. Looking at these theories through lenses that are both “American” and “French,” thus simultaneously retrospective and anticipatory, she tries to account for their alleged exhaustion and currency on the two sides of the Atlantic. The book is divided into four parts. In the first, the author examines two specifically “American” features of gender theories since their earliest formulations: on the one hand, an emphasis on the theatricality of gender (from John Money’s early characterization of gender as “role playing” to Judith Butler’s appropriation of Esther Newton’s work on drag queens); on the other, the early adoption of a “queer” perspective on gender issues. In the second part, the author reflects on a shift in the rhetoric concerning sexual minorities and politics that is prevalent today. Noting a shift from efforts by oppressed or marginalized segments of the population to make themselves “heard” to an emphasis on rendering themselves “visible,” she demonstrates the formative role of the American civil rights movement in this new drive to visibility. The third part deals with the travels back and forth across the Atlantic of “sexual difference,” ever since its elevation to the status of quasi-concept by psychoanalysis. Tracing the “queering” of sexual difference, the author reflects on both the modalities and the effects of this development. The last section addresses the vexing relationship between Western feminism and capitalism. Without trying either to commend or to decry this relationship, the author shows its long-lasting political and cultural effects on current feminist and postfeminist struggles and discourses. To that end, she focuses on one of the intense debates within feminist and postfeminist circles, the controversy over prostitution.
Melissa M. Wilcox explores the complex spiritual lives of queer women in the Los Angeles area. She takes the reader on a tour of a colorful array of religious and secular groups that serve as spiritual resources for these women -- from the well-known Metropolitan Community Churches to Wiccan covens, from the Gay and Lesbian Sierrans to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Arguing that these women's stories are exemplary cases of postmodern patterns of religious identity, belief, and practice, Wilcox offers a nuanced analysis of contemporary Western spirituality and selfhood, and a detailed exploration of the history of queer religious organizing in Los Angeles. Queer Women and Religious Individualism is important reading for scholars in religious studies, sociology, women's studies, and LGBT studies.
"Radically reorienting, challenging, provocative, this book moves progressive philosophy, feminist and queer theory, critical discussions of race and racism forward. Prophetically, it calls for an interrogation of all our oppositional theory and politics, offering new and alternative visions." -- bell hooks
In Queering Freedom, Shannon Winnubst examines contemporary categories of difference -- sexuality, race, gender, class, and nationality -- and how they operate within the politics of domination. Drawing on the work of Georges Bataille, Michel Foucault, and others, Winnubst engages feminist theory, race theory, and queer theory as she sheds light on blind spots that have characterized thinking about freedom. Winnubst turns away from the language of rights, identity politics, and liberation toward bodies and experiences to calibrate normative ideas of time and space. Her views operate at the very limits of freedom, which contain individuals within strict boundaries that they are forbidden to cross. Winnubst develops strategies of "queering freedom" to undo the more subtle spatial and temporal norms and shatter structures of domination. This thoughtful and provocative work challenges the cornerstones of contemporary philosophies about the body and its politics.
Queering Gay and Lesbian Studies is a broadly interdisciplinary study that considers a key dilemma in gay and lesbian studies through the prism of identity and its discontents: the field studies has modeled itself on ethnic studies programs, perhaps to be intelligible to the university community, but certainly because the ethnic studies route to programs is well established. Since this model requires a stable and identifiable community, gay and lesbian studies have emphasized stable and knowable identities. The problem, of course is that sexuality is neither stable, tidy, nor developmental. With the advent of queer theory, there are now other perspectives available that frequently find themselves at odds with traditional gay and lesbian studies. _x000B_In this pioneering new study, Thomas Piontek provides a critical analysis of the development of gay and lesbian studies alongside the development of queer theory, the disputes between them, and criticism of their activities from both in and outside of the gay academic community. Examining disputes about transgendering, gay male promiscuity, popular culture, gay history, political activism, and non-normative sexual practices, Piontek argues that it is vital to queer gay and lesbian studies--opening this emerging discipline to queer critical interventions without, however, further institutionalizing queer theory.
Challenging Family Formation in the United States
Over four thousand gay and lesbian couples married in the city of San Francisco in 2004. The first large-scale occurrence of legal same-sex marriage, these unions galvanized a movement and reignited the debate about whether same-sex marriage, as some hope, challenges heterosexual privilege or, as others fear, preserves that privilege by assimilating queer couples.
In Queering Marriage, Katrina Kimport uses in-depth interviews with participants in the San Francisco weddings to argue that same-sex marriage cannot be understood as simply entrenching or contesting heterosexual privilege. Instead, she contends, these new legally sanctioned relationships can both reinforce as well as disrupt the association of marriage and heterosexuality.
During her deeply personal conversations with same-sex spouses, Kimport learned that the majority of respondents did characterize their marriages as an opportunity to contest heterosexual privilege. Yet, in a seeming contradiction, nearly as many also cited their desire for access to the normative benefits of matrimony, including social recognition and legal rights. Kimport’s research revealed that the pattern of ascribing meaning to marriage varied by parenthood status and, in turn, by gender. Lesbian parents were more likely to embrace normative meanings for their unions; those who are not parents were more likely to define their relationships as attempts to contest dominant understandings of marriage.
By posing the question—can queers “queer” marriage?—Kimport provides a nuanced, accessible, and theoretically grounded framework for understanding the powerful effect of heterosexual expectations on both sexual and social categories.
Strategies of Ambiguity in Acts
Were eunuchs more usually castrated guardians of the harem, as florid Orientalist portraits imagine them, or were they trusted court officials who may never have been castrated? Was the Ethiopian eunuch a Jew or a Gentile, a slave or a free man? Why does Luke call him a “man” while contemporaries referred to eunuchs as “unmanned” beings? As Sean D. Burke treats questions that have received dramatically different answers over the centuries of Christian interpretation, he shows that eunuchs bore particular stereotyped associations regarding gender and sexual status as well as of race, ethnicity, and class. Not only has Luke failed to resolve these ambiguities; he has positioned this destabilized figure at a key place in the narrative—as the gospel has expanded beyond Judea, but before Gentiles are explicitly named—in such a way as to blur a number of social role boundaries. In this sense, Burke argues, Luke intended to “queer” his reader’s expectations and so to present the boundary-transgressing potentiality of a new community.