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Women's Studies, Gender, and Sexuality

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Archives of Desire

The Queer Historical Work of New England Regionalism

J. Samaine Lockwood

In this though-provoking study of nineteenth-century America, J. Samaine Lockwood offers an important new interpretation of the literary movement known as American regionalism. Lockwood argues that regionalism in New England was part of a widespread woman-dominated effort to rewrite history. Lockwood demonstrates that New England regionalism was an intellectual endeavor that overlapped with colonial revivalism and included fiction and history writing, antique collecting, colonial home restoration, and photography. The cohort of writers and artists leading this movement included Sarah Orne Jewett, Alice Morse Earle, and C. Alice Baker, and their project was taken up by women of a younger generation, such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, who extended regionalism through the modernist moment.

Lockwood draws on a diverse archive that includes fiction, material culture, collecting guides, and more. Showing how these women intellectuals aligned themselves with a powerful legacy of social and cultural dissent, Lockwood reveals that New England regionalism performed queer historical work, placing unmarried women and their myriad desires at the center of both regional and national history.

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Archives of Dispossession

Recovering the Testimonios of Mexican American Herederas, 1848–1960

Karen R. Roybal

One method of American territory expansion in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands was the denial of property rights to Mexican landowners, which led to dispossession. Many historical accounts overlook this colonial impact on Indigenous and Mexican peoples, and existing studies that do tackle this subject tend to privilege the male experience. Here, Karen R. Roybal recenters the focus of dispossession on women, arguing that gender, sometimes more than race, dictated legal concepts of property ownership and individual autonomy. Drawing on a diverse source base—legal land records, personal letters, and literature—Roybal locates voices of Mexican American women in the Southwest to show how they fought against the erasure of their rights, both as women and as landowners. Woven throughout Roybal's analysis are these women's testimonios—their stories focusing on inheritance, property rights, and shifts in power. Roybal positions these testimonios as an alternate archive that illustrates the myriad ways in which multiple layers of dispossession—and the changes of property ownership in Mexican law—affected the formation of Mexicana identity.

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Archives of Flesh

African America, Spain, and Post-Humanist Critique

Robert F. Reid-Pharr

Enlists the principles of post-humanist critique in order to investigate decades of intimate dialogues between African American and Spanish intellectuals 
 
In Archives of Flesh, Robert Reid-Pharr reveals the deep history of intellectual engagement between African America and Spain.  Opening a fascinating window onto black and anti-Fascist intellectual life from 1898 through the mid-1950s, Reid-Pharr argues that key institutions of Western Humanism, including American colleges and universities, developed in intimate relation to slavery, colonization, and white supremacy.  This retreat to rigidly established philosophical and critical traditions can never fully address—or even fully recognize—the deep-seated hostility to black subjectivity underlying the humanist ideal of a transcendent Manhood.               

Calling for a specifically anti-white supremacist reexamination of the archives of black subjectivity and resistance, Reid-Pharr enlists the principles of post-humanist critique in order to investigate decades of intimate dialogues between African American and Spanish intellectuals, including Salaria Kea, Federico Garcia Lorca, Nella Larsen, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Chester Himes, Lynn Nottage, and Pablo Picasso. In the process Reid-Pharr takes up the “African American Spanish Archive” in order to resist the anti-corporeal, anti-black, anti-human biases that stand at the heart of Western Humanism. 

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Are All the Women Still White?

Rethinking Race, Expanding Feminisms

Janell Hobson

Provides a contemporary response to such landmark volumes as All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave and This Bridge Called My Back.

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Are Girls Necessary?

Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories

Julie Abraham

“Valuable both for the perspicacity of the brilliant nuggets that turn up in Julie Abraham’s excavation of her subject and for the clear, liberating distinction she makes between ‘lesbian novels’ and ‘lesbian writing.’” —Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review

“The discussions of individual writers in Are Girls Necessary? are uniformly astute and provocative in company with one another.” —Women’s Review of Books

“Forceful and original. An important contribution to lesbian studies.” —Modern Fiction Studies

“Anyone with a poignant interest in lesbian writing—its history and ramifications in the literary world—will welcome the challenge presented in Abraham’s studies.” —Lambda Book Report

“Abraham’s book breaks new ground in its teasing out of the meanings and functions of ‘history’ in lesbian writing. It’s a must-read for scholars in the field—and not just because it has such a great title.” —Lesbian Review of Books

In this analysis of twentieth-century lesbian writing, Julie Abraham offers new readings of pulp novelists alongside high modernists—authors as various as Gertrude Stein, Willa Cather, Mary Renault, and Virgina Woolf—to examine how these writers created new lesbian narratives.

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Argentine, Mexican, and Guatemalan Photography

Feminist, Queer, and Post-Masculinist Perspectives

By David William Foster

Viewing the work of twelve prominent photographers, including Graciela Iturbide, Pedro Meyer, and Marcos López, this first far-ranging analysis of gendered perspectives in Latin American photography demonstrates the importance of this art form within Latin American cultural production.

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An Argument for Same-Sex Marriage

Religious Freedom, Sexual Freedom, and Public Expressions of Civic Equality

Emily R. Gill

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 R. 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.

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Arguments with Silence

Writing the History of Roman Women

Amy Richlin

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Armed Forces

Masculinity and Sexuality in the American War Film

Robert Eberwein

In war films, the portrayal of deep friendships between men is commonplace. Given the sexually anxious nature of the American imagination, such bonds are often interpreted as carrying a homoerotic subtext. In Armed Forces , Robert Eberwein argues that an expanded conception of masculinity and sexuality is necessary in order to understand more fully the intricacy of these intense and emotional human relationships. Drawing on a range of examples from silent films such as What Price Glory and Wings to sound era works like The Deer Hunter, Platoon, Three Kings, and Pearl Harbor , he shows how close readings of war films, particularly in relation to their cultural contexts, demonstrate that depictions of heterosexual love, including those in romantic triangles, actually help to define and clarify the nonsexual nature of male love. The book also explores the problematic aspects of masculinity and sexuality when threatened by wounds, as in The Best Years of Our Lives, and considers the complex and persistent analogy between weapons and the male body, as in Full Metal Jacket and Saving Private Ryan .

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