In this Book


“Avery Gordon’s stunningly original and provocatively imaginative book explores the connections linking horror, history, and haunting. ” —George Lipsitz


“The text is of great value to anyone working on issues pertaining to the fantastic and the uncanny.”  —American Studies International


“Ghostly Matters immediately establishes Avery Gordon as a leader among her generation of social and cultural theorists in all fields. The sheer beauty of her language enhances an intellectual brilliance so daunting that some readers will mark the day they first read this book. One must go back many more years than most of us can remember to find a more important book.” —Charles Lemert


Drawing on a range of sources, including the fiction of Toni Morrison and Luisa Valenzuela (He Who Searches), Avery Gordon demonstrates that past or haunting social forces control present life in different and more complicated ways than most social analysts presume. Written with a power to match its subject, Ghostly Matters has advanced the way we look at the complex intersections of race, gender, and class as they traverse our lives in sharp relief and shadowy manifestations.


Avery F. Gordon is professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Janice Radway is professor of literature at Duke University.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Front matter
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Foreword
  2. Janice Radway
  3. pp. vii-xiv
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  1. Introduction to the New Edition
  2. p. xv
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  1. 1 Her shape and his hand
  2. pp. 3-30
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  1. 2 Distractions
  2. pp. 31-62
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  1. 3 The other door, it's floods of tears with consolation enclosed
  2. pp. 63-136
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  1. 4 Not only the footprints but the water too and what is down there
  2. pp. 137-192
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  1. 5 There are crossroads
  2. pp. 193-208
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 209-224
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 225-242
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 243-253
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Additional Information

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