‘Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect’ by Mel Y. Chen

Mel Y. Chen offers an enticing study of what is produced at the intersection of cognitive linguistics, queer of color studies, critical animal studies, and disability theory in Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. “Animacies” are those animate, and animated, states of being that are regulated through political spheres. To explore what has or… read more

'How To Be Gay' by David M. Halperin

Contrary to what conservatives feared back in 2000 when he taught his first course at the University of Michigan titled “How to Be Gay”, David Halperin does not have a “Straight to Sissy in Five Easy Steps” method of indoctrinating youths into the gay lifestyle. How to Be Gay is not an instruction manual, nor is it a “learning to love yourself” self-help guide. Rather, Halperin’s book is an intervention against those who trumpet the “death of gay culture.”… read more

‘Opacity and the Closet: Queer Tactics in Foucault, Barthes, and Warhol’ By Nicholas De Villiers

“The Closet” is an increasingly ill-fitting metaphor for queer men and women who wish to explore their sexuality outside of the two opposite states of either being “out” and having to confess their personal life aloud or being “closeted” and thus presumed to be living in shame or self-denial. It is this binary of being in or out of the closet that Nicholas De Villiers deconstructs in Opacity and the Closet…… read more

'Cruel Optimism' by Lauren Berlant

Judged solely by its title, Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism (Duke University Press) could easily be dismissed by some as just another cynical work of cultural critique. Instead, Berlant strives to distance herself from “the ease with which intellectuals shit on people who hold to a dream.” It would be easy for Berlant to join the in tradition… read more

Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex

In American prisons today, the exact number of incarcerated transpeople remains unknown.  The Prison Industrial Complex of the United States is the last bastion of unforgiving gender segregation—one’s natural genitalia determines their prison destination.  For this reason, those who maintain databases containing information about the prisoners housed in different facilities do not bother to record… read more

'The Inverted Gaze: Queering the French Literary Classics in America' By François Cusset

From the Marquis de Sade’s libertine sodomites to Jean Genet’s gay Parisian subculture of saintly Queens, the French literary canon has left an indelible mark on how we in America narrate and conceptualize same-sex desire. So, it may come as a surprise to some when François Cusset contends in The Inverted Gaze (Arsenal Pulp Press) that French literary criticism has largely ignored the queer possibilities of its own canon… … read more

'Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader' by Gayle S. Rubin

Through Rubin’s essays, readers will gain insight into the tenuous transition from second to third wave feminism, the pre-history and birth of queer theory, and the emergence of LGBT cultural studies from the margins of society to a legitimate field of academic and institutional research. … read more

‘The Queer Art of Failure’ by Judith Jack Halberstam

The Queer Art of Failure re-examines how we conceive of the idea of failure in our society, not so that we may correct ourselves, but so that we may see how our various “failures” may actually produce a preferable alternative to conformist lifestyles and the status quo…. read more

'Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism' by Scott Herring

2011 Lambda Literary Award Winner I need to start this review with a confession: I am a decidedly urban queer. I was born in Los Angeles, and I live in New York City now. I spent a few summers as a teenager on my uncle’s farm in northern Idaho. My cousins and I would spend our… read more

'Gay Shame' edited by David M. Halperin & Valerie Traub

David M. Halperin and Valerie Traub’s anthology Gay Shame (University of Chicago Press) is an important new addition to the expanding discipline of Queer Studies and will be of interest to academics, activists, and anyone curious about theoretical analysis of our community. This body of work grew directly out of a conference by the same… read more