Towards a Livable Mode of Existence: Judith Butler’s [Undoing Gender]

Front cover of Judith Butler's Undoing Gender (2004)Reading Butler is truly a worthwhile exercise for the mind interested in gender, queer theory, and human life in general. Undoing Gender is essentially a revision of Butler's groundbreaking book entitled Gender Trouble, which was originally published in 1990. In Undoing Gender, Butler not only adds more nuance … Continue reading Towards a Livable Mode of Existence: Judith Butler’s [Undoing Gender]

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Masculinity Without Men? Judith Halberstam’s [Female Masculinity]

When we invoke the iconic image of James Bond, masculinity is usually one of the first notions that comes to mind. My friend and colleague, Dan Murphy, insightfully points out that even when James Bond utters his casual introductory catchphrase, "Bond, James Bond," these simple words resonate within our thoughts because they express "an appealing version … Continue reading Masculinity Without Men? Judith Halberstam’s [Female Masculinity]

Foucault and the History of Sexuality: A “Queer” Overview

If sex is repressed, that is, condemned to prohibition, nonexistence, and silence, then the mere fact that one is speaking about it has the appearance of a deliberate transgression. A person who holds forth in such language places himself to a certain extent outside the reach of power; he upsets established law; he somehow anticipates … Continue reading Foucault and the History of Sexuality: A “Queer” Overview

An Overview of Judith Halberstam’s [The Queer Art of Failure]

I usually steer away from aesthetic judgments when writing about theory books, but in this case, let me start by saying that Judith Halberstam's The Queer Art of Failure was an absolute joy to read. What else can one expect from a theory book that opens up with a quote from the Nickelodeon cartoon series, SpongeBob … Continue reading An Overview of Judith Halberstam’s [The Queer Art of Failure]

AIDS, Gay Rhetoric, and Resistance: Leo Bersani’s “Is the Rectum a Grave?”

Written during the height of the AIDS crisis during the late 1980s and a few years prior to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's groundbreaking Epistemology of the Closet, Leo Bersani's striking essay titled "Is the Rectum a Grave?" was published in the 43rd volume of AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism. The essay begins with a discussion of the violence and anger … Continue reading AIDS, Gay Rhetoric, and Resistance: Leo Bersani’s “Is the Rectum a Grave?”

A Queer Overview of Judith Butler’s [Gender Trouble]

Rich, complex, difficult, and groundbreaking are just a few of the words that are usually associated with Judith Butler's works. Despite the fact that her texts are often described as "tedious" and "overwrought," reading Butler is well worth the effort, and I'm often amazed at the way she is able to wrestle with difficult ideas. … Continue reading A Queer Overview of Judith Butler’s [Gender Trouble]

Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children

What is a queer child? What happens when a child moves away from accepted conventions of sexuality and adult heteronormativity? What are the repercussions of protecting children from the inevitable discovery of sexuality? How do storytellers control, regulate, or contest the notion of childhood sexuality? Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children is a collection of thought-provoking essays … Continue reading Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children

Queer Commodities: Contemporary US Fiction, Consumer Capitalism, and Gay and Lesbian Subcultures

The process of commodification is commonly viewed as antithetical to the notion of queer. While many people within LGBT communities or subcultures have widely embraced the increasing presence and assimilation of gay culture into mainstream culture (which includes an increasing representation of gay and lesbian characters/issues in the media, the nationalization of LGBT rights, among … Continue reading Queer Commodities: Contemporary US Fiction, Consumer Capitalism, and Gay and Lesbian Subcultures

Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History

We supposedly live in a time where it is "okay to be gay." This growing sentiment can partially be accredited to the nationalization of gay media and representations in our society. When I was a child, finding gay representations in television and movies was a challenge--it was only in my teen years that gayness became … Continue reading Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History