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Disciplining Gender: Rhetorics of Sex Identity in Contemporary U.S. Culture Paperback – May 12, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"By arguing persuasively that bigenderism and heteronormativity structure, emerge in, and are reinforced by popular discourses, Sloop makes a strong case for why as cultural critics we must remain suspicious of popular representations of not only these cases but also others like them."―Sarah Projansky, author of Watching Rape: Film and Television in Postfeminist Culture

"The argument is both compelling and well supported. . . . The book is readable and scholarly, engaging and studious."―Lisa M. Cuklanz, author of Rape on Prime-Time: Television, Masculinity, and Sexual Violence

"You should buy this book. It is tightly argued with engaging prose, and deftly analyzes a fascinating set of five pubilc controversies concerning gender trouble. It provides valuable insights about the way in which potential transgressions of bi-gender heteronormativity are prophylactically contained."―Argumentation and Advocacy

"In his latest book, Sloop demands that readers stop, read, consume, and contemplate the various articulations of sex identity in present-day U.S. culture, particularly as they are portrayed in public discourse and by the media. Beings that appear to question, defy, and/or transcend circumscribed societal notions of gender are rarely validated by the dominant norm, which strictly defines sex identity as biologically either male or female. Sloop attempts to take the reader beyond the confines of contemporary sex identity by reflecting upon five different cases that challenge the notion of a clear-cut male/female identity, those of Brandon Teena, k.d. lang, John/Joan or David Reimer, Barry Winchell/Calpernia, and Janet Reno. Presenting popularized gender and sexuality theories alongside the previously mentioned cases, Sloop challenges many of the theories he cites and gives his reader ideas to consider in regards to publicly held views of sex identity. Highly recommended."―Library Journal

From the Publisher

Analyzes media coverage and public discussion of five highly visible cases of gender ambiguity. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press (May 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558494383
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558494381
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,521,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phaedra C. Pezzullo on January 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have taught this book in both my introductory graduate seminar on Feminism and Rhetorical Theory and my undergraduate upper-level course on Gender and Communication at Indiana University. In both instances, *Disciplining Gender* manages to provide a text that my students find timely and accessible, as well as a text that I believe pushes them intellectually and politically. For graduate students, I beleive it offers one exemplar for how they could model a media-based dissertation; for undergraduates, the chapters provide an exemplar for how to critically examine a popular figure/event as part of broader structural stakes in U.S. public culture. In other words, the book models a type of scholarship I hope to help my students write. Overall, *Disciplining Gender* aims to question a naive optimism some derive from Judith Butler's arguments in *Gender Trouble* by asking us to re-consider when troubling gender has led to less utopian outcomes of gender terrorism (including death, assault, ostricism, and so forth). As part of a larger conversation in queer studies, Sloop's book also provides a great text for provoking class discussion about the limits of theories of social construction (as well as the possibilities) and the differences we too often blur between the categories of "sex," "gender," and "sexuality."
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A.C. on August 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Unless you have a college degree in a relevant field, you will probably find this book to be completely unreadable. For those who speak the secret language of Postmodernese, there is some interesting criticism of and elaboration upon the ideas of academics such as Judith Butler, etc. Five cases from pop culture and the media are examined through the lens of Butler's theories of "gender trouble."

If you simply are trying to learn more about the subjects discussed within the text (David Reimer, Brandon Teena, k.d. lang, Janet Reno, and Calpernia Addams), I suggest looking toward more "mainstream" sources.

One thing that bothers me about the language of "postmodern" academics is that it is completely inaccessible to the outsider. In the introduction to this book the author said something about cultural critics of his ilk wanting to change the world -- how can they do that when all they do is talk to each other in code?
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