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Feminism, the Family, and the Politics of the Closet: Lesbian and Gay Displacement

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0199257669
ISBN-10: 0199257663
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Editorial Reviews

Review

`Are romantic love and sexual attraction the essence of lesbianism? Is legal recognition for same-sex marriage and parenting essential to justice for lesbians and gay men? Cheshire Calhoun answers YES to both questions, and she defends both conclusions subtly and rigorously. Feminism, the Family, and the Politics of the Closet has ignited productive controversy. This, I think, is the highest praise anyone can give a work of social theory.' Professor Diana T Meyers, University of Connecticut

`This book offers new insights into such major philosophical issues as the relationship of lesbian to feminist theory and such major practical ones as the case for same-sex marriage. An excellent text for LGBT studies, Women's Studies, and Contemporary Moral Issues courses. Equally accessible to LGBT activists and other interested ethical or political theorists. Beautifully written, scrupulously argued, certain to become a classic! ' Professor Claudia Card, University of Wisconsin

`In this book, Cheshire Calhoun, one of the pre-eminent ethical theorists of our day, turns her careful, creative and analytical mind to a set of questions concerning lesbian and gay rights. Calhoun boldly challenges several central and widely-accepted theoretical and practical claims, most significantly, the applicability of feminist theory to theorizing lesbians and gay men and their social and legal positions and struggles. ' Professor Edward Stein, Cardozo School of Law

About the Author


Cheshire Calhoun is Professor of Philosophy at Colby College.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199257663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199257669
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.6 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,142,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
As a women studies librarian, I do a fair bit of reading on both feminism and glbt rights. If you're like me, it's been a while since you've read something truly "new" in this area -- ideas that take you by surprise and that you keep turning it over and over again in your mind for the sheer pleasure of thinking new things.
This book, broadly defined, examines the relationship between feminism and lesbianism. Although some have argued that the feminist movement and the movement for glbt rights are synonymous or at least closely aligned, Calhoun reveals places where they are brought into contradiction or tension. One of Calhoun's major arguments revolves around the family -- a place that heterosexual women have traditionally needed freedom FROM but that lesbians are still fighting for freedom TO. She also argues convincingly that fitness for family life is linked to fitness for civic life, and that it is precisely our "unfitness" for family, rather than our sexuality per se, that renders gay and lesbian people second-class citizens today. As someone who has always resisted the idea that marriage and family should be queer movement priorities, I was not an easy sell on this last point, but I found her arguments clearly articulated and ultimately convincing.
The book is academic, but accessible to those with some background in feminist thought. Calhoun is a philosopher, and the style of logical argument she employs may take some getting used to for those outside the discipline. As someone who generally reads social science, I found her style a joy at the beginning (how often are we treated to a feminist writer who clearly explains her assumptions in the first chapter?
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Feminism, the Family, and the Politics of the Closet: Lesbian and Gay Displacement
This item: Feminism, the Family, and the Politics of the Closet: Lesbian and Gay Displacement
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