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Queer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555837980
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555837983
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Riki Wilchins is the founding Executive Director of the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC), the national gender rights organization. The author of "Read My Lips," "GenderQueer," and "Queer Theory/Gender Theory," Riki was selected by TIME Magazin

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
It is written in a very easy to read, accessible way.
L Silverweb
I've retained more from this book in less than a week than from an entire semester of a college philosophy of race and gender class.
Seth Goldman
If you want to know (or teach others) what these things are and why they matter, this is a great choice.
Jason Crockett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Elroi Waszkiewicz on September 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I assign this book in a class called Sexual Identity. It offers an introduction to queer/gender/postmodern theory, situated within contexts of social and political movements. It is extremely accessible, and guides readers through difficult concepts that are often complicated and dense in their original works (e.g., Foucault, Derrida, Butler). For people who want to sample some of the central theoretical concepts related to gender and sexuality, this book is a great resource. The students reading this book often comment on the accessible reading and Wilchins' connections to personal stories and experiences. Such comments starkly differ from when I previously assigned the more abstract and antiquated Queer Theory (Jagose).
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By JVS on March 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
In her third book, Queer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer, Riki Wilchins ventures from writing an autobiography (_Read My Lips_) and editing an anthology (_GenderQueer_) to writing theory explicitly. In particular, she seeks to take theory out of its current limited circulation among "academics and graduate students" (1) and reinvigorate its political center and make it accessible to activists.

Wilchins begins by giving brief histories of civil rights movements (chapters 1-3), follows with discussions of postmodern theory centered around Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault (chapters 4-6) complete with contemporary examples of uses of postmodern theory (chapters 7 & 8), and then proceeds to discuss postmodern theory's weaknesses (chapter 9-11), notably its lack of "any vision of constructive social engagement and political action" (100), and its tendency not to account for the varying perspectives people might encounter due to dimensions of difference, specifically race (chapter 10). Similarly focused on limitations and weaknesses, in chapter 11, Wilchins uses Judith Bulter's work to assert that identity-based politics, while in some ways facilitate political organizing and movement, inevitably and undesirably create margins and practice exclusion. The final chapter chronicling GenderPAC's founding and continue development and growth are offered by Wilchins as an example of theory being put into action.

Wilchins' purpose is to bridge queer theory and human rights activism in order to instill in academics the necessity of putting theory into action, and perhaps more importantly, to offer those unfamiliar with queer theory access to the possibilities such theorizing has opened up and makes available (as evidenced by the book's subtitle "An Instant Primer").
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Seth Goldman on August 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book does exactly what it sets out to do: whereas my initial attempts at reading and understanding Foucault and Butler left me interested but confused, now, after reading this book -- in a mere four days -- I actually get postmodernism, a.k.a. the theory behind gender rights. I've retained more from this book in less than a week than from an entire semester of a college philosophy of race and gender class. In other words, thanks Riki!
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Scott Elliott on April 1, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Riki Wilchins has crafted a marvelous primer on the major gender issues facing Americans today, and it's worth reading the book for that purpose alone; but Wilchins manages to provide more than a primer, she gives new life to the long dormant idea that King, Gandhi and Jesus died for, the idea that across the board social constructs must be abandoned, and the fight must be for equal rights for all. Period. No sub-divisions, no special rights, just rights that each and every person is entitled to simply because they are a person.

I doubt Wilchins intended her book to be a theological treatise, but to my way of thinking, her ideas mirror those of Jesus who not only deconstructed social constructs, but taught that each and every person is entitled not only to radical love, but life in a community of radical egalitarianism.

"Queer Theory, Gender Theory" is a great read, a wonderful book, and a breath of fresh air in this age of homophobic rhetoric. In short, buy and read this great book!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Warren J. Blumenfeld on June 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found Quuer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer by Riki Wilchins to be both academically rigorous while being accessible for the reader who would like an inductory text on Queer and Gender Studies. I use this book in my Introduction to Queer Studies course, and students find that the author has a particular skill for introducing rather difficult concepts in a style that is fresh and engaging, without talking down to them. A must read for anyone wishing to gain a clearer understanding of queer and gender theory.
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By DaDu47 on December 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Riki Wilchins is a powerful writer and activist. Her book is a great place to start exploring the gender dichotomy and gain a firm foundation.
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This book was amazing. The author did such an amazing job at explaining Butler's Queer Theory and of providing us with the history of all the concepts relating to it that I felt like I had learned so much after I had finished the book! This is a must read for those of you interested in learning more about the culture of homosexuality and the origin, history and concept of gender and gender roles.
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I enjoy Riki Wilchins's writing in general, and I find this to be one of the best, and perhaps the best, introductions to gender and queer theory. If you want to know (or teach others) what these things are and why they matter, this is a great choice.
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